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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Game Narrative Summit: Everything Means Something: The Creative and Destructive Potential of Themes

Kyla Fury  (Game Designer & Writer, EVC)

Michael Sennott  (Game Designer & Writer, Universal Happymaker)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 9:40am - 10:40am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Game Narrative

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

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

If you do not choose what your game is about, your audience will do it for you. In this talk, the creators of Wintermoor Tactics Club make a case for using a deliberately-chosen theme to guide every aspect of a game's narrative and creative development. Wintermoor's writers use their own journey through the creation and revision of Wintermoor Tactics Club as a case study for how they identified, refined, and communicated its theme of "overcoming isolation in modern internet culture."


Attendees will hear evidence for the importance of having a single cohesive theme as a pillar of a game's narrative. Beyond that, they will gain a framework for ideating and evaluating themes, as well as learn techniques to ensure that theme comes across as clearly as possible to the game's audience.

Intended Audience

This talk is for writers, designers, and creative leaders of both indie and AAA games. Attendees are not expected to have any literary background or even to have thought much about themes. As the talk recommends a top-down approach, it may be more suitable to those in positions of creative control over the game they're working on.