Video: The value of taking a narrative approach to level design

At GDC 2017 game designer Jolie Menzel shared some advice on how storytelling techniques can be applied to level design, drawing on her experience making games at Ubisoft and, before that, Telltale.

Since time immemorial (or at least the 20th century) games have been designed so that players move through levels while overcoming challenges.

But if you're making a game that's mainly aimed at telling a great story, rather than challenging the player's skills, how do you design levels to best support that narrative? At GDC 2017, game designer Jolie Menzel shared some advice on the issue, drawing on her experience making narrative-focused games at Ubisoft and, before that, Telltale Games.

In addition to practical tips, Menzel argues that level designers of all stripes should familiarize themselves with storytelling techniques and how they can be utilized to evoke a desired feeling from the player. Using those techniques well can help your virtual worlds evoke a variety of feelings in your players, and that's key to making your game a memorable experience.

It was a great talk that was both informative and concise, so don't sleep on your opportunity to now watch it 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.

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