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View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view GDC 2023 session details and speakers, and share your favorites via social media. You will be able to build your schedule and access it during the show via export or Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

Level Design Summit: Benefits of Missing Out: What 'Cyberpunk 2077' Taught Us About Non-Linear Level Design

Miles Tost  (Acting Level Design Lead, CD PROJEKT RED)

Location: Room 303, South Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 21

Time: 1:20 pm - 2:20 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Making non-linear levels where each path feels rewarding to the player is difficult—especially in an open-world game with the goal of maximizing the player's freedom by providing an endless amount of options. This is a lesson the CDPR Level Design team fully learned to understand after Cyberpunk 2077 first launched in December 2020.

This talk will provide an overview of the design intentions behind the levels in the game, and look at how these intentions did not always fully receive the anticipated reception by players. It will elaborate on what the team was able to learn from this and, finally, how these lessons were turned into principles and techniques that can be applied by level designers to make those branching paths feel more rewarding and special, while still keeping things production-friendly.


Attendees will gain insight into the design process and ideas driving Cyberpunk 2077's level design and some of the shortcomings these brought. They will also gain awareness of key factors that contribute to making paths in non-linear levels feel rewarding and methods and ways to implement these.

Intended Audience

This is for designers and artists alike, especially if their focus is on creating non-linear video game levels. It's open to all experience levels.