At GDC 2016, writer and narrative designer Meg Jayanth (80 Days, Samsara) took the stage to address a problem: too often in games, NPCs shower heroes with backstory and affection; plot warps to accommodate them; the game world exists to reflect their importance.
But as Jayanth aptly pointed out, the protagonist is not the player. Citing examples from her own experiences in game development, she made the case that your player's experience is better when NPCs have agency, drive and motivation - even when NPC actions limit or constrain the protagonist!
She also shared some best practices that devs can look to for inspiration when writing three-dimensional, engaging NPCs that breathe life into your game narratives.
If you missed Jayanth's talk in 2016, no worries -- you can now watch it for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel!
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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