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.