In Conversation: RPS Discusses Her Story

Now that Her Story [official site] is available, Adam, John and Pip have gathered to discuss the structure and plot of the extraordinary FMV crime game. There are spoilers throughout and as much of the game revolves around the secrets and lies surrounding a criminal case, please don’t read on if you haven’t already played. Our spoiler-free review and interview should help you to decide if you do want to play.

Final warning. Spoilers are incoming.

Adam: I am currently playing a game about the World’s Greatest Detective (Ed – review delayed until Batman Returns). I speak of Batman, a man with a car so large that it crushes other cars simply by existing in the same postcode as them.

Her Story is an entirely different type of game but it does involve detection. Puzzling over clues. Alibis. Crime. That sort of thing. I’ve already written quite a bit about it so let me ask this, first of all. Wot do you think?

Pip: I think it’s the best game I’ve finished so far this year. Possibly the best game that I’ve played this year, too.

John: I think it’s a really good game, and a really clever game – an incredibly clever game – but I just can’t trumpet its glory as loudly as everyone else.

Adam: That leaves us with two options. Pip – we could get our trumpets out and parp so loudly that John can’t be heard. OR we could ask John about his reservations and see if we find an interesting conversation somewhere between the horn section and the Walker solo.

TAKE IT AWAY, JOHN

John: Oh, I figured you were going for the trumpet option. Right, yes. Again, with provisos of my constantly saying out loud, “Gosh this is so clever. How did they ever do something so clever?”, I just didn’t like the acting. I didn’t ever believe in her. Not least because this girl who was supposedly knocked up at 17 and from this crazy background sounded like, and had the mannerisms, of someone who’d just walked out the front door of RADA. And since the entire game is her acting – that had something of an effect.

Adam: I loved the performance, as you know, and I wonder if this is something more than a difference of opinion – I wonder if it shows a difference in the way we looked at the game. I’m absolutely aware of my own prejudices, from a critical standpoint, and I know that I look to (often without meaning to) the intellectual side of things, sometimes to the extent that I neglect the emotional impact.

Now, your criticism isn’t about the emotive nature of the performance but I wonder if there’s something to be said for the fact that I enjoyed the artificiality of the acting, because it’s an actor playing somebody who is in a situation that requires its own theatricality if not outright deception, and because it worked for me on THAT level, I didn’t care so much about the finer detail.

Does that make sense? Anyone?

John: It just strikes me as anything but a finer detail. I mean, I dealt with it – I put my issues with it aside in order to let the game shine through. But even in the chronologically later recordings, she’s still RA RA I GREW UP IN MADNESS RA RA RA.

Adam: I took it as one of two things. That she’s taught herself to play the other role so well – since first swapping in and out of another person’s existence in her early life – that she has become the role. And/or that there’s a deliberate obfuscation, a case of saying the words but disguising the truth of them. I agree that there’s something very jarring about the delivery, in relation to the content, but I thought that was very deliberate. Maybe I’m totally wrong on that!

Pip! What say you?

John: Yeah, enough of my negativising – Pip, why does it stand out so strongly?

Pip: I think it’s theatrical and sometimes that pulls you out of the experience a little, but I just really like how it dripfeeds you a mystery. You can’t predict exactly when you’ll get a little reveal or an “aha” moment but there are enough clips which create those that your playthrough – whatever order you unearth things – will have them happen fairly regularly. It’s really satisfying and for me that pleasure overrode the little oddities in the performance.

John: It is just extraordinary how it delivers the plot. How just knowing a single word at the start would ruin the entire experience, and yet it still somehow opened up to me in the perfect order, the realisations opening up new directions, as I started piecing it together, then learning that no, that too was a bluff, and actually it was about THIS, and then pursuing, and on and on. It scares me to think about how much effort had to go in to getting that right – to ensuring the clips were perfectly severed, perfectly written to be read in two or three different ways, and then particular words didn’t accidentally offer a bit of story you weren’t yet ready for.

Pip: I watch a lot of daytime murder mysteries and police procedurals and read a lot of whodunnits and with those the sense of discovery is because you allow the author to lead you through, in some cases switching off the part of your brain that would do some deducing and in others just knowing information was being purposely withheld in order to get the satisfying payoff of discovery at the end. It happens in detective games too – you do some work for them but often it’s just a case of having an interactive element to those dripfed experiences. In Her Story you actually get to do the discovering.

