New Modality Catalyst:
Whitney Beltrán, Game and Narrative Designer
Whitney Beltrán, a.k.a. “Strix,” is an award-winning writer and narrative designer for analog and video games, scripts and features, and transmedia. She is currently the project narrative director at the video game company Hidden Path Entertainment, and has worked with a variety of narrative and game studios including E-Line Media, Harebrained Schemes, Undead Labs, Onyx Path, Magpie Games, and Crackhorse Films. She is an expert in world-building and narrative design, and holds a Master’s in Mythological Studies. She has published peer-reviewed academic papers on psychology and narrative play; contributed a chapter to a university textbook on role-playing games; and has conducted research through Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute on technology and live-action role-playing. Here’s more about this Catalyst:
What’s your quick bio?
I’m a diversity and inclusion consultant for game companies in areas like hiring practices and employee support, and also narrative inclusion and sensitivity reading for game story. I recently released my own multiple award-winning game, Bluebeard’s Bride. I travel locally and internationally to conventions and academic conferences to present papers, lectures, and most importantly, play. I believe that narrative games — games that tell stories — can be transformative and powerful tools for learning and growth.
What are some of your own favorite past projects? Why do you feel great about them?
My favorite project to date is Bluebeard's Bride. It's a feminine horror storytelling game about the original Bluebeard fairytale, and I love how deeply it impacts the people who play it. I co-created Bluebeard's Bride with two other women, and I'm so proud that our vision came out crystal clear.
Also, have you seen the art? The art is gorgeous. [Editor's note: One of the contributing artists, Kring Demetrio, posted some interior illustrations here.]
What’s a specific project that you’re excited about *right now*?
My day job is directing the narrative of a AAA video game. It is incredibly exciting, but I can't say a word about it. However, I am working on a side project that also brings me much joy. It's a mobile AR hidden object game. It's got a vaporwave vibe, a surreal story, and yeah, also gorgeous art. Look out for it soon. It's called HoloVista.
Where can we follow you and your work?
New Modality Catalysts
The New Modality is about experiments in culture — and the people who do those experiments. NewMo Catalysts are people who do things we admire and want to celebrate. They also help us stay accountable to our values. To learn more about NewMo Catalysts (or nominate someone to be a Catalyst), check out the Catalyst FAQ.
This profile was edited by Katie MacBride. Katie is a writer and co-founder of Anxy magazine. More about Katie at her NewMo profile
The information in our Catalyst profiles usually comes directly from the subjects, and we usually don't fact-check them. You can learn more about The New Modality's fact-checking and epistemological ideas by reading the page about our process for truth and transparency.