Alex Kain

Narrative Designer for ArenaNet

Alex got his start in game development writing narrative for mobile phone games in 2007, and since then has contributed to over 20 titles on over a dozen platforms, including numerous independent titles such as Dust: An Elysian Tail, Armello, and Salt & Sanctuary. He is currently serving as a Narrative Designer at award-winning game developer ArenaNet.

Talk Description:

“Just Let Me Play!” Crafting Noninvasive Narrative

Narrative designers often find themselves trapped between the well-worn language of film and the constantly-evolving concepts of “noninvasive” storytelling. It’s easy to fall back on cinematic language to tell stories, taking control of the camera and positioning your characters like stage actors — but when you’re writing nonlinear stories for a digital board game or crafting chatter between NPCs in an MMO, the rules of cinema tend to go out the window. How do you properly tell a randomly-assembled hero’s journey in a turn-based online multiplayer game when everyone’s waiting for you? How do you craft compelling NPC dialog in an MMO when the number of actors in a scene can range from one to dozens?

This session outlines various methods for noninvasive narrative using examples and first-hand stories. It is intended for anyone interested in shoring up their narrative toolbox, and attendees will see what it’s like to build stories for these kinds of games.

Panel Description:

Breaking in As A Game Writer – Narrative Panel

Panelists include:
CJ Kershner
Alex Kain
Toiya K. Finley
Brian Kindregan
Jesse Scoble

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