Adam: I find it interesting that it works so well on that level. Before I played it, I thought it was more likely to be a game about the idea of the mystery rather than a game about the mystery itself. Because I’m a silly chump who finds it easier to follow an Umberto Eco novel than an Agatha Christie, I think I’m attuned to the structure rather than the solution. I’m terrible at figuring things out in a logical way, which is why I had loads of notes by the end of Her Story. I can’t keep track of simple things unless I write them down or put them into some kind of order, physically. My brain leaks facts because it’s so busy looking at theory. Her Story surprised me because it’s good at the fact and the theory.

John: Like Pip says, when watching the ridiculous numbers of crime procedurals that I do, it’s important to be able to switch your brain off to not spoil it. Like, for goodness sake, don’t notice the actor who got slightly too many lines about 11 minutes in in an episode of Castle or Elementary, or it’s spoiled. But here it was all about switching my brain back on, which was such a treat. But then, like Adam, I have to do that by making notes – I have this ludicrous page of about 100 words all scribbled down then ticked off when I’d searched for them, as well as an actual honest-to-goodness mind map drawn out to keep track of it all.

Pip: I only did the word lists not the events. I have a page in my work notebook now that’s absolutely packed full and it’s nonsense – Saturday, wig, fairytale, tea, Peter, ticket…. With the story itself I liked adding the unreliability of my own memory to the mix. I’ve kept the broad points of the story straight in my head but it’s been enjoyable chewing over the specifics just by trying to mentally revisit older clips that I think of in a different light thanks to newer revelations.

Adam: There are all kinds of things I’m certain about – facts that I reckon are backed up by plenty of evidence – but there are plenty of details that I just have a hunch about. And then i remember that I haven’t seen any real evidence. I’ve heard references to evidence, I’ve made connections and heard statements, but I’ve also made a lot of assumptions about the smaller things and perhaps some of the bigger things as well.

It’s not so much ambiguous, in that there are some truths to find, but there’s plenty to chew on afterwards. There are characters that we know next to nothing about and events that happened years ago that it’s impossible not to speculate about even though we might be dealing with both lies and a faulty memory.

John: I so, so wish we could have learned more about life with Florence. Boy, there’s a whole other game in there.

Okay – so here are two other really dumb parts you can argue aren’t dumb. First, it makes keyboard noises when you type – I’M TAKING CARE OF THAT THANKS. Second, the song. There’s A SONG. “Oh, for the next interrogation over the murder of your husband, could you bring your guitar along and play us a few ditties?”

Pip: Y’know what? That song bit made me think of The Sailor’s Dream – a mobile game by Simogo. I’m not saying it made sense that you would hand a suspect a guitar and request a folk tune during an interrogation, but the thing here is that Her Story is wearing the clothes of an episode of The Bill in the early nineties, but it has all these fairytale or fantastical elements to it. I’d slipped into thinking of it as this odd dreamland by that point. Or perhaps it was the song that caused me to tip into that way of thinking.

John: Oh – the nature of the song is brilliant, and the clues it gives are perhaps a touch heavy-handed, but really nice. I especially liked that I only found the first half with the clues by stumbling on the second half, and then searching for the refrain. That was, I think, my favourite moment. But still, A SONG.

Adam: I liked that it was there so much, for all of the reasons you’ve both mentioned, that I worked hard enough to justify it as a real thing that can happen. And, yes, I don’t particularly like doing the work to justify something but I was so glad it was there that I was happy to make the effort.

John: But we’re all agreed that the key noises were ridiculous. (Although, I assume, a vestigial leftover from the tablet version.)

Adam: What about the monitor glare? I didn’t realise I could turn it off and I’m glad I didn’t but it looks so much different when it’s off!

John: I realised I could straight away, and couldn’t bear to – it needed to be on for the whole game to work, I think.

Pip: So I’m assuming we all took slightly different routes through the story and I’d be interested to know your favourite or most memorable AHA moments because I’m thinking they’ll vary due to those different pathways.

