A lot of work goes into this. I remember being told once that it’s a lot bigger than people think. And it’s true, especially if you’re doing it in a version of RPG Maker.
I think in “regular” video game writing, the writing is absolutely everything that is written down. Most people think it’s just the dialogue, maybe some people think that it’s that plus the basic story. But it’s also barks, item descriptions, names. A great visual example is this item card from a Fable game.
There’s also the fact that they don’t even just write everything you see. For a game with choices, you have to write everything that happens, and some players may never make the choices that lead to seeing that writing.
Although I sincerely doubt that anyone using RPG Maker has a separate writer who produces a manuscript at any point, it may not be the same for everyone. But in my case, I’m scripting everything in both senses, writing and coding. Of course, coding events in RPG Maker is nothing like programming (especially if you never bother with scripts), but it’s not very easy either.
I’ve used RPG Maker since the “spiffy” days when the only English language version was provided by Don Miguel. I was absolutely terrible at making maps then, and I had no idea what half of the stuff did. But I made little games all the time. They were awful and I never finished them, mostly because I didn’t know how to make most things happen.
By the time XP and VX came out, I hadn’t used the software in years. I started making a rough project in VX for kicks, and since the translation was professional and they had organised things a lot better, I managed to knock together something pretty cool until I lost the files. Heh. Still, I got a lot better at map-making, although I still think I’m terrible at it. (which is why I’m not doing it now)
Anyway, what I mean by all this is that I finally feel like I have some clue as to what I’m doing. There are a few branching events, based on things like who is in your party at the time or if you have acquired a particular item. Some of them are not easy to figure out, too. I worry a little about stuff not being obvious, but that’s up to a player, innit.
The characters are very entertaining to write. The main character is kind of a surly brat in an oddly woman-ish way (not effeminate, but still somehow like a woman), while the other two (so far) are a cheesy dramatic and a chatty powerhouse.