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Must-See GDC Sessions According to Our Team: Here's What Makes Them Stand Out

Looking for inspiration for your GDC 2024 session proposal? Check out these incredible sessions from past Game Developers Conference events, handpicked and recommended by our team members. Uncover what makes these talks stand out, and take your own proposal to new heights.

Submissions are currently open for Core Concepts proposals for GDC 2024, the world's leading conference for the game industry taking place in San Francisco next March. We're already seeing an impressive number of proposals, and we're excited for more.

The call for submissions is happening through Thursday, August 10 at 11:59pm PT. This includes everything intended for the Core Conference Tracks on the Wednesday through Friday of the event, in the following topics (tracks): AdvocacyAudioBusiness & MarketingDesignProduction & Team LeadershipProgramming, and Visual Arts.

If you're still working on your proposal and trying to find out a way to make your session shine, take inspiration at some of our team's personal favorites from recent GDC events. They're all available to watch on GDC Vault, along with thousands more recent and classic GDC sessions. 

Growing an Internet Cult: 'Cult of the Lamb's' Social Strategy (GDC 2023)

Karen He (Summer Intern, Marketing)

"Building one of the biggest cults is surely no easy feat. Jared J. Tan in Growing an Internet Cult: 'Cult of the Lamb's' Social Strategy reveals the power of social media marketing, where the secret to cultivating a devoted following isn't always about being the very best, but sometimes simply being meme-able. This talk was an absolute highlight for me, thanks to Tan's captivating stage presence, comedic timing, and infectious sense of humor. I highly recommend experiencing this talk for a perfect blend of amusement and practical marketing advice for anyone ready to start a cult!"

The Many Dimensions of Kirby (GDC 2023)

Kysa Ludviksen (Conference Producer)

"The Many Dimensions of Kirby was one of my most anticipated sessions of 2023 and it did not disappoint. It was not only nostalgic but inspiring to hear what design decisions the team had to make when coming up with Kirby and how they were able to work around design challenges with their characters."

Queens of the Phone Age: The Narrative Design of 'Reigns: Her Majesty' (GDC 2018; 2023 GDC Showcase)

Sam Warnke (Conference Producer)

"Leigh Alexander's Queens of the Phone Age: The Narrative Design of 'Reigns: Her Majesty' provides a thoughtful look into the development of a female-focused follow-up to a (previously male-focused) game addressing themes like the fragility of power—especially female power—with humor, kindness, and great care. Alexander discusses the nuance that went into her writing process and the intentional narrative beats hit to create a queen as complex as the king in the game's predecessor, while still addressing the fundamental differences that would exist in the choices offered a queen versus the choices offered a king. My personal favorite quote from the talk: 'An equal society asks us to account for and understand differences in experiences, not just simply ignore them and hope they go away.'"

The Sims: Process and Learnings for Developing DEI Content (GDC 2023)

Emily Parrett (Digital Marketing Specialist)

"To make everyone feel included, we need to understand how under-represented groups experience our products. The developers are making an effort to improve representation in the game, which is great. It's important to have a safe space for open discussions and feedback, so people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and products can stay aligned with values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This approach shows good leadership and sets a positive example for others—both within games and beyond. I also value transparency and leaders who can admit mistakes and work to improve. I've loved Sims for as long as I can remember, I hope they continue working with their community to make the product even more inclusive."

10 Key Quest Design Lessons from 'The Witcher 3' and 'Cyberpunk 2077' (GDC 2023)

Holly Green (Community Editorial Coordinator, Game Developer)

“Sasko says the team made the goal of impacting the player emotionally a key pillar in their approach to narrative. 'You need to control what the players are thinking and feeling.' This means not holding back when writing an impactful scene or story. While there is temptation to form the narrative around 'cool' sequences, the 'real bangers,' as he calls them, it is important to stay in the player's memories and make the action secondary to emotion and impact. Cool scenes without them have 'no soul.'"

Be sure to head to GDC Core Concepts for all the information needed to submit a proposal to GDC 2024. This includes examples of standout proposals that can be used as inspiration.

For those wanting a few tips on how to get started first, visit the Board's Submissions FAQ for a list of common questions and helpful advice on how to get things rolling.

You're also encouraged to subscribe to the Call for Submissions mailing list, which will provide updates on deadlines and other key information.

GDC returns to San Francisco in March 2024, and the Core Concepts call for submissions is now open! For more information, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDC2024 hashtag on social media.

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