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Video: Designing Crusader Kings II to generate strange, emergent stories

May 4, 2016 | By Staff

May 4, 2016 | By Staff
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More: Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video, Vault



"Crusader Kings II tries to mimic real life, in a sense, producing stories with neither plot nor script."

Paradox game designer Henrik Fåhraeus

How do you design your game so that it fosters players' ability to tell their own unique stories about playing the game, rather than recounting stories the game is meant to tell them?

Few games foster such emergent narratives better than Crusader Kings II, which may account for why the somewhat arcane 2012 grand strategy game became a bit of a sleeper hit for developer Paradox. 

At GDC 2014, Paradox's Henrik Fåhraeus took the stage to break down how CKII was explicitly designed to encourage emergent storytelling, and offered advice on how fellow developers could (and should) do something similar with their own games.

It was a neat talk about a compelling aspect of complex strategy game design, and you can watch the whole thing right now for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel 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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