Writers should be involved in multiple areas of development to improve player engagement

GDC 13: Devs champion emotion in games

Developers should focus more on improving the emotional content of games rather than concentrating simply on the plot, say game writers speaking at GDC 13.

As reported by Polygon, in a GDC session entitled ‘Evolving the emotional content of games’, Writing Studio’s Susan O’Connor and EA story producer Chuck Beaver championed trying to connect with players on a more mature and adult level.

O’Connor explained that all studios should entrust a person leading development to insist on creating a unique vision that champions the value of connecting with players on an emotional level, rather than simply entertaining them in a generic and cliché way.

"I know so many game developers, and so many of them are wonderful, smart, creative, considerate and adult, and somehow those personalities are not always reflected in the games that we make," she said.

O’Connor went on to say that focusing on a character’s own journey rather than a large plot could also help with a game’s development, making it easier to chop and change content or even entire levels without greatly affecting the overall story arch, given the flexible nature of a character’s emotional journey.

She added that it was crucial for writers to be involved in numerous areas of game development, such as level, mission and quest design, helping improve player engagement and story pacing.


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