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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, topic, and format. You will be able to build your personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021.

'Disco Elysium': Meaningless Choices and Impractical Advice

Justin Keenan  (Writer, ZA/UM Studio)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

A writer from ZA/UM Studio (makers of Disco Elysium) shares some practical advice the writing team received along the way and how they disregarded it to produce one of the best and most critically acclaimed RPGs of this century. This talk covers some of the most time-consuming and difficult aspects of Disco Elysium's dialogue and narrative design, and why they were absolutely worth the time, money, and effort. This talk also covers some aspects of ZA/UM's design process, as well as general principles and best practices for branching dialogue design.


Attendees gain practical insights into designing organic and highly reactive dialogue structures they may apply to their own projects. This talk also covers how studios interested in narrative can develop a writer-driven design process.

Intended Audience

This talk is written for anyone with an interest in dialogue and narrative design or CRPGs more generally.