Video: Making Her Story and using the player's imagination as a narrative tool

In this GDC 2016 talk game designer Sam Barlow shares lessons learned from making Her Story and explores why the most powerful game engine in the world is your player's brain.

The most powerful game engine in the world is your player's imagination.

At least, that's the angle game designer Sam Barlow took in his GDC 2016 Narrative Summit talk about lessons he'd learned in making Her Story.

Released in 2015, the award-winning non-linear game afforded players access to a searchable database of live-action one-sided video clips to make sense of; in the process of doing so, many players found themselves creating pages of notes about keywords and theories about the game's plot and characters. 

In his talk Barlow outlined why he thinks that happened, and explored how a powerful, compelling game can be built around that core if you can figure out game structures and mechancis that empower your players' imaginations. 

It was a great talk for game developers, and if you missed it in person it's well worth watching for free over 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.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech

Latest Jobs

Manticore Games

San Mateo, California
Senior Software Engineer - Mobile

Sony PlayStation

San Diego, California
Sr. Online Programmer

The Walt Disney Company

Glendale, California
Associate Marketing Manager - Walt Disney Games

Insomniac Games

Burbank, California
Accessibility Design Researcher
More Jobs   


Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more