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Independent Games Summit: 'First Person Talker': Six Rules for Voice-Controlled Game Design

Thomas Keane  (Game Director, Godolphin Games)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 20

Time: 2:10 pm - 2:40 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass, Independent Games Summit Pass

Topic: Independent Games

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Thanks to recent leaps in voice technology, the voice revolution is finally coming to games. But what does a "good" voice-controlled game look like?

This talk explores that question by sharing six key learnings from the development of "Unknown Number: A First Person Talker."

Released in 2022, Unknown Number achieved recognition for its "innovative voice-controlled mechanics" that "scratch the surface of what may be possible in the future" (Metro UK). Crucially, the project starts to establish some ground rules for a new voice-led genre: the First Person Talker.

This talk discusses the team's initial design assumptions, how they failed in playtesting, and proposes generalizable solutions. The session is useful for any developers exploring voice-controlled gaming, now or in the future–enabling them to leapfrog the pain and find the fun in "talking."


Attendees will learn the six rules for designing voice-controlled games, along with the many pitfalls of developing games in this space, and receive a set of solutions–covering everything from puzzle design to interface design, narrative framing to "quality of life" features.

Intended Audience

This is for developers exploring the world of voice-controlled games–currently or in the future. More broadly, it appeals to anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on the field of game design. It starts at first principles, so no prior knowledge is necessary.