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How to Bring Story and Gameplay Together

Instructor: Susan O'Connor

December 4, 2020 | 8:00 am-5:00 pm PT

$999 | Limited Seating

Course Description

Designers want to make a great game. Writers want to tell a great story. They both want to create something magical for the player. So why are these collaborations so tricky? Some days, it can seem like they’re speaking two different languages. What gets in the way, and how can we improve the process? After working on over 25 games, from indie to AAA, Susan O’Connor has developed a set of best practices that any team can use to get writers and designers moving in the same direction. This day-long, hands-on workshop will help you become the writer that designers love to work with (or vice versa).


Intended Audience

Designers and writers from all disciplines are welcome. Attendees who have shipped a title will benefit most from this experience.


Key Takeaways

  • Learn which questions you should be asking about a game's story from a writer whose writing credits include franchises such as BioShock, Far Cry, Tomb Raider, and more.
  • Discover ways to build a story around gameplay.
  • Learn how to better understand the player's mind so you can deliver the best story possible.
  • Find out what writers need to know about game design and what designers need to know about story.
  • Discover techniques for how writers and designers can consistently find common ground and work together to make better games.


Instructor Bio

Susan’s first job as a game writer was for “a slumber party game - for girls!” She’s gone on to work on over 25 projects, including award-winning titles in the BioShock, Far Cry and Tomb Raider franchises. Titles in her portfolio have sold over 30 million copies and generated over $500 million in sales. She is an adjunct professor at UT Austin, where she teaches a course on writing for games. A long time ago, she founded the Game Narrative Summit at GDC. Now, she partners with studios, publishers, and writers to help teams ship great games with great stories. She is dedicated to supporting creatives in the games industry so that they can do their best work.

For questions about GDC Masterclass courses, please reach out to the GDC team.



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