A Player Walks Into a Bar… Then What?

Storytelling for interactive media presents unique challenges. Providing parallel consequences for player choice creates a sense of meaningful agency, but how do writers balance that against workload bloat? Encouraging goal-focused, strategic thinking can make gameplay engaging but might take players out of the story, reducing their emotional investment in scenes and decision-making. Interactivity can make it difficult for developers to control the pacing of dramatic story beats. When players are active participants in the storyline, it may limit the actions and characterizations they’ll accept from characters they strongly identify with or raise ethical questions. Come learn how narrative designers in video games and tabletop games tackle these obstacles to craft vibrant, engaging interactive stories.


Bobby Stein [ArenaNet], Jessica Price [ArenaNet], Samantha Wallschlaeger [ArenaNet], Robert Brookes [Encounter Table Publishing], Tanya X. Short [KitFox], Ann Lemay [Ubisoft]