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Session Name: 'Life is Strange': The Blue Age of Storytelling
Speaker(s): Christian Divine
Company Name(s): Dontnod
Track / Format: Design

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Overview: A talk in three acts that will focus on the writing/narrative/character elements of 'Life is Strange' (LIS). It will share how Christian came onto the project as the American writer working with the French Dontnod team to create the game's Pacific Northwest cultural ambience. It will discuss how they wrote/approached the game's sensitive subject matter. This will be followed by the writer's insight on the public/critical response to LIS and what a positive signal it may bode for the next age of game storytelling.

Act ll will highlight a specific scene from Episode 4 in order to breakdown the basic elements of character, gameplay, narrative and branching dialogue. Actual script and yED branching samples from the game will also be used for demonstration to illustrate the myriad of layers of writing that went into the game.

Act lll will examine how LIS has created an emotional experience for the player and how this was hopefully achieved episode by episode through character design, dialogue and personality. Characters in the game should reflect the culture and region, even if language is indigenous and not familiar (i.e., "Hella"). Brief clips will be used to illustrate how emotional beats can create further identification (or not).

In conclusion, the acceptance of LIS is a sign that game narratives are expanding and the "New Age" has become a "Blue Age" of storytelling. Game screens and platforms now reflect more diverse topical, emotional narrativesand writers have a chance to share in this experience.

GDC Europe 2016

Christian Divine


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