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Independent Games Summit: Sparking Curiosity-Driven Exploration Through Narrative in 'Outer Wilds'

Kelsey Beachum (Writer, Independent)

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

Topic: Independent Games

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Outer Wilds' development began with one main goal: Create a game that motivates players to engage with and explore an open world not through assigning missions or other forms of explicit gameplay direction, but instead through a more diegetic and player-determined approach to game progression. What resulted was an odd, experimental space exploration game that relies on inspiring and rewarding curiosity as players explore a dynamic solar system caught in a time loop and unravel the world's nonlinear story. This talk explores narrative's role in achieving Outer Wilds' primary design objective of curiosity-driven exploration, and examines specific narrative design choices and their effects on player experience.


Attendees will take away a better understanding of how to support a player-directed, nonlinear narrative and curiosity-driven exploration in an open-world setting.

Intended Audience

Writers, narrative designers, and other creative stakeholders interested in how narrative design and story can inspire and support player exploration, especially when interwoven with other disciplines (such as gameplay or level design) or in nonlinear, open-world settings.