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Hone your storytelling skills at GDC 2017's Game Narrative Summit!

With GDC 2017 drawing nigh, organizers highlight some great Game Narrative Summit talks on everything from writing Final Fantasy XV to crafting great, memorable characters.

January 19, 2017

3 Min Read

As the 2017 Game Developers Conference draws nigh, organizers would like to quickly let you know about a few of the fantastic talks on the craft of storytelling in games that are taking place at the conference next month.

Each of these talks is part of the GDC Game Narrative Summit, one of eight that will take place Monday, February 27th and Tuesday, February 28th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA -- the first two days of the conference.

Each Summit offers a comprehensive overview of a specific game industry discipline, and the Game Narrative Summit is no slouch in that department: for example, consider that the top ten movie franchises of all time and seven of the all-time top 10 game franchises are character–based. In his GDC 2017 Game Narrative Summit talk on "Creating Franchise Characters," veteran game designer Bob Bates will look at what these franchise characters have in common.

Do you think it's a coincidence that Harry Potter, James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, and Dominic Toretto are all orphans? Find out what else they have in common in this session geared at helping writers create memorable characters of your own.

Also, as part of the Summit Dan Inoue -- a lead writer and localization director at Square Enix -- will give a talk on "Bringing Fantasy to Life in Final Fantasy XV" in which he'll discuss how "a fantasy based on reality" came to reside in the real world, and what rules were made and broken to maintain a cohesive, coherent narrative amid swathes of information.

So come learn how the fantasy came to life -- you'll walk away with techniques for bringing realism into a fantasy world, insight into the challenges of maintaining a cohesive narrative across companion projects and promotions, and strategies for turning the universe to your advantage, all with a unique AAA JRPG spin.

Plus, Shawn Allen -- a longtime game developer currently working on Treachery in Beatdown City -- will deliver a session on "Breaking Marginalized Character Narrative Molds to Write Better, Richer Characters" in which he'll speak to his lived experience as a black game designer, writer, and cultural critic.

This is important because Allen will talk about why, in the video game space, there is a yearning to create more black and brown characters, and yet the results are usually mixed, with bad representations being the most common output. He'll also speak about how he approached creating dozens of characters of various ethnic groups in a fictional New York, and how he too has stumbled on his way. 

While there isn't some magic rubric to solve everyone's issues, Allen aims to present some best practices that can ameliorate the process and empower attendees with confidence in how they can do better at creating black characters -- and more.

For more details on these and all other announced talks head over to the online GDC 2017 Session Scheduler, where you can begin to build your conference week. For more information on GDC 2017, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

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