May 23, 2022

LudoNarraCon 2021 – Dev Talks And Q&A’s

LudoNarraCon has been so much fun this year and has had a collection of amazing games to try. One of the higlights of this years LudoNarraCon has been the many Dev Talks and Q&A’s, Here’s ABS’s top picks.

The Panels:

Creating and Breaking the Immersion in Localization

About the PanelGame developers and localizers will discuss what helps immersion and what breaks it when the game is localized. What must be lost in translation, and what should be created anew. We will see how different workflows between developers and localization team can influence the players’ experience.

The Panelists:

Ash Tregay: Producer at Rebellion for Evil Genius 2: World Domination. Previously a Development Manager at IBM on all manner of far less narratively interesting software.

Eric Holweck: Translator of more than 25 years experience working on games and novels. Working almost exclusively on computer games since 2000, as a translator or project manager. Experienced in games from every genre, with a focus on RPG’s and MMORPG’s. French team leader for Riotloc. Selected titles include Divinity: Original Sin 2, TES: Morrowind, TES: Skyrim, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Ramón Méndez: Working in the video game industry as a translator, interpreter, and editor since 2003. He has more than 30 awards and nominations for his localization work. Teacher at the University of Vigo, where he created the Specialized Degree in Translation for the Video Game Industry. Author of six books and several academic papers to date. Spanish team leader for Riotloc. Selected titles include The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Far Cry 4, Cuphead, Octopath Traveler, Return of The Obra Dinn, Divinity: Original Sin 1 & 2.

Vladimir Konoplitsky: Translator, editor and project manager in video games since 2008. Specialist in QA and localization tools. Team leader and a humble overmind at the localization studio Riotloc. Organizer of the localization workshops, and game development hackathons like Global Game Jam. Selected titles include Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny, Divinity: Original Sin 2.

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Narrative Systems: From Pens and Paper to Video Games

The past decade has seen a revival tabletop and pen and paper RPGs, with independent, experimental and narrative-focused systems and games reinventing the TTRPG scene. What narrative systems and methods can videogames draw from this reinvention of the form? Three designers and developers talk about the influences they take from running and playing TTRPGs, and how this effects the way they tell stories through games.

The Panelists:

Gareth Damian Martin is an award-winning writer, designer and artist. Their first game, In Other Waters won the Jury Prix at IndieCade Europe, and was widely praised by critics for its “hypnotic art, otherworldly audio and captivating writing” (Eurogamer). Their criticism has been published in a wide variety of forms, from Eurogamer and Rock Paper Shotgun to Edge Magazine and Frieze Magazine. They are the editor and creator of Heterotopias, an independent zine about games and architecture, and have lectured on the history and theory of games and architecture at the world-renowned Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Inari BourguenolleI: am a narrative designer on the Crew IP at Ubisoft – Ivory Tower. Prior to that, I worked as a game and narrative designer on various platforms – including tabletop RPGs, augmented board games and even TV game shows – and was a game design teacher in various schools.
I started working in games 10 years ago, starting with indie TTRPGs and podcasting about them before moving on to mobile and serious gaming the AAA.

Bertine van Hövell is a freelance game writer and designer, having worked with both AAA and independent companies. She has been running Lost Again since 2009, creating projects and games both silly and profound. For over 5 years she has co-hosted a Vampire: The Masquerade larp almost every month.

Soraya Een Hajji has been bouncing around the games industry for a decade, working on everything from tabletop RPGs to YouTube videos. She is currently a Senior Producer at Undead Labs in Seattle.

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Telling Dark Stories with Games

For a medium long known for being “fun,” some of our most interesting and challenging games can actually be quite dark in the stories they tell. From horror games to characters with inner torment to games taking on societal critique, this panel explores the appeal of dark stories in games and discuss the advantage and challenges of tackling dark subject matter. We’ll also talk about how best to embody the darkness through game mechanics and difficult choices for players to make. The panel will discuss games we think have tackled dark subjects particularly well, and will ponder if it’s possible to ever go too far into the darkness.

The Panelists:

Richard Rouse III is a creative director, designer, and writer who has worked on a range of titles, including the horror franchise The Suffering, zombie survival simulator State of Decay, and his cult-set experimental narrative game The Church in the Darkness. Previously he was a Design Director/Lead at Microsoft Studios, Ubisoft Montreal, Midway and Surreal Software. Rouse wrote the popular book Game Design: Theory & Practice.

Emily Short works in interactive fiction, narrative design, and conversation modeling, and is currently the Creative Director at Failbetter Games. She has released over two dozen solo games, as well as contributing to indie games such as Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies, and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine; she also provided R&D work for Telltale Games and others. Her blog can be found at http://emshort.blog.

Thomas Grip: Co-founder of Frictional Games creative director behind the Penumbra, Amnesia and SOMA franchises.

