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'Sunless Skies': A Narrative Postmortem

Chris Gardiner (Narrative Director, Failbetter Games)

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

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

This session is about how, in less than two years of production, a small indie team made Sunless Skies: a game with a critically acclaimed, heavily reactive story and more words than the King James Bible.

Using examples from development and the game's design documents, Chris Gardiner, Failbetter's Narrative Director, will explore the challenges the team faced, the processes and techniques they employed, and what worked (as well as what didn't.)

The session will focus on the techniques Failbetter developed to address the demands of a story-driven game. How you can ensure your game maintains a clear, consistent narrative tone across development. How Failbetter's pitching process evolved over the project, and tips on best practices for handling pitches. How targeted consultations can improve your storytelling, access critical expertise, and help you avoid stories that are trite or insensitive.


Attendees will come away with practical techniques to help achieve a consistent, communicable tone for their game, and tips to improve their pitching practices (both for internal and freelance writers). Finally, they learn about the benefits of targeted consultations, and how to get the most out of them.

Intended Audience

The session will be of particular interest to writers, narrative designers, and anyone whose work incorporates elements of narrative or creative direction, but will be relevant to anyone involved in making games with an emphasis on story.