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Session Name: Game Narrative Summit: 'Blackhaven' Postmortem: Designing Two Centuries of Difficult History in One Free Game
Speaker(s): James Coltrain
Company Name(s): Historiated Games
Track / Format: Game Narrative Summit

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Overview: This talk will examine the conception, development, and release of Blackhaven, an award nominated first person historical narrative mystery game released by Historiated Games in summer 2021. Blackhaven follows Kendra Turner, an intern from a historically Black college who uncovers a trail of secret misdeeds while working at Blackhaven Hall, the site of burned colonial American plantation. After a modest but successful release, historian and lead developer Dr. James Coltrain will reflect on how the Historiated team confronted challenges in historical sensitivity, representation, and narrative design to create a game emphasizing the lasting harms of American slavery. Strategies covered will include how Historiated used surviving artifacts and documents to ensure historical accuracy, wrote a main character who could provide her own historical context to players, and worked with community stakeholders to give them a voice in the game's production.

Game Developers Conference 2022

James Coltrain

Historiated Games

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Game Narrative Summit

Game Narrative