GDC 2024 is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view session and speaker details for Game Developers Conference 2024.

You will be able to build your schedule with the GDC Mobile App. The GDC 2024 app will be available for download in Apple Apps and Google Play late February 2024.

Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

Making Linear Story Playable: The Narrative Design of 'Alan Wake 2'

Simon Wasselin  (Lead Narrative Designer, Remedy Entertainment Oy)

Molly Maloney  (Principal Narrative Designer, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2002, West Hall

Date: Friday, March 22

Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

Remedy has never shied away from complex stories and characters, and Alan Wake 2 features some of our most ambitious protagonists to date. When it came to putting players in the minds of both a talented FBI detective piecing together a supernatural mystery, and a tortured author attempting to write his way out of a web of darkness, Lead Narrative Designer Simon Wasselin (Quantic Dream) Principal Narrative Designer Molly Maloney (Telltale Games) had to tackle some big questions: How do we give players a satisfying interactive experience within the confines of a linear story that can't budge? How do we allow for player expression when the protagonists are locked into specific roles? How can we leverage interactivity to incept complex, multilayered exposition into the minds of our audience?

This talk focuses on the design of the narrative mechanics used to convey exposition in Alan Wake 2. Join us as we discuss the challenges of agency vs expression, linear vs branching storytelling, and how by involving Narrative Design in gameplay we can create more powerful story experiences in AAA games.


Linear storytelling in the AAA space can be more than plot points bookending gameplay. By leveraging the tools of branching narrative, even an extremely linear experience can invite the player to be a part of its story. By creating interactive mechanics less centered around traditional gameplay loops and more focused on a building a sense of ownership and investment, we create a "stickiness" in our games that keep players playing until the end. Learn how to think about gameplay mechanics through a narrative lens, see the iterations of various narrative design mechanics in Alan Wake 2 - where they succeeded and failed, and gain insights into the creative process of story-driven AAA games from two branching narrative veterans.

Intended Audience

This talk is targeted at developers interested in Narrative Design, storytelling, and anyone looking for ways to incorporate Narrative Design more effectively into their development pipeline.

Connecting the Global Game Development Community

GDC Vault icon
Game Developers Choice Awards icon
Independent Games Festival (IGF) icon icon