'Her Story' FMV crime fiction game coming from Silent Hill: Shattered Memories designer

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Richard Mitchell
January 21st, 2015
In this article: her-story, ios, ipad, iphone, mac, mobile, pc, sam-barlow
'Her Story' FMV crime fiction game coming from Silent Hill: Shattered Memories designer

The latest game from Silent Hill: Shattered Memories designer and writer Sam Barlow is a little different. It's not survival horror, it doesn't have motion controls and ... it's entirely full-motion video. Entitled Her Story, the game revolves around a police database containing several taped interviews with a female subject, concerning the disappearance of her husband.

Rather than interacting directly with the game, players "type search queries and the database returns clips of the answers where the woman speaks those words." Barlow claims, "If you can Google, you can play Her Story," elaborating that, while the search mechanic is simple, it "quickly reveals its richness and complexity." Non-linear storytelling seems to be the game's hallmark, with Barlow himself calling it "a sculptural way of viewing a story."

We're still not clear on exactly how it will work, whether players will directly affect the narrative or solve the mystery, or just soak in a unique, interactive crime fiction story. Either way, it certainly sounds different.

Her Story is set to arrive early this year on PC, Mac and iOS, and it's currently listed on Steam Greenlight.
[Image: Sam Barlow]

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Silent Hill: Shattered Memories creator Sam Barlow releases trailer for his independent game "Her Story"

Portsmouth, UK -- 20th January 2014. Today, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories writer and designer Sam Barlow releases the teaser trailer for his first independent game, Her Story. A crime fiction game with non-linear storytelling, Her Story revolves around a police database full of live action video footage. The game stars Viva Seifert, actress and one half of the band Joe Gideon and the Shark. It is due to release early in 2015 on PC, Mac and iOS. In addition to the trailer, pre-orders for the game have launched alongside a Steam Greenlight campaign.

Her Story grants players access to a police database of archived video footage that covers seven interviews from 1994 in which a British woman is interviewed by detectives about her missing husband. Players take on the role of the person sat before a police computer terminal, their own computer or device playing the part of the fictional computer. They type search queries and the database returns clips of the answers where the woman speaks those words.

Sam Barlow says, "If you can Google, you can play Her Story. The mechanic of searching for clips in the database is so simple that anyone can pick up and play. But it's a mechanic that quickly reveals its richness and complexity. At times it can feel like you're engaged in a genuine dialogue with this woman and her story. It's a unique way to interact with a narrative, a sculptural way of viewing a story -- and something that can only be done interactively."

Referring to the use of live action video in the game, a novelty in modern videogames, Barlow says "The aesthetic is True Detective via Blair Witch. I'm interested in showing that accessible technologies such as video offer a powerful way for indie games to showcase a performance. I am also putting the spotlight on the modern phenomena of the Youtube Jury, in which police forces distribute the footage of intimate suspect interviews for armchair detectives to dissect. You see it in cases such as those of Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox -- cases where the suspects' stories themselves get lost amongst the torrent of cliches and prejudices that the videos elicit."

Her Story shares many touchstones with Barlow's earlier games. Its non-linear delivery is reminiscent of the fragmented narrative of his cult text game Aisle, which also featured a simple text interface that led to hidden depths. The VHS aesthetic is familiar from the award winning Silent Hill: Shattered Memories -- and the use of the police interview setting in Her Story recalls the psychiatric interviews from that game.

Barlow has high hopes for Her Story. "We're in a Golden Age of videogame creativity right now, with people redefining daily what a videogame looks like and what kind of stories a videogame can tell. It's exciting to be part of that and I can't wait to share Her Story with an audience hungry for new experiences."


For more information about the game including its development blog, please visit www.herstorygame.com. PC and Mac versions of the game can be pre-ordered now from the site. Everyone who pre-orders can have their name added to the game's credits as a thank you for their support.

About Sam Barlow
Sam Barlow is a writer and video game director who lives in the UK. He released the cult text game Aisle in 1999 and since then has spent over a decade working on console games, including two games in the Silent Hill franchise: Silent Hill: Origins (2007) and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (2009). In 2014 Barlow went independent in order to tell the types of interactive stories often neglected by mainstream publishers.

About Viva Seifert
Viva Seifert is an actress and musician. She is one half of the avant-blues band Joe Gideon and the Shark. Their debut album Harum Skarum was described as 'Astonishing' by the NME. Barlow and Seifert first met when he cast her as a resurrected saint in a fantasy videogame. Her role in Her Story is more of a stretch.
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