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Meaningful Play: Emergent Narrative Through Gameplay Systems in Frostpunk

Jakub Stokalski (Project Lead, 11 bit studios)

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

Topic: Design, Vision

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: Intermediate

Stories are powerful tools to explore the human condition. Yet in games story is often delivered alongside gameplay, not through it. Some games lean on linear media storytelling staples. But all games - intently or not - weave story in a loop of designer intent delivered through game systems and player interaction. It's only fitting we develop our design toolset to power this new language. This talk aims to explore the topic of emergent storytelling, drawing examples from the development of Frostpunk, a strategy game without a single NPC that won a BAFTA nomination for Narrative.


The attendee takes away a framework for thinking about game systems in a way that takes into account human values they operate on. Therefore developers can start actively designing systems that aim to evoke specific meaning, fostering emergent narrative.

Intended Audience

Intended audience includes leads, designers and writers working on projects that have strong narrative at their core and aim to push boundaries there, especially by focusing on meshing gameplay and narrative in a seamless fashion. Solid understanding of game systems role and structure, game loops and linear narrative principles will help benefit from this talk.