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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

"Swiping on the Six Strings": Crafting an Interactive Guitar in 'The Last of Us: Part II'

Grant Hoechst  (Game Designer, Naughty Dog)

Mark Burroughs  (Game Designer, Naughty Dog)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 4:20pm - 4:50pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

This talk covers the design goals, challenges, and lessons from designing the interactive guitar mechanic in The Last of Us: Part II, both from a musical and technical perspective. The system's designers will discuss developing a flexible but approachable guitar minigame that allows any player to sound good but also allows experienced musicians to express themselves.


Attendees will come away from this talk with specific lessons in balancing creative systems to be flexible and high-fidelity without being inscrutable to novice players. Additionally, attendees will gain insight into a slice of Naughty Dog's design process, and how our system design reinforces our narrative and emotional goals each step of the way.

Intended Audience

This talk will appeal to designers, but is also accessible to anyone with an interest in developing creative systems. It will require no prerequisite technical knowledge of music, scripting, or design concepts.