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Session Name:

Forget Protagonists: Writing NPCs with Agency for '80 Days' and Beyond


Too often in games, protagonists are rock stars or toddlers. NPCs shower heroes with backstory and affection; plot warps to accommodate them; the game world exists to reflect their importance.
But the protagonist is not the player. Often, the player's experience benefits when NPCs have agency, drive and motivation - even when NPC actions limit or constrain the protagonist's.
Drawing on her experience writing 80 Days (TIME's GOTY 2014, winner of IGF 2014 Best Narrative, and nominated for four BAFTAs) and examining relevant game examples, Meg Jayanth will explore best practices around writing three-dimensional, engaging NPCs to enliven game narratives.

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  • GDC 2016
  • Meg Jayanth
  • Freelance
  • free content
  • Game Narrative Summit
  • Game Narrative