Polaris Game Design Retreat

A yearly weekend retreat for game design professionals

What is Polaris?

We collaborate courageously with the top minds in the game industry to positively influence and lead the art, science, and business of game design.

Polaris Game Design Retreat is a think-tank style conference inviting the industry's top designers to solve the toughest problems in games.

Polaris offers a retreat experience that's uniquely inspiring and instructive for senior- or lead-level game designers, patterned after the unfortunately-retired Project Horseshoe. Our event, our attendees, and our resulting research leads the world in the art and science of game design through collaboration, courage, and curiosity.

Attendees stay for 3 nights at a comfortable location and work together on solving those tough problems together for 48 hours. Afterwards, written reports on their learnings are shared with the broader industry, to benefit all game designers.

Polaris combines effective, proven workgroup techniques with the beauty of the Québec countryside for a unique career opportunity.

FAQ

What do you do?

You will choose a topic of game design that keenly interests you and a few other attendees. You will work on this problem together, collaboratively, and prepare a presentation to share your findings with the other Polaris attendees.

If your group feels they have discovered something worth sharing with the broader world, you may choose to prepare a Polaris report together, to last the ages. For an example of past similar reports, as inspiration for the kinds of topics and discoveries this "think-tank" approach might reveal, browse the Project Horseshoe report archive.


Who can attend?

Polaris is invite-only. Our selection committee has carefully chosen each and every invitation for their contribution to the field of game design, personal fit in the desired culture of kindness, and overall diversity of perspectives in the group.


What are your event policies?

You can click the following links to read our full policies, including our Code of Conduct, Returns Policy and Covid-19 Policy.


What are you doing about Covid-19?

We take Covid precautions very seriously. All invitees are required to provide a negative Covid test prior to attendance, and additional Rapid Tests will be provided during the event.

For more details please see our full Covid-19 Policy.


How do I pay?

Polaris handles ticket payments via Eventbrite. If you are invited you will receive your private link via email upon confirmation.


Details of Polaris 2022

Join us for our Polaris 1, our inaugural event!

When is it being held?

Thursday, September 15th (Early evening) — Sunday, September 18th (Afternoon).

Where?

Manoir des Sables in Orford, Québec, Canada (about 90 minutes outside Montréal).

How much does it cost?

$1,400 CAD for a private room, inclusive of event, accommodation and food. Discounted tickets are available for shared rooms.

Sponsors

Polaris 2022 is sponsored by Hidden Path Entertainment and Spry Fox. From the entire coordinating team and all attendants, thank you to our sponsors!

  • Hidden Path Entertainment
  • Spry Fox

Keynote Speaker

Our Keynote Speaker for Polaris 2022 is Lauren Scott!

Aside from being an excellent human being, Lauren was the economy designer on Double Fine's Psychonauts 2. She will share her thoughts on a relevant topic on the first night, to inspire us and get us in the mood to discuss game design!

Lauren's talk will explore those oh shit moments in game design, when you've built your system and then discovered that it doesn't work as expected.

Location Details

Polaris 2022 will take place at the Manoir des Sables in beautiful Orford, Québec, Canada.

  • All meals provided
  • Outdoor spa and cold bath
  • Bicycle paths and hiking trails
  • Indoor and outdoor pools
  • Meeting and breakout rooms
  • Indoor and outdoor social spaces

Who runs this?

Polaris is administered by Project Horseshoe alumni (and friends) who want to bring the magic back.

  • Tanya X. Short, Kitfox Games
  • Daniel Cook, Spry Fox
  • Osama Dorias, Blizzard
  • May Ling Tan, Bungie
  • Graeme Lennon, KO_OP