If it helps, mine was when I realised that I’d done a bunch of searches around hot drinks because of the cups on the table and that the tea/coffee preferences corresponded to different people. It was a little thing but SO SATISFYING! It also led to a couple of the moments where I felt kind of pulled out by the acting (a spillage that seemed overly fake and a moment of asking for one sugar as she takes a sugarlump out of the cup next to her) in case you were wondering about those from earlier.

John: “FUCK! FUCK FUCK!”

Adam: Mine was a really small thing. Seeing the “Why are you talking about Eve?” clip, where she rests her head on the table and taps her fingers BEFORE I’d seen the clip about the Knock Code. Then accidentally stumbling across the earlier clip again and realising, OH!

John: God yes. And I’d stupidly forgotten to save the clip where she taps, so spent AGES finding it again, reusing old searches. Did you translate it?

Pip: I couldn’t find it again so no, but I had that same moment of OH!

What does she tap?

Adam: It made me sad.

John: She taps, “LOVE U”.

But far more sinister is the second set of tapping. She makes a mistake, but taps, “BYD HANNAH.” Which made me fairly convinced that she’d murdered her.

Adam: Did either of you (or both of you) play Aisle, Barlow’s interactive fiction thing from yonks ago?

John: Nope.

Pip: Nope, but I was thinking about it based on this. Are they similar?

Adam: You should both play it because it’s brilliant but you should also play it to see how he’s used some of the same techniques in a completely different way. Aisle’s whole thing is that you get one command and then the game resets. A man is shopping in a supermarket and wants to buy some gnocchi. Type “buy gnocchi” and he does. You learn nothing and then you’re back in the Aisle again at square one.

There are loads of commands that seem meaningless but you can piece together so much of his backstory, details of his life, in one command by using memories and thoughts that you pick up elsewhere. And you can also just make him dance or talk to the people in the supermarket. It’s a game that leans heavily on language as a means to extract information, like Her Story, and it’s also a story that you discover in a nonlinear fashion, in fragments.

John: I’m trying to remember my AHA moment, and really struggling to. I remember the tattoo was a big part of it for me – that it was a snake and apple, etc. But I forget when it actually clicked.

Adam: Did either of you think it was going to be a story about split personalities that didn’t at all understand how split personalities work? I had the fear for a moment. Made worse by the fact that I found the idea really appealing on some level but was convinced it wouldn’t and couldn’t actually work.

Pip: I didn’t but I think the way that part of the story unfolded for me began with something relatively concrete. I can’t remember exactly what that thing was, but from the point that I realised there were two differently named personalities involved I assigned them to different people – does that way of putting it make sense?

John: It does. I do remember that at one point I had them entirely the wrong way around. On my spider diagram, I’ve crossed out Hannah and Eve and swapped them over. I like that it was ambiguous enough for long enough for me to make that mistake, before it became concrete.

Adam: That’s the central reveal and I guess it’s where most peoples’ shock surprise AHAs will fall, but I didn’t think the story relied on it too heavily. In that there’s plenty of interesting stuff – it’s not a Big Twist Story with nowt else there.

John: Who thinks Eve pushed Florence down the stairs? I do.

Adam: Because I’m apparently the worst kind of police chief, who would be chewing people out for not going by the book, I chomp on my cigar and say “We have no way of knowing that!” And that somehow pushes my feelings about it down into the cellar of (not Simon’s) discontent.

I think she probably did.

Pip: There’s a question mark over the other set of parents too…

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/15/jun/pipnotes.jpg

John: Oh Eve poisoned them FOR SURE. I’m convinced because Hannah said they were found after a few days, but Eve said it was the next day. Now I type that out I’m not sure why I’m convinced, but I think being in the attic, seeing Hannah get everything, and get married, and know their world was falling apart – I’m sure she did it.

Adam: Is this about Original Sin and the assignment thereof in some way? Does John think Eve is responsible for all the evils of the world? As long as I, Adam, get off free of blame, that may be acceptable.

John: Hehe. It’s clear you’re complicit. But gosh, I so loved the themes about fairy tales, the Rapunzel story coming up, the way they created the most disturbingly twisted fairy tale of their own – they were the princesses of the darkest Grimm/Anderson tale.

