GDC is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view GDC 2023 session details and speakers, and share your favorites via social media. You will be able to build your schedule and access it during the show via export or Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

Creating Playable Horror in 'The Dark Pictures Anthology'

Tom Heaton  (Creative Director, Supermassive Games)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 22

Time: 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

The Dark Pictures Anthology is a series of standalone, cinematic horror games created by Supermassive Games—with the high-level design direction aiming to create the feeling and experience of being in a horror movie.

This emphasis on the aesthetic presentation led to many design choices that go against prevailing industry orthodoxy. Game mechanics are selected from very divergent game genres to support this aesthetic or are created from scratch. Creative Director Tom Heaton breaks down the unique design of the Dark Pictures games, explains why key decisions were made, how the design has evolved through the series, and what the team might have done differently.


Attendees will gain an understanding of how a new game IP is created and designed from scratch, with an emphasis on a particular aesthetic rather than an established game genre. They will also learn how a rapid release cycle allows features to be iterated and improved for each game release.

Intended Audience

This is for game designers, narrative designers, and anyone interested in horror or cutting-edge interactive drama.