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The Number One Educational Resource for the Game Industry

Session Name: Game Narrative Summit: AAA-TYPICAL: Character and Story Arcs in Open Gameplay Structures
Speaker(s): Brendan Hennessy, Heli Kennedy
Company Name(s): Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Toronto
Track / Format: Game Narrative Summit

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Overview: If you've struggled to marry gameplay and narrative: you're not alone. Writing AAA open world games can make you question everything you know about basic storytelling techniques:How do you write a compelling protagonist when you don't know their identity or backstory?How do you write an epic that the player can experience in any order?How do you write a relationship arc when you don't know what your characters will be doing at any given time?Lead Writer Heli Kennedy and Narrative Designer Brendan Hennessy have spent six years crafting strange and surprising answers to questions like these on the Far Cry and Watch Dogs IPs. In this talk, they will share practical tools and strategies for building compelling characters and story arcs around gameplay constraints. They'll examine case studies of atypical challenges they faced, including an innovative "play-as-anyone" mechanic, an expansive open world map with dozens of hours of content, and a replayable story structure.

Game Developers Conference 2023

Brendan Hennessy

Ubisoft Toronto

Heli Kennedy

Ubisoft Toronto

free content

Game Narrative Summit

Game Narrative