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Session Name: Ghost in the Empathy Machine: Exploring the Player-Character Connection in 'Life is Strange: True Colors'
Speaker(s): Zak Garriss, Jonathan Zimmerman
Company Name(s): Telltale Games, Deck Nine Games
Track / Format: Design

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Overview: In recent years, games have been called "empathy machines" for their ability to foster connections between players of all walks of life and the characters they inhabit. In this talk, Deck Nine Game's Zak Garriss and Jon Zimmerman explore the evolution of empathy as a fundamental mechanic of narrative adventure games and why they chose to render this mechanic explicit in the design of Alex's empathy power in Life is Strange: True Colors. They share their history with the mechanic's design and the strengths - and challenges - it brought to the writing of Alex's story. Drawing from recent literature on the power of empathy in social relationships--writings that informed their work in the writers' room--they zoom out to consider the role of the artist in fostering human connection and tolerance.

Game Developers Conference 2022

Zak Garriss

Telltale Games

Jonathan Zimmerman

Deck Nine Games

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