Pip: Some of it’s overt but then you just get mentions of fairy tale staples – mirrors and apples and mushrooms and terrible things happening to parents and the search for a happily ever after. There’s also that obsessive, tragic love that makes me think of something specific that I can’t place and it’s driving me nuts. It’s a very specific sensation I got from a particular story or movie or something and I’d love to work that out.

John: You mean their love for each other, or for Simon?

Pip: Each other. Definitely. Simon’s kind of a bystander in some ways. Eve and Hannah sort of try to escape one another at points and the relationship is hugely damaging but they’re part of each other in an inescapable way.

John: Is it Heavenly Creatures? It reminded me of that a bit.

Adam: It reminded me of Heavenly Creatures as well – which is, again, a crime story with escapes into fairytale and fantasy. Fictions within fictions – although Heavenly Creatures’ fiction is based on a true story, isn’t it?

John: Hideously, yes.

Pip: There are definitely shades of Heavenly Creatures. The thing I’m thinking of has a tragic ending in that I think one of the two dies and then the other simply can’t live without her. There’s the sense of their being no option not to do what the other one did. A few dramas and stories have done that riff but this was such a particular mood. If I remember I’ll let you know.

Adam: The other thing it reminded me of was A Tale of Two Sisters, which is a wonderfully creepy and sad Korean horror film.

John: I was thinking of that too! The scariest film I’ve ever seen in a cinema.

Adam: YES! I adore it. Ummm…I can’t do a tangent. I have to go away so I can be Batman soon. There are thugs to bop, villans to biff and clues to kick square in the jaw.

Pip: And I need to write Dote Night. Shall we just say CASE CLOSED in big letters and assume that signifies we are done?

John: So we all hated it then, because EURGH, a woman.

Adam: Don’t be silly. We all hated it because EurGH, a folk song. Also, I kinda wanted to end by saying “the jury will adjourn” because when the heck else do i get to use the word “adjourn”.

John: Go on, say that.

Pip: CASE CLOSED

101 Comments

  1. Person of Interest says:

    I got this game because I liked Aisle (thanks for featuring it, Adam) and was surprised and pleased by how similar the two games are to play. It was thrilling to uncover more pieces of the story, for as long as I was happy to concede the game-y-ness of the word searches. I got more satisfaction from my discoveries in Her Story than from the puzzles in most adventure games, but less than from the mystery quests in The Secret World.

    Once I consumed all the transcribed keywords and had devolved to trying random words, I set the game aside to finish at a later date. I’m at about 60% completion, and I suspect that many of the remaining videos can only be uncovered by combining search terms, some of which aren’t lifted directly from the transcript, and so will require some intuition and guesswork.

    Regarding the keyboard clicks: I played on a laptop while wearing headphones and liked hearing the recorded key sounds, but it was jarring when I pressed the backspace key repeatedly and heard a different sample for each press.

    There was one big SPOILER: for me: after I unlocked part of the confession, I got the IM prompt and replied that I was done. The reply asked if I knew why she did it, but the phrasing of the question revealed my relationship to her, which I would never have guessed otherwise. I couldn’t tell if I had jumped over an important sequence of the story.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’m pretty sure that IM is exactly where you’re meant to learn that particular detail.

      • mewse says:

        I was pretty certain before receiving the IM, but not because of hints from the videos; there’s a very subtle clue you can get if you don’t turn off the shader effects.

        As the game goes on, you begin to get brief glimpses of your own reflection in the monitor screen when the fluorescent lights flicker (which they will occasionally do after viewing a video), and later on you get even longer looks as police lights zoom past, illuminating your face for a little longer. Normally it’s pretty hard to see any details in that reflection because the reflection of your face is right over those dark purple UI windows, which seem to blot out everything but its silhouette. But if you move the windows out to the edges of the screen so that your reflection appears over the desktop background, you can get a pretty good look at yourself during those flickers.

        And you do look rather a lot like Eve/Hannah, but much too young to be either of them (particularly since the game takes place 20 years after the interviews were recorded).

  2. disconnect says:

    SIDEBAR SPOILER PADDING SIDEBAR SPOILER PADDING SIDEBAR SPOILER PADDING SIDEBAR SPOILER PADDING

    I like how even the game in the desktop recycle bin was thematically significant — I initially thought “Mirror Game” was just a cute alternative name for reversi but I of course revised that opinion as I progressed through my investigation. And perhaps I’m reading too much into this but the fact that it was solely a 2-player game seemed like a little wink from the developer, too.

