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 pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Scheduler, you can build your schedule in advance and access it during the show via export or with the GDC Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up so please arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

Game Narrative Summit: Press Y to Cry: Generating Emotions in Videogame Narrative

Andrew Walsh (Writer & Narrative Designer, Independent)

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

Topic: Game Narrative

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Everyone working in videogames knows the answer to 'can videogames make you cry?' is 'yes!'. (Seriously, where you've been the last 20 years?).
The real questions are -
'Why make people cry?'
'How do we make players love, laugh, despise, sympathise, or empathise instead...?' and
'How do developers ensure players feel the right emotions?'

Getting players to connect with a game's setting, narrative, or characters provides more than artistic reward, it can add millions to a game's income. But, while videogames have a track record of making players feel scared, thrilled, or titillated, the industry's emotional palette is still small. This practical session looks at existing models of 'Press Y to cry', 'X to shag', or 'O to ponder the existential nature of the universe', and explores a range of other models and solutions for how to deepen emotion during gameplay. Come and share the love (hate, jealousy, trust, joy, etc)


Mixing live theatre, scripted examples and case study walkthroughs, this session will set questions, provide frameworks and take developers through a series of emotional techniques for videogames. Attendees will leave with a practical toolbox of ideas and procedures to help create characters, settings, plots and designs that generate emotions.

Intended Audience

Whilst the session focuses on writing and design techniques for gamewriters and narrative designers, the content is useful to all developers (artists, producers, designers, animators, come one and all...we love you!). Beginners and industry veterans will leave with ideas, solutions and new questions about the nature of emotions in games.