According to a recent update, it looks like Obsidian Entertainment’s Avowed open-world RPG has at least 10 narrative designers working on it.
A new LinkedIn update reveals that Obsidian developer Zoe Franznick, who worked as a narrative designer on Repentancejoined the Declared team. That would mean the open-world RPG, set in the pillars of eternity defining Eora, has more than 10 narrative designers working there.
In game development, narrative designers play an absolutely vital and sometimes overlooked role. What a narrative designer does is make sure the narrative fits in and detaches from all the other elements of the game, often working across departments to ensure that, for example, a certain gameplay pacing don’t undermine the story. It matches gameplay verbs with narrative beats, meaning understanding the narrative allows them to better immerse players in gameplay. For example, a narrative designer is involved in how to integrate Dragon Shouts Skyrim engages with the world around them, how the character develops throughout the story as they grow in strength, and how a character’s abilities affect gameplay (anchoring a dragon in Skyrimfor example).
With the arrival of Franznick Declared as a narrative designer (and Repentance perhaps a simple but effective way to show narrative design in action), she joins a large team. Other narrative designers on Declared would have their roots in BioWare, the management of Ubisoft, Hogwarts Legacy, Riot Games, and more, perhaps putting together a powerhouse of a team. And with ten narrative designers, it definitely speaks to the scope and goals of Declared. In comparison, Repentance included three narrative designers (including Franznick) alongside its narrative director Josh Sawyer.
As another point of comparison, “Narrative Designer” is a position that only really emerged in 2006. The 2011 version of Skyrim, as a continuing point of reference, does not include a narrative designer in its credits list. However, of course, there are a plethora of people who have done work related to this position. Its credits list about eight people responsible for designing and writing the quests, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Ultimately, of course, it remains to be seen how this element of Declared is finally realized. Microsoft and Obsidian Entertainment have only released one trailer for the game so far. doesn’t seem to be on the horizon yet. In the meantime, Microsoft has quite a few heavy hitters planned for 2023, including the releases of star field and Redfall.
Declared is in development for PC and Xbox Series X.
MORE: What To Expect From Obsidian Entertainment In 2023