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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: Press Y to Cry: Generating Emotions in Videogame Narrative

Andrew Walsh  (Writer & Narrative Designer, Independent)

Date: Tuesday, July 20

Time: 1:20pm - 1:50pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Game Narrative

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

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).


Attendees will leave with a practical toolbox of procedures to help analyse and generate emotions for videogames.

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.