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Video: Designing the non-linear narratives in Horizon: Zero Dawn

At GDC 2017, Guerrilla Games' Leszek Szczepanski (a former pro Dungeon Master) explains how the studio crafted an engaging, player-driven narrative for its 2017 hit Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Designing open-world RPGs often requires developers to craft engaging, deep narratives which emphasize player choice and freedom. But the bigger the games grow, the more complex systems managing these stories get.

At GDC 2017, Guerrilla Games' Leszek Szczepanski bounded onstage during the Narrative Summit to break down how the studio tackled these problems in its 2017 open-world hit Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Long before he worked at Guerrilla, Szczepanski worked as a professional Game/Dungeon Master, which required him to craft engaging narratives for groups of people playing tabletop roleplaying games. In his talk he referenced that experience as he walked the audience through Guerrilla's steps for building a quest system which has non-linearity at its base.

The talk was short, sweet, and intriguing; if you missed it at GDC earlier this year, no worries! You can now watch the whole thing for free on the official GDC YouTube channel.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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