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James Coltrain (Founder & Lead, Historiated Games)
Location: Room 3007, West Hall
Date: Tuesday, March 22
Time: 3:50 pm - 4:20 pm
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass - Get your pass now!
Topic: Game Narrative
Viewing Experience: In-Person
Vault Recording: Video
Audience Level: Yes
This talk will examine the conception, development, and release of Blackhaven, an award nominated first person historical narrative mystery game released by Historiated Games in summer 2021. Blackhaven follows Kendra Turner, an intern from a historically Black college who uncovers a trail of secret misdeeds while working at Blackhaven Hall, the site of burned colonial American plantation. After a modest but successful release, historian and lead developer Dr. James Coltrain will reflect on how the Historiated team confronted challenges in historical sensitivity, representation, and narrative design to create a game emphasizing the lasting harms of American slavery. Strategies covered will include how Historiated used surviving artifacts and documents to ensure historical accuracy, wrote a main character who could provide her own historical context to players, and worked with community stakeholders to give them a voice in the game's production.
This session will provide a practical case study for how developers can make use of historical sources, community partnerships, and gameplay strategies to accurately and faithfully portray difficult historical narratives in games.
All developers who are interested in dealing with difficult historical topics in their game designs are encouraged to attend. The talk should be clear to all audiences, but will be especially relevant to narrative designers, environmental artists, and community managers.