    I don’t know if anyone remembers the 16-bit detective game Herewith the Clues but the open-endedness of Her Story brought it to mind. HtC presented you with a dossier of evidence about a fictional crime and it was up to you to draw your own conclusions. Once you thought you’d figured out who the culprit was you had to send your answer to the publisher to see whether or not you were right, which I feel is as distant from an in-game success state as Her Story’s honour system ending (not a criticism btw).

    As for the keyboard sounds, the only time they bothered me was when I held down backspace and it started clicking away like my character was playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon.

  3. Freud says:

    It’s very good and very clever. Much like Memento, the story in itself isn’t brilliant but the way it’s told enhances it because the fragmented and non-chronological narrative does something to us. We constantly have to question the information we get and ask if it’s reliable. We have mentally start to fill gaps with guesses and speculations.

  4. Freud says:

    John: Who thinks Eve pushed Florence down the stairs? I do.

    SPOILER: I don’t think Florence existed because Eve never lived across the street with a midwife. Since she didn’t exist the way she “died” (to give Eve a reason to move in to Hannah’s family’s attic) was something Hannah made up. It’s all part of the twin part of her split personality disorder.

    Hannah/Eve probably did kill her parents by poisoning them and got the house to live in with Simon.

    • JB says:

      MORE SPOILERS INCOMING!

      HEADS UP, SPOILERS AHOY!

      SERIOUSLY, DON’T READ AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED PLAYING!!!!

      I disagree. I think they ARE 2 different people. The bruise? The tattoo? Hannah has a burn on one hand that may have messed up her fingerprints (else why did she bring it up?)? The morning sickness only affecting Eve? Eve being in Glasgow when Simon died? (Though, granted, the tattoo could be fake and the watch could have been fiddled with.)

      I suspect that Eve did push Florence, did poison their parents, and isn’t there mention of the cat dying in somewhat suspicious circumstances when they were younger?

      • Freud says:

        I think the Tattoo is something she puts on when she’s being her Eve personality.

        Look at the videos. When she has he hair down she’s Eve. When she has the hair up, she’s Hannah. In the interview when she has the vomit incident, she has the hair down before it happens and right after it happens she puts her hair up. It’s a switch from Eve to Hannah and you can tell her disposition changes. In the same interview. It’s one person with two personalities.

        My interpretation of the story is this:

        She grew up a troubled child and had a mental illness. At age five she developed two personalities. Eve is the confident one and Hannah is the shy one. At the age of 8? the Eve personality ‘kills’ her adoptive mother and moves in to Hannah’s attic and supposedly lives there for 9 years. In reality she just switches personalities for the next 9 years. Sometimes she’s Hannah. Sometimes she’s Eve. At 17 Hannah falls in love with Simon and sleeps with him (to prevent the Eve personality to get him first because she always does). She gets pregnant and both are forced to get married by the parents. Since the Hannah personality wants to get pregnant too, she starts sleeping around with other men and gets a STD and perhaps that’s what causes the late miscarriage.

        After a while Simon by chance encounters the Eve personality singing in a bar (wearing a wig) and talks to her. By now he has a full realization of the extent of her mental illness and after some turns eventually allows the Eve personality to move in with him and Hannah. Hannah is the shy stay at home personality while Eve is the extrovert signer personality in the blonde wig. They go on living this strange life for a while.

        One day Hannah decides to wear the wig and pretend to be Eve at home. Simon thinks it’s the Eve personality then gives her the same mirror gift he has given to Hannah. Perhaps it’s his way of saying to her that she should look at herself in the mirror and face her illness. The Hannah personality is outraged that Simon gives the Eve personality the same gift he gave her. It was supposed to be a unique gift to Hannah. She breaks the mirror and slashes his throat.

        After the event she creates a fake (mental) alibi where Eve has been in Glasgow when the murder happened and Eve is the personality that goes to the police to report the body missing (hair down in the first interview).

