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Independent Games Summit: The Art and Science of Mystery Game Design

Jongwoo Kim (Co-Founder & Creative Director, Kitfox Games)

Sam Barlow (Game Director & Founder, Drowning a Mermaid Productions)

Ben Wander (Founder & Designer, The Wandering Band)

Nick Zhang (Creative Director, NExT Studios)

Lucas Pope (Developer, 3909 LLC)

Katie Chironis (Senior Game Designer, Riot Games)

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: Intermediate

Traditional mystery games are highly scripted narrative driven experiences, in which the player is "Watson" - an observer who watches the mystery unfold. In recent years, a new style of mystery games has emerged. The player is now "Sherlock", free to lead the investigation and unravel the mystery however they wish. This panel will be a discussion by indie developers who make mystery games of the new player-driven style, examining designed from used titles like Telling Lies, A Case of Distrust, Unheard, Elsinore, Lucifer Within Us and Return of the Obra Dinn.


Attendees will learn about techniques and considerations for empowering the player in a mystery game, including player character design, plot driven vs character driven content development and stateful vs stateless game structure.