Blizzard Entertainmen has a strong presence this year at the 2011 Game Developers Conference Online (GDC). The event is held at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas through October 10-13th. Blizzard’s schedule spans the whole day of Monday, October 10th from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

Among the panelists are exclusively the Creative Team behind World of Warcraft, Diablo III and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. I wish I could be there. That’s lore fan’s paradise.

  • Chris Metzen (SVP, Story & Franchise Development)
  • Flint Dille (Writer/Game Designer)
  • James Waugh (Senior Story Developer – Cinematics)
  • Micky Neilson (Publishing Lead, Creative Dev Team)
  • David Kosak (Lead Quest Designer, World of Warcraft)
  • Cameron Dayton (Publishing Developer, Narrative Art, Creative Dev Team)
  • Kevin Martens (Lead Content Designer, Diablo III)
  • Brian Kindregan (Lead Writer, StarCraft 2)

(104) The War of Worldcraft: Developing Franchise Narrative in the Transmedia Age

How do you build interest in a game’s universe before it’s been released? What pitfalls do you need to avoid when telling your story within the game itself? And once the game is out, how do you work with your fans to enrich the universe and keep its storylines moving forward? Join Blizzard Entertainment’s writers and story developers—the creative minds behind Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft—for a day of panels that will uncover how they achieve these goals the Blizzard way!


9:00-9:30 am: Welcome from Chris Metzen

A Symphony of Story: Publishing’s Role in Video Game Franchise Development

In today’s fast-paced, multimedia, entertainment landscape, audiences crave story-world sustenance outside of the game space more than ever before. But this engaging supplemental content isn’t just for the community – it can also be a huge boon for the franchise’s developers. How? By acting as an intellectual property incubator, creating a deeper, richer IP for game designers to draw future content from.

This presentation will explore the developmental payoff of creating narrative content in ancillary and or/licensed media and boil the rationale for doing so down to a simple three-pronged approach: Enrich the IP, Evangelize the brand, and Engage the fan base!

Speaker: Micky Neilson & James Waugh

A Beautiful Road: A Writer’s Guide to Putting Gameplay First – Part I

Telling stories through gameplay is like building a ship in a bottle: The constraints are what make the end result so spectacular! World of Warcraft’s Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak will give an overview of the dynamic between storytelling and gameplay. The first of two sessions, part one focuses on theory and core principles.

Speaker: Dave Kosak

A Beautiful Road: A Writer’s Guide to Putting Gameplay First – Part II

The second of two sessions, part two looks at practical, day-to-day writing tips for quickly creating characters, showing relationships with very little dialogue, storytelling alternatives to text, and other boots-on-the-ground advice to designers who want to tell stories without disrupting the purity of the gameplay experience.
Speaker: Dave Kosak

When Worlds Collide

A discussion with Chris Metzen and Flint Dille which will highlight the peaks and valleys of creating – and sustaining – a living, breathing franchise universe. The focus will be on the creative process, and how staying responsive to the growing fan community can make or break your franchise.  Expect topics covering community ownership of ideas, the facets of generational fandom, the differences between conceptual cleverness vs. ‘having heart,’ and how transmedia
clarity (rather than transmediocrity) can be your sharpest tool.

Speakers: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille

Boss Level: The War of Worldcraft Roundup

Sit back, relax, and cap off a full day of Worldcrafting by spending time with Blizzard’s storytelling elite. Chris Metzen, Flint Dille, Micky Neilson, Dave Kosak, James Waugh, Brian Kindregan, and Kevin Martens will be on hand to discuss the how’s, why’s, and why-not’s of transmedia narrative. They will share tales of both victory and woe.  Most importantly, though, this is an opportunity for the creative minds at Blizzard to hear from you! Bring your questions, problems, and (hopefully brilliant) suggestions, and join us as we take a final look at the process of creating video game franchise meta-narratives!

Moderator: Cameron Dayton  Panelists: Chris Metzen, Flint Dille, Micky Neilson, Dave Kosak, James Waugh

Eligible Passes:
 All Access PassMain Conference PassSummits & Tutorials Pass