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December 14, 2019
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Video: Ken Levine pitches devs on the idea of 'Narrative Legos'

December 10, 2014 | By Staff

December 10, 2014 | By Staff
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More: Console/PC, Design, Video, Vault



BioShock creative director Ken Levine believes narrative is an important part of game design, because it's something that your audience can deeply relate to. However, the strengths of interactive media -- player participation, the ability to experience content in different ways on different playthroughs and the fact that the content is not static -- seem fundamentally opposed to the will of a storyteller.

Levine believes narrative design can accommodate these strengths, but game developers have to solve the challenge of building non-linear, replayable (narrative) sequences. At GDC 2014 he spoke about his theory of "Narrative Legos" -- breaking narrative down to its smallest yet non-abstract elements and finding ways to combine and recombine them, one could potentially build a nearly infinite array of narrative opportunities out of these small building blocks.

The comparison is closest to, say, the Death Star play set of our childhood -- which was very specific and beautiful, but single-purposed -- versus Legos; less exciting and less appealing on their own, they can still be recombined and repurposed in an infinite number of ways.

It's an interesting talk, so don't miss your chance to watch the free video of 'Narrative Legos' (embedded above) here on the GDC Vault.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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