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A Cruel Fate: Emergent Tragedies in 'The Shrouded Isle'

Jongwoo Kim  (Co-founder and Gameplay Programmer, Kitfox Games)

Location: Room 2009, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 18

Time: 2:10 pm - 2:40 pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits, Indie Games Summit - Get your pass now!

Topic: Independent Games Summit

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

Most management games have a utopian ethos, telling emergent narratives about community growth and economic prosperity. 'The Shrouded Isle', by contrast, is a dystopian simulation, depicting a dwindling, island community that kills its members to serve a dark god. As conventional management mechanics are thematically inappropriate, the gameplay focuses on systems that intentionally subvert players' expectations and drive them to cause their own downfall. This talk will be part design postmortem of 'The Shrouded Isle' and part analysis, examining three techniques that designers can use to create emergent tragedies.


Designers will learn how to create subversive systems and mechanics, through in-depth examples of iterations made in a dystopian simulation's design.

Intended Audience

This talk is intended for game designers who are curious about designing alternative simulation games that do not conform to a materialistic or growth oriented paradigm.