GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, track, and format. With this Session Scheduler, you can build your schedule in advance and access it during the show via export or with the GDC Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up so please arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

Interactive Story Without Challenge Mechanics: The Design of 'Firewatch'

Chris Remo (Game Designer and Composer, Valve)

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

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

What is the role of design in a game that doesn't include combat, puzzles, or other traditional mechanical challenges? Can the story itself be the gameplay? On 'Firewatch', the developers set out to create a compelling story that unfolded in real time and allowed for player-centric interactivity and responsiveness, without allowing the player to ever "fail." In this talk, game designer and composer Chris Remo will discuss the ways in which the team succeeded (and came up short) in making deep interactive narrative design a vital part of 'Firewatch', a pillar they are continuing to build on in their upcoming project, 'In the Valley of Gods'.


Attendees will gain deep insight into the development of a successful independently-developed narrative game, and will leave equipped with a set of principles and ideas that can be applied to interactive storytelling across genres.

Intended Audience

This talk is of broad interest for those working in the development of narrative games, but is principally relevant to writers, game designers, and narrative designers. Developers in other genres who wish to improve upon the interactive storytelling in their games will also benefit.