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Video: Diverse game characters - write them now!
May 8, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

May 8, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Design, Production, Video

Ubisoft scriptwriter Jill Murray shares practical advice on writing the French Creole female protagonist Aveline de Grandpre from Assassin's Creed III: Liberation in this GDC 2013 lecture. The video is now free, courtesy of the GDC Vault.

"The more stereotypical characters we create, the more we write ourselves into corners," warns Murray. To avoid this, she offers several tips and tools for more diverse characters.

Session Name: Diverse Game Characters: Write Them Now!

Speaker(s): Jill Murray

Company Name(s):Ubisoft

Track / Format: Advocacy

Overview: Variety is the spice of life. Games are a playful exploration of life. Clearly the two are made for each other. For writers and narrative designers, this means building diversity into the cast of characters with whom we populate game worlds. This requires research, imagination, consideration, and yes, the risk of getting it wrong. But attention paid to diversity strengthens every aspect of writing, and opens us to new narrative possibilities and gameplay paradigms. This session is a diversity bootcamp covering everything from "sensitive topics" to finding the nugget of commonality we share with each character we invent.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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Jeremy Reaban
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Of course, that sort of diverse lead was relegated to the spin off on the Vita which was presumably funded by Sony. It would be nice to see companies take chances with their own money.

Ron Dippold
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Aveline was great - Liberation and Walking Dead are are fantastic proofs of concept. It would sure be nice to see this on a mainline release.

Joe McGinn
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Great talk, couldn't agree more. Cliche is the death of any story, written or video game ... surprise me!

Altug Isigan
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Two quotes about characters with depth:
"I contain at least two persons." (Anais Nin).
"A lot of people seem to have it very easy to be straightforward and sincere about themselves. That is because they contain only one person." (Orhan Pamuk).

Diversity may be achieved by depicting "marginal" characters, but I think it's equally effective to show "ordinary people" in situations that push them to the margins of the one person they believe to be and thereby "helps" them to recognize the multiplicity of persons in them...