        The whole story is filled with hints of the dual personality. She loves fairytales and being reunited as long lost twin is her fairytale. Both names Eve and Hannah are palindromes. Simon working with mirrors and giving a mirror as a gift to both personalities. When the Eve personality is asked for where the bruise is she touches the wrong cheek (where the bruise would be in a mirror). The mini game in the trash bin called Mirror Game.

        • essentialatom says:

          The mirror/reflection theme is just as appropriate a metaphor if there are two identical twins, particularly given their relationship and attitude towards each other.

        • agentmayhem says:

          I was locked into the two people interpretation, but you are making some pretty solid points. Now I’m 50/50 and going to have to re-watch a few clips…

        • Dabruzzla says:

          a bit late but. Wow your observation with the two personalities on the same date might be THE PROOF for the two personalities theory. I have to revisit the game now. Thanks :)

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            I don’t buy it. Look at the timestamps on the vomit incident – the timestamps don’t make sense. Literally zero seconds have passed and she has recovered and there’s a jug of water and she’s drinking from it. An indeterminate amount of time has passed in between those two videos. If it was that simple the police wouldn’t have asked her about twins afterwards.

        • Kala says:

          I think there’s definitely a lot of metaphors for repression – with attics and cellars and whatnots.

          As others have said, there’s some literal visual examples; the bruise (particularly as they notice the bruise is gone noticeably quickly, and she has to comment she heals quickly or something) the tattoo, different hair styles etc… but as you say, those could’ve been created as part of her performance (bruise done with makeup, temp tattoo etc).

          I think, as well as the idea of them being twins (one being hidden from sight and therefore there being no record of her) or the idea of compartmentalised personalities (Hannah as straight-laced and shy, afraid to get what she wants, Eve as the more laid back and extroverted) there’s also the idea that she is just fucking with them; maybe for attention, maybe because she is genuinely more interested than the fairytales and storytelling than real-life, so she spins them a yarn and brings her own props to reinforce them. (Is she saying it’s all just stories because she’s basically confessed, but knows there’s no evidence, and is backtracking – or is it because they are?)

      • Aninhumer says:

        The fingerprint stuff seemed a little vague to me. Without the detective’s side, I’m not sure it actually tells us much.

        As far as I remember the morning sickness only occurred once, so it’s not much to go on. Although I DID notice that Eve’s “STD” seemed to coincide rather closely to Hannah’s pregnancy. Also at one point Eve describes herself as having been “sick” as a result of the STD, which suggests nausea, rather than anything more typical (or topical!).

        The Glasgow alibi just seems far to contrived to be anything but a set up. And since the story doesn’t really suggest the murder was premeditated, that means the timing must have been faked.

      • Ayslia says:

        I find it difficult to believe that a person could live in an attic for years and not be discovered. And the burn actually seems to support the split personality theorem thing- if ‘they’ had identical fingerprints it could be proven they were the same person, so Hannah could have burned herself to prevent that. I also agree with everything Freud said.

        But what really swings me to the split personality theory is the fact that the backstory is far too much like a fairy tale for my liking. Two twins raised apart at birth? A widow swearing off remarriage but still longing for a child? A conveniently found diary explaining all this? The unusual names Florence and Eve? Even the term midwife seems archaic to me. It just seems really, really unlikely. But- considering Hannah’s obvious obsession with fairy tales, it makes perfect sense that she’d create a backstory for her alter that closely resembles the books she’s read.

        Although one thing that swings me /away/ from the split personality theory is the fact that I’m pretty sure DID is usually the result of some trauma, which I don’t think there was any evidence of?

        (The other major question that’s really bugging me is what was Hannah’s motive for murdering her parents?)

        • JB says:

          ” Even the term midwife seems archaic to me.”

          Really? That’s interesting, because it’s not at all a strange or outdated term for me. Huh. There you go.

        • JB says:

          “But what really swings me to the split personality theory is the fact that the backstory is far too much like a fairy tale for my liking.”

          This is the main reason I do have doubts about it being twins. But it just seems better to me than it being split personalities. Maybe I just like a fairy tale too? =)

        • Freud says:

          “The other major question that’s really bugging me is what was Hannah’s motive for murdering her parents?”

