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Session Name:

Cinematic Game Design IV: Character & Empathy


More than any other medium, games have the potential to let players "walk a mile" in someone else's life. But for players to be truly immersed and see through someone else's eyes, players must empathize with the player character. Films have a similar challenge and over the last hundred years have developed numerous cinematic techniques that help define characters and make audiences empathize with even the most un-likable personalities.

In the latest installment of the popular Cinematic Game Design GDC lecture series, we focus on the issue of defining character and strengthening audience/player empathy for that character. A series of film clips that demonstrate specific cinematic devices for manipulating audience empathy will be shown, with each technique analyzed and assessed to see how it could be applied to a game. Clips from games that have used variations on these techniques will also be shown and discussed. As with previous installments, the talk is not just about cut-scenes, but how these cinematic techniques can be applied to gameplay itself.

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  • GDC 2012
  • Richard Rouse III
  • Paranoid Productions
  • Marty Stoltz
  • Big Huge Games/38 Studios
  • free content
  • Game Design
  • Design