Matthew Weise

CEO of Empathy Box

Matthew Weise is a game designer and educator whose work spans industry and academia. He is the CEO of Empathy Box, a company that specializes in narrative design for games and across media. He was the Narrative Designer at Harmonix Music Systems on Fantasia: Music Evolved, the Game Design Director of the GAMBIT Game Lab at MIT, and a consultant for Warner Bros., Microsoft, PBS, The National Ballet of Spain, and others on storytelling and game design. His work, both creatively and critically, focuses on transmedia adaptation with an emphasis on the challenges of adapting cinema into video games. Matt has given lectures and workshops on film-to-game adaptation all over the world, and has published work on how franchises like Alien, James Bond, and horror cinema in general are adapted into games. Links to his writing and game design work, including his IGF nominated The Snowfield, can be found at www.matthewweise.com.

Talk Description:

Choice Design For The Masses
The interactive game space and the traditional entertainment space are merging. They are on a collision course whether they like it or not. People used to linear media like film and television have to learn what it means to make an experience *meaningfully* — not trivially — interactive. And game makers have to accept that stories, storytelling, and story-driven interactive experiences are increasingly the center of what mainstream audiences — not just hard core gamer audiences — want. Experiences like Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch might seem like a successful step into this brave new world, but what can we really learn it? What can we learn from the decades old practice of choice design, the term game designers use for creating choice-driven narratives? This talk will explore the current state and future of choice design: where it came from, how it evolved, how it relates to traditional digital games, and how it relates to the emerging fields of immersive and interactive cinema. Attendees will walk away with a concrete sense of what meaningful choices are, why they are meaningful, and when those best practices apply differently (and when they don’t) to digital games vs. interactive cinema/television.

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