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Rianna Dearden

Narrative Lead

Rianna makes waves as our phenomenal Narrative Lead! All things lore, character, dialogue, secrets, easter eggs and even more are at her beck and call, and she does wonders with a good pun… With years behind her as an actor, writer and theatre practitioner, it’s no wonder she brings such absolute excellence to every single aspect of storytelling – and thank flip for that!! Now, enough stalling; let’s get to know her!

Riannananana, what do you do at Glowmade?

I’m our Narrative Lead! I make sure all the story and characters are seen in all the right places at the right time, and in a way that doesn’t leave players completely bamboozled. Though I did once misspell it as Narrative Lad for a conference, so can I stick with that?


Now how would your mum best describe your job?

Sort of like a writer? For game-things?


How did you get to this point in your career?

The natural first step for me was, of course… to go to drama school. Some highlights from a few years of actor training include:
– A whole term pretending to be a lemur in “movement” classes which culminated in an awkward face-to-face encounter with a dog-walker in Epping Forrest
– A 3-week long “living history” project where I stayed in character as a Belgian peasant in WW2, which culminated in me ordering Dominos Pizza in a very dodgy accent
– A quite intense training in clowning, devising and contemporary theatre which culminated in me starting my theatre company, Lost Watch, with my two best pals.

Lost Watch went really well. We made theatre for all audiences for many years together, and still do so. It taught me what I love about entertainment and stories and audiences. Theatre remains the biggest influence and inspiration in all my work.

(As someone who also went to theatre school, this nonsense feels like coming home… Though her course appears to have a distinct lack of eating paper for an assignment, interesting…)


What made you want to pursue games?

There actually is a really defined moment – I was sat in the bar of Stratford East Theatre before a show I was in, and I heard the term “Narrative Designer” on the ScriptLock podcast.

In theatre, you’re either a writer, a dramaturg, or an actor, but definitely not all three – they literally don’t even come to rehearsals at the same time. Actor didn’t feel like enough, Dramaturg sounded completely alien and Writer… well…

When I was making our early shows, I knew I liked contributing to the story and characters. So, I once tried being a theatre writer – I wrote a show for Lost Watch, and…. I hated it. It was lonely, I didn’t feel good at it and I felt like an enemy of the team whilst desperately trying to work out how to tell this story from behind a laptop. It knocked my confidence massively.

So, I went back to just being an actor. I did a load of puppetry, some cool touring, and more than I would have liked cloakroom shifts for a law firm. I plodded around for a few years, just getting by. Then, all at the same time the Nintendo Switch came out, I was on tour with a huge gamer who reignited my love for games, I started do game voice over, and then I sat in Stratford East bar and listened to a podcast. I don’t even know who was on the show, but I heard this term, “Narrative Designer” and thought “that’s what I do!” For the first time I felt like there was a job title that described what I was good at and loved doing.

So, I was like… okay. How can I go be that?!


Share something you love doing outside of everything video games.

Gardening. It’s so slow and mostly completely uncontrollable. It’s a cycle of things dying but, unlike life, things often come back from the dead!

And cycling. So much cycling. If I could make games on a bike I would. Where my other game-dev cyclists at?!?!?!


Who or what inspires you?

Women’s sport. I thought we weren’t meant to be strong?!?!?!


What do you most appreciate about yourself?

I’m completely refreshed by nature. And ABBA. Both together and I’m good as new. I’m so grateful for that.


What game do you wish you could’ve developed?

Pentiment… *DROOLS*


What’s your personal motto?

“Feel the fear, do it anyway.”

Alternatively: “All the world’s a stage and I am it’s leading…” Just kidding.


What’s the best thing about working at Glowmade?

There’s always a conversation to engage with no matter your interests – whether that’s games, food, fitness, art, music, miniatures, cats, cereal, we’ll chat about anything!


Anyone on the team who stands out as a role model, or source of inspiration, perhaps?

The whole art team. They’re just so… good at art?!?!?! I can’t wait for people to see it and they get the love they deserve. Also all the people working on data analysis that goes into helping us steer the game. I could gobble up data all day and I’m so glad they love what they do.


What do you want from your career?

I want it to be sustainable and feed my hungry life, literally and metaphorically.


What are your top tips for someone looking to get into games?

Find out what you’re excited about getting better at, and go do that! Try to get an understanding of what different departments do too; games are a team effort and you need to know what you’re going to be asking of your colleagues.

And remember that doing what you love is not always lovely, and that’s okay. Don’t worry if you’re not a “gamer” – many developers weren’t at first, or still aren’t, but look at them now!


In your opinion, who is the cutest Glowmade pet?

My little Ralph!


If you had to pick one game to play for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Stardew Valley, yes pleaaaaaase!


What’s your guilty pleasure?

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore
And a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot
In the Caribbean by providence impoverished
In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?
The ten-dollar founding father without a–

(It should be noted that she did, indeed, type out the entire first song of Hamilton on her Google Form, so maybe not soooo much of a “guilty” pleasure…)


There’s one biscuit left in the tin and it’s your favourite… what is it?

Chocolate bourbon. The cheap ones.