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Making Linear Story Playable: The Narrative Design of 'Alan Wake 2'


Remedy has never shied away from complex stories and characters, and Alan Wake 2 features some of our most ambitious protagonists to date. When it came to putting players in the minds of both a talented FBI detective piecing together a supernatural mystery, and a tortured author attempting to write his way out of a web of darkness, Lead Narrative Designer Simon Wasselin (Quantic Dream) Principal Narrative Designer Molly Maloney (Telltale Games) had to tackle some big questions: How do we give players a satisfying interactive experience within the confines of a linear story that can't budge? How do we allow for player expression when the protagonists are locked into specific roles? How can we leverage interactivity to incept complex, multilayered exposition into the minds of our audience?This talk focuses on the design of the narrative mechanics used to convey exposition in Alan Wake 2. Join us as we discuss the challenges of agency vs expression, linear vs branching storytelling, and how by involving Narrative Design in gameplay we can create more powerful story experiences in AAA games.

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