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Video: Ken Levine pitches devs on the idea of 'Narrative Legos'

At GDC 2014, Irrational Games cofounder Ken Levine explains his theory of 'Narrative Legos' -- breaking narrative down to its smallest non-abstract elements and mixing them up to create new stories.

December 10, 2014

2 Min Read

BioShock creative director Ken Levine believes narrative is an important part of game design, because it's something that your audience can deeply relate to. However, the strengths of interactive media -- player participation, the ability to experience content in different ways on different playthroughs and the fact that the content is not static -- seem fundamentally opposed to the will of a storyteller. Levine believes narrative design can accommodate these strengths, but game developers have to solve the challenge of building non-linear, replayable (narrative) sequences. At GDC 2014 he spoke about his theory of "Narrative Legos" -- breaking narrative down to its smallest yet non-abstract elements and finding ways to combine and recombine them, one could potentially build a nearly infinite array of narrative opportunities out of these small building blocks. The comparison is closest to, say, the Death Star play set of our childhood -- which was very specific and beautiful, but single-purposed -- versus Legos; less exciting and less appealing on their own, they can still be recombined and repurposed in an infinite number of ways. It's an interesting talk, so don't miss your chance to watch the free video of 'Narrative Legos' (embedded above) here on the GDC Vault.

About the GDC Vault

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