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. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule in the mobile event app, once live early 2022.

GDC Masterclass courses require a paid pass to attend. Class sizes are kept intentionally small and seats are limited to ensure every student receives one-on-one assistance from the instructor. Pass pricing per course varies, please review the passes and pricing page for more details and secure your spot today!

Ghost in the Empathy Machine: Exploring the Player-Character Connection in 'Life is Strange: True Colors'

Zachary Garriss  (Chief Creative Officer, Deck Nine Games)

Jonathan Zimmerman  (Narrative Director, Deck Nine Games)

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

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: Yes

In recent years, games have been called "empathy machines" for their ability to foster connections between players of all walks of life and the characters they inhabit. In this talk, Deck Nine Game's Zak Garriss and Jon Zimmerman explore the evolution of empathy as a fundamental mechanic of narrative adventure games and why they chose to render this mechanic explicit in the design of Alex's empathy power in Life is Strange: True Colors. They share their history with the mechanic's design and the strengths - and challenges - it brought to the writing of Alex's story. Drawing from recent literature on the power of empathy in social relationships--writings that informed their work in the writers' room--they zoom out to consider the role of the artist in fostering human connection and tolerance.

Takeaway

This talk offers insight into the parallel development of narrative and design in Life is Strange: True Colors as empathy as a concept was converted into empathy as a mechanic and a principle story engine for the game. Anyone interested in the narrative adventure genre, improving narrative in other genres, a better understanding the handshake between narrative and design in any genre, and empathy as a component of all game experiences will enjoy this talk.

Intended Audience

Game directors, game writers, narrative designers, and adventure game developers will all gain deep insight into lessons learned from making Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Life is Strange: True Colors in this talk.