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Boss Up: Boss Battle Design Fundamentals and Retrospective


Itay Keren (Owner, Untame)

Location: Room 25, North Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 21

Time: 9:30am - 10:30am

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

The boss battle is an awe-inspiring gameplay culmination that both evaluates and breaks acquired skills, reveals more of the story, and serves as a major test of strength and wits. Join award-winning indie designer Itay Keren ('Mushroom 11') as he turns focus to the various aspects that make a well-designed, effective and memorable boss battle. By presenting a retrospective of classic to modern game moments, Itay deconstructs the design fundamentals of boss battles while evoking memories of everyone's favorite gaming moments.


This talk provides a thorough deep-dive of boss battle design mechanics, presented with analyzed clips from the classic to modern games. Attendees will gain new tools and insights into this dramatic aspect of game design, to be used in their own games.

Intended Audience

This talk is intended for designers, game makers and players, and anyone who wishes to delve into the design of boss battles by reviewing and analyzing decades of gameplay examples.