          “I lost the baby. I had a miscarriage. We carried on, living at Simon’s parents until, well it was only a few months after…”

          “Yes. I inherited it from my parents so it made sense to move back. Me and Simon”

        • dripgrind says:

          And the burn actually seems to support the split personality theorem thing- if ‘they’ had identical fingerprints it could be proven they were the same person, so Hannah could have burned herself to prevent that

          Hannah says she burned her “hand”, not that she burned off all her fingerprints on both hands. The police could clearly take her fingerprints.

          The point of mentioning she burned her hand is probably to establish that they do have different figerprints for players who don’t know that identical twins have different fingerprints.

        • VascoDaGame says:

          I am with you (and others) that I belive in the personality disorder theorie. You mention that it usually starts with a trauma. I think that the story she told about their birth was actually true and Hannah did strangle her sister Eve with the umbilical cord. But other than in the story Eve did die from that so she never was born.
          Having a twin sister die beside you in the womb can cause an unconscious trauma. More so if you had influence in what happened.
          And who is to say that her parents did not blame her for killing her sister? Or at least that she found out about it and blamed herself and also thought that her parents most probably blame her. Splitting up an Eve personality would help in stopping the blame (from whichever side).

          Another explanation could be that Florence was the real mother of Eve (who would then be the “real” personality) and in fact did lock her in the attic. There she created Hannah to go on (mind) adventures “across the street”. Later Eve killed Florence to be free as Hannah and to go on adventures as well. But of course they came to foster parents where Hannah was in the lead role putting Eve again “in the attic” where she even “stayed” after Hannah moved to Simon making killing her parents necessary to being free again and to also make Hannah move back home (and give Eve her space since moving in with Simon may have given Hannah the upper hand more so as already with the foster parents).

          However, my main indicators for the split personality:
          – Eve tells how they always had everything in synch (illness, wounds, period, etc.) which is a little much for just twins.
          – She lived in the attic for years without anybody noticing. That is a little far stretched. At least you must assume that parents would know if their daughter would eat twice as much as normal girls her age.
          – They communicate via knock code and diaries. Why not just telling? If they want to keep it a secret that Eve exists, why create evidence?
          – Why is Hannah knocking “Love U” to nobody? Isn’t it more likely that Eve is telling a desperate Hannah that she loves her and everything will be fine?
          – At the end Eve tells the police that Hannah is gone and does not exist anymore. The way she phrases it indicates to me that the Eve personality is the only one left and the Hannah personality is gone for good. Probably because it indeed was the Hannah personality that did kill Simon where in the past Eve was the one doing the killing (cat, parents) and therefor undermining the rules and roles the personalities gave themselves.

    • Tybbiesniffer says:

      Briefly, I thought it was going the split personality route but some of the first clips I found were in regards to the speeding ticket from February. The only significance I can see to mentioning the ticket is that it proves that both Eve and Hannah were in two places at the same time hence they must be two people. Hannah was at work (she mentions her timesheet) while Eve’s picture was taken for the speeding ticket. I think this occurrence that happened months before Simon’s “disappearance” was only mentioned to prove conclusively that they are two people (assuming the tattoo, bruise, fingerprints, etc. aren’t enough).

    • bubbarelli says:

      I lean towards the dissociative personality explanation, based on two elements.

      Firstly, in the clip where Hannah taps the Knock Code on the table, she alternates hands during the communication. It’s certainly not conclusive, but to me it suggests she was acting out both sides of those conversations.

      The other is outside of the main game itself – the mirror game on the desktop. The name itself references a recurring theme in the clips – mirrors and reflection – but what makes it interesting is how it’s played. A two player game within a single player experience, the player controls both sides in a game against themselves. I think this mechanic cleverly hints at Hannah and Eve being the same person.

      • JB says:

        There is no conversation with the knock code. One time it translates to “BYE HANNAH” and the other time it’s “LOVE U”.

        It is odd the way she uses both hands though, granted.

  5. caff says:

    This has just reminded me to buy this game.

    I have ignored all your spoilers by drunkenly sliding my mouse to the bottom of the page.

  6. Aninhumer says:

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
    (Although seriously, what are you doing in this thread if you haven’t played the game yet.)

    Seems like RPS disagrees, but I’m inclined to go with the multiple personality interpretation as well. Mostly it’s based on small things, that aren’t conclusive, but don’t really make sense otherwise: Tapping to herself, talking about the other as if they were there, occasionally getting confused about who did things.

