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Starting with the Ending: Narrative Design of 'Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser'

Anisha Deshmane  (Asst. Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering)

Sara Thacher  (Sr. R&D Imagineer, Walt Disney Imagineering)

Location: Room 209, South Hall

Date: Thursday, March 24

Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Viewing Experience: In-Person

Vault Recording: Not Recorded

Audience Level: Yes

Join two Walt Disney Imagineers as we upend narrative design strategies to create compelling, impactful conclusions to each guest's individual - and multiplayer - stories developed for the multi-day immersive adventure, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. On this living, 'playable' starcruiser, passengers are invited to take part in a multi-day connected RPG where their personal story unfolds through physical exploration, responsive environments, interactions with live performers, and purpose-built digital interfaces. Throughout this adventure, participants can make choices that change their path while taking part in a range of Star Wars stories. This talk will dive into how we turned a branching narrative upside-down to ensure guests have individual and group agency while satisfying the constraints of fixed endings, and examine how those principles manifested in core design choices to inform a passenger's personal adventure across real and virtual platforms to tell a cohesive, connected Star Wars story.


Understand advantages of constrained endings determining mechanics of player agency.
Crafting consistent NPCs that live on multiple platforms, including live performers and digital chat interfaces.
Designing mechanics that embrace both "play for fun" and moments of agency.
Designing multiplayer experiences that are rewarding for individuals for their contribution to the cumulative narrative

Intended Audience

This talk is for narrative designers, narrative systems designers, creative designers, and anyone designing for escape rooms, multi-threaded experiences, and RPGs.