True (Sort Of) Detective: Her Story Launches June 24th

Sam Barlow continues to stake his claim on the coveted title Basically Gaming’s Soderbergh as he meanders between mainstream and indie culture. He’s gone from writing a XYZZY Award winning interactive fiction game called Aisle in the late ’90s to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, AKA that Wii game wot was quite good, and is now a few weeks away from releasing one of the most interesting looking narrative experiments I’ve seen in some time: Her Story [official site].

Her Story is a narrative built out of live-action video interviews between the police and a woman who may or may not be involved in her husband’s disappearance. If you’re familiar with ARG’s, Her Story seems to scratch a similarly sleuthy itchy. You’re given an in-game police database to use for searches through an enormous archive of video footage, said to have been filmed in 1994. Imagine Blair Witch by way of – as Barlow calls it – “the modern phenomena of the YouTube Jury.”

“I’m interested in showing that accessible technologies such as video offer a powerful way for indie games to showcase a performance,” he writes. “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 clichés and prejudices that the videos elicit.

You can watch some of this in action below. The game’s scheduled to launch on June 24th, and we have a review on its way.


  1. Monggerel says:

    RPS keeps insiting that Shattered Memories was good, which is funny because it was terrible. Its handling of mental health and fondness of a wikipedia article’s worth of outdated psychoanalysis were especially cringeworthy, in a “oh, he really wants to be smart, he just isn’t” kinda way.

    I do remember liking Aisle though, so hey. Fuck it. Maybe Her Story will actually end up being the DEFCON of personal computer software.

    • nzmccorm says:

      The psych stuff was a bit hackneyed, and Kaufmann was the worst therapist ever, but it’s still the second best Silent Hill game so vOv.

    • Robert Post's Child says:

      I… don’t think anyone goes into that game expecting it to be an accurate depiction of therapy. And considering how nuts it gets, I’m not sure why you would think that was the point. As a framing device to make things feel more unsettling, I thought it worked fine – even if the payoff was admittedly dumb (at least in the ending I got). And everything besides that played wonderfully – especially the use of the wii thingy, which was much more relevant to the game than the brief asides to therapyland.

      Besides, anything that can get that deeply bizarre, and veer that wildly from anything resembling a coherent plot for a significant length of time, and still actually be compelling, is worth mentioning.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, Shattered Memories is Not Good, with caps. It’s got a few interesting ideas but doesn’t execute on them. It certainly fails to capture anything resembling the original Silent Hill, on which it’s supposedly based, much less that game’s incredible atmosphere and tension.

  2. Doc Revelator says:

    I would usually be all over this, but Ms. Seifert doesn’t seem at all convincing or interesting. It’s clearly very low rent, and not in the low fidelity way I think they’re aiming for. For this to work the central performance needs to be utterly bang on and captivating, and from this advert it certainly doesn’t look that way. We shall see.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Yes, several of the scenes were bland and unconvincing.

    • manny says:

      Someone should hire Rosario Dawson, she was in a web series, and voiced in a video game, so I think she’d be open to being in a fmv video game, and as Daredevil showed, she still has a commanding presence on screen as well as being a great actress.

  3. G-Lord says:

    One of my most anticipated games at the moment, did not expect it so soon. I still have no clue if the concept works as a game, but I can’t wait to find out.

  4. Ava Avane Dawn says:

    I thought Shattered Memories was a bit shoddy on the surface level, but I do think that thematically it is the most deep and authentic Silent Hill game since Silent Hill 2. It takes on themes of idealization, repression and other which are at the core of the best Silent Hill games and deepens our understanding of them and our relationship to these vizaviz its predecessors. There was an article someone wrote about this but I can’t find it now, so I’ll just upload it to my blog and link it here.

    link to