GDC 2024 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, time, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view session and speaker details for Game Developers Conference 2024.

You will be able to build your schedule with the GDC Mobile App. The GDC 2024 app will be available for download in Apple Apps and Google Play late February 2024.

Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

'DEATHLOOP': Designing Trinkets for Freedom, Choice, and Emergence

David McClure  (Lead Game Designer, Independent)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

DEATHLOOP lets players create their own builds using Trinkets (socketable modifiers) and Weapon Perks (fixed modifiers). These items are designed to give players freedom and choice, and to allow for emergence. This is the story of how the team at Arkane Lyon created the feature together, and the steps they took as they tried to achieve these goals.

In this session, David McClure, discusses key design decisions, and explains the reasoning behind specific choices. The biggest practical production problems are also covered, alongside their solutions, and ways to avoid difficulties when working on similar features. Finally, the outcome is discussed: Were the goals reached, and could the path have been made any easier?


Attendees will learn how to design items to promote player choice, freedom, and emergence—both in theory and in practice. The session covers mistakes that were made while working on the feature, allowing attendees to avoid similar problems.

Intended Audience

This is for designers who want to add player choice, freedom, and emergence to the games they are working on—especially if they are working on progression systems, gear, or player tools. It isn't necessary to have played DEATHLOOP to enjoy the talk, but it does contain some spoilers.

Connecting the Global Game Development Community

GDC Vault icon
Game Developers Choice Awards icon
Independent Games Festival (IGF) icon icon