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View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, track, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view GDC 2023 session details, speakers and share your favorites via social media. You will be able to build your schedule and access it during the show via export or with the Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

Unpacking Zen: Designing a Game Without Fail States or Scores

Wren Brier  (Creative Director, Witch Beam)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

A zen game about taking items out of boxes after a move might sound extremely niche. But Unpacking by Witch Beam Games has gone on to achieve critical and commercial success, selling over a million copies and winning over 20 awards around the world including a BAFTA for its narrative and a GDCA for innovation. The game lacks many conventional game design components: there are no scores, no time limits, no fail states, no consequences to choices, no dialogue. Not only did Unpacking not need these elements -- it is a better game for omitting them. What's left when all of these things are taken away? And why design a game like this? This talk will explore our rationale for Unpacking's design and the way we implemented it in practice.


Attendees will learn how practical game pillars and subtractive design can strengthen the core of a game.

Intended Audience

Game designers looking to try a new approach, and anyone intrigued by Unpacking.