Organizers of this October's GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) have announced details of the Game Narrative Summit, including a keynote from Bungie's Joseph Staten on '10 Years Of Halo Storytelling... And Beyond', plus major Harmonix and 2K Games lectures.
The Summit, known as the Game Writers Summit in previous years, aims to cover all facets of the game narrative development process, from writing scripts for major console titles to integrating stories into ARGs and Facebook games, and takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5th-6th in Austin, Texas.
Some of the newly announced highlights of this year's Game Narrative Summit, chosen by distinguished Summit advisory board including Ubisoft's Richard Dansky, Microsoft Game Studios' Tom Abernathy and Blindlight's Lev Chapelsky, include the following:
- Bungie writer and design director Joseph Staten will keynote the Summit with a talk titled, "Writing The Whirlwind: 10 Years On The Frontlines Of Halo Storytelling...And Beyond." Staten will discuss his lessons learned working on Bungie's flagship franchise, and how those lessons "are fundamentally changing the writing and story design for Bungie's next universe of games."
- In an intriguing lecture called "Get in the Van: Storytelling in the Rock Band Series," Harmonix design director Chris Foster and senior writer Helen McWilliams will discuss how the company's rhythm games - from The Beatles: Rock Band through Rock Band 3 -- tell stories in unconventional and unexpected ways.
Topics discussed will include "structural and implicit narrative,
storytelling within the context of a party game, using real history as
story and gameplay elements, tonal accuracy within writing, and using
the word rock as few times as humanly possible."
- Experienced comics writer Antony Johnston (Daredevil, Wolverine, Wasteland), who also has experience writing games for EA and Sega, discusses how games can learn from comics in "From Comics To Consoles," focusing on "the similarities and differences between comics and games, the effect of transmedia on both media, and what games writers can learn from studying -- and writing -- comics."
- Another notable lecture is "I Don't Want To Know: Delivering Exposition In Games" sees 2K Games' Greg Kasavin (Spec Ops: The Line) discussing how to hook players through game narratives. The session promises to "examine a variety of expository techniques that can be used to strengthen game openings, build intrigue, parse out information at a sensible pace, and immerse the player in the experience."
The Game Narrative Summit will be one part of GDC Online, which will take place October 5-8, 2010 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas and also features a main conference based around social games and MMOs, plus Summits on iPhone and iPad games and 3D stereoscopic gaming.