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Game Narrative Summit: The Problem of Failure

Jon Ingold (Narrative Director, inkle)

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

Topic: Game Narrative

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: Intermediate

Not all games have challenge, but those that do have failure: and failure in narrative games leads to repetition, linearity and ludonarrative you-know-what. In this talk, the narrative designer of Heaven's Vault and 80 Days will discuss ways to think about failure through a narrative lens, and outline strategies to build failure-positive games in which the story-telling doesn't have to stop and wait for the player to catch up.


This talk will layout the design considerations involved in making failure a core part of a game's narrative. Using examples from Heaven's Vault and 80 Days, it will show how these games designed for challenge and failure from the outset, and detail the costs and benefits that result from a failure-positive design.

Intended Audience

The talk is intended for narrative designers looking to find integrated solutions to pairing game mechanics with narrative beats.