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Level Design Workshop: Balancing Action and RPG in 'Horizon Zero Dawn' Quests


Blake Rebouche (Quest and Content Designer, Guerrilla Games)

Location: Room 20, North Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 20

Time: 4:40pm - 5:10pm

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

Topic: Design

Format: Tutorial

Tutorials: Level Design Workshop

Vault Recording: Video

Prior to creating 'Horizon Zero Dawn', Guerrilla Games did not have a quest design team. To meet their vision of a vast open world filled with narrative-driven quests, studio leadership identified early in production that a new group of designers would be necessary to supplement Guerrilla's existing design expertise. Blake Rebouche, Senior Quest Designer at Guerrilla Games, was hired in 2015 to be part of that new team and bring his experience to the development of 'Horizon Zero Dawn'. In this session, Blake will explain through his own experiences and anecdotes what it was like finding a happy medium between the systems-driven content of open-world RPGs like 'The Elder Scrolls' and the action focused level design of games like Guerrilla's own 'Killzone'.


Attendees should walk away from this talk understanding how to leverage open world RPG systems to better frame and structure content as well as apply action game level design principles to make for better individual combat spaces.

Intended Audience

This talk will speak to two types of developers primarily: Type 1) RPG content, quest, and narrative designers who want to understand how they can bring shooter style level design into their next action RPG. Type 2) Action and open-world game designers who want to learn how they can integrate RPG style content into their games and build bigger, more narratively driven worlds.