Marta Fijak: A biologist and computer scientist by education, a game designer by love. Tried every form of gamedev, from basement indie with ~20 players, through a BAFTA nominated game with ~1.5 million players, up to f2p with ~10 million players. Recently did society in Frostpunk and was a lead game designer on an not announced 11 bit studios project. Currently, starting a new adventure, as a creative director at Anshar studios.

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Fireside Chats

Brooke Maggs & Greg Kavasin

Brooke and Greg have an informal chat about their time in the games industry and the projects they’ve worked on.

Speakers:

Brooke Maggs, an award-winning narrative designer who has worked on Control, The Gardens Between, Paperbark and Florence. She works as a Senior Narrative Designer at Remedy Entertainment. Outside of games, she is a published author, writes about the digital and traditional literature, and tends to her succulents in cute pots. www.brookemaggs.com

Greg Kavasin is a writer and creative director at Supergiant Games, the small independent studio behind Hades, Pyre, Transistor, and Bastion. Prior to Supergiant, he worked at 2K Games, Electronic Arts, and GameSpot.

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Dan McPhee & Kelsey Beachum

Speakers:

Kelsey Beachum is a game writer and narrative designer. She’s best known for her narrative work on the BAFTA- and other-award-winning space adventure game Outer Wilds (2019), for which she was named a 2019 Nebula Award finalist. You might also know her as one of the narrative designers from The Outer Worlds DLC. If the similarity of those titles confuses you, don’t worry — she’s confused about how this happened, too.

Dan McPhee: Programmer and designer and doer of all the things, currently for Obsidian Entertainment.

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Davionne Gooden & Laura Michet

Davionne and Laura have an informal chat about their time in the games industry and the projects they’ve worked on.

Speakers:

Davionne Gooden is a Cleveland-based game developer, filmmaker, photographer, and creative director at Studio Zevere. He is currently hard at work on his studio’s debut title “She Dreams Elsewhere”, set to release for PC and consoles in 2021. He aims to tell stylish, culturally-relevant, and emotionally-rich stories from new perspectives, while empowering others to express their own creative voice. So come on in, relax, and enjoy your stay!

Laura Michet is a writer and editor who has works for Riot Games during the day and on indie games at night. She is currently working on Skin Deep by Blendo Games.

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Bite-Sized Talks

A New Era For Interactive Live Action Stories

Tune in for an overview of the work we’ve been doing at Flavourworks to innovate new storytelling technologies and design philosophies, starting with our debut experiment “ERICA” and leading to increasing ambitions over 2021.

Speaker:

Jack Attridge is Creative Director and co-founder of Flavourworks, a digital entertainment studio based in London. Jack’s career spans across studios such as EA, Rebellion, Mind Candy, and 22cans. In 2015 he setup Flavourworks to realise his vision for a new form of interactive storytelling. The studio’s breakthrough design and technology has gained support from some of the industry’s biggest names. Their first title ERICA, an interactive live action drama, launched in 2019 for PS4, and 2021 for iOS.

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Revolution: 40 Years Of Captivating Stories

Charles Cecil, renown developer for Revolution Software, 40 years has developed titles across all formats and has dedicated his time towards the ever growing field of narrative in video games. From turn of the century Paris to the far fetched future where A.I must be subverted, there are no subjects that he’s not thought about, or written about.

Speaker:

Charles Cecil, MBE ‘Industry Legend’ has 40 years experience in games. In 1990 he founded Revolution, today one of the world’s leading adventure game companies. Charles, is a BAFTA Cymru award winner for BBC’s Doctor Who games, and was nominated for a Writers’ Guild award for Broken Sword – The Angel of Death. He Executive Produced Sony’s The Da Vinci Code game, and Robert Zemeckis’ Christmas Carol. Charles sits on the Screen Yorkshire Boards and has been a visiting lecturer at York University and NFTS.

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When in Doubt, get Weirder

Writer Charlene Putney shares some tips and techniques for letting your inner weirdo shine. From her work writing Divinity: Original Sin 2, to writing the indie game NUTS, to designing and writing the upcoming word puzzler VITRIOL, to her current role as Story Lead on an upcoming title at Die Gute Fabrik, Charlene’s work has always been infused with a “genuine cosmic weirdness” (VICE review of NUTS). In this talk, she will demonstrate how she brings approachable weirdness and warmth to her stories and characters.

Speaker:

Charlene Putney is an award-winning writer and teacher from Ireland. After working at Google and Facebook in management positions, she turned to the more creative side of tech and began writing for videogames in 2013. Before moving to Denmark, she worked on Divinity: Original Sin 2 and story for the upcoming Baldur’s Gate 3. She now works as Story Lead at Die Gute Fabrik in Copenhagen. She also teaches interactive fiction at university level and yoga on the weekends.

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Well this is the last of ABG’s coverage of this years LudoNarraCon and we hope you enjoy our top picks but you can catch all of the other talks and lots more on the LudoNarraCon Steam page.


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