    The most compelling evidence for twins, the Glasgow alibi, just feels far too convenient to be anything but intentional (seriously, you just happened to have records of your being at the other end of the country?), but nothing else about the story suggests premeditation to me, so I can only conclude it was set up after the fact, which is consistent with either interpretation.

    That said, I think it’s all intentionally constructed to be ambiguous, so I don’t know if either can be said to be definitely right.

    I’m interested to know how long it took most people to discover Eve? I feel like I stumbled into that almost instantly, but that might just be intentional.

    The worst far-too-obvious bit for me was the picture association test. Her responses are just far too blatantly descriptions of her key life events, without any real attempt to shroud them in symbolism. Moreover, I feel like someone in that situation would actively avoid story elements too close to real events she is trying to hide.

    • JB says:

      “I’m interested to know how long it took most people to discover Eve? I feel like I stumbled into that almost instantly, but that might just be intentional.”

      Well I’d queried the tattoo early on (I forget how I ended up seeing a clip with the tattoo) and figured out her name from what she’d said by going down that particular rabbit-hole, so early on that it was before I’d seen Hannah introduce herself. So for several minutes I thought it was just Eve being interviewed. Then I saw Hannah talk about her name, which threw me a little!

      • Philopoemen says:

        I typed in “alibi” fairly early on, and got exposed to Eve that way.

      • maninahat says:

        SPOILER SIDE BAR AVOIDANCE
        .
        .
        .
        .
        I heard the name Eve early on but didn’t realize who I was speaking to till I saw Eve fail the lie detector test on the first question. Which also made me realize that if we are dealing with two women across the interviews, they are not only distinct people, but they occasionally pretend to be one another as well (hence the long sleeved tops to cover the tattoo), the changing hairstyles etc.

      • Tagiri says:

        I guessed her name from the tattoo and that clip where she talks about the man at the bar guessing her name, and immediately searched “Eve” and got that “I almost drowned my friend” clip, which really threw me off for a bit, haha.

    • Premium User Badge

      colinmarc says:

      I’m coming down on the multiple-personality side too, even though it bothers me that it’s they kinda got it wrong.

      Aside from the things others have pointed out (the story being like a fairytale, hannah talking to herself):

      – One of the last clips I unlocked (from the last interview) Eve says “you can’t arrest someone who doesn’t exist”.
      – She also says, in that same interview, “my sister is gone now” (and taps out “BYD HANNAH”).
      – Eve describing Simon’s death – according to her she wasn’t there, but she describes it like she was standing in the room, with lots and lots of detail.
      – We’re given lots of evidence that Eve killed Florence/Domino/her parents? It makes more sense to me that Eve is the one who kills Simon, but if they actually are two different people, then it must’ve been Hannah, right?

      I think you can also identify a progression as the interviews go on, with the character becoming more Eve-like – in the first few, she’s the mousey, fearful Hannah. Then in the blue shirt with the logo, she is flirting with the detective. Then in the black shirt, she’s aggressive. In the last one, with the white shirt, she seems like 100% Eve, all smug and dreamy-eyed. I was thinking after playing how weird it was that we got so much Eve and so little Hannah – but that’s because only the first few interviews are Hannah, and we clear those out quickly.

      I could see it being intentionally left unanswered, but I think it’s definitely not certain that they are actually twins.

      • Premium User Badge

        colinmarc says:

        Oh, also – “do you understand why your mother did what she did?” But Eve is the pregnant one in the two-people scenario.

        • Tagiri says:

          SPOILER SPOILER FOR THE SIDEBAR

          “Oh, also – “do you understand why your mother did what she did?” But Eve is the pregnant one in the two-people scenario.”

          What I assumed happened was that when Hannah “miscarried at eight months” she actually gave birth to a live baby but gave her up in secret because she was afraid of what Eve might do to her, since Eve was starting to escalate stuff because she was upset about the changes in their lives (culminating in killing their parents so they could live together in the house, though that happened afterward). Because Sarah was the name that Hannah and Simon had been planning on giving the baby they lost. I think at some point before the final interview, Eve killed Hannah to take her place (why Eve slipped so many distinct Eve-isms into her interviews even though she was supposed to be portraying Hannah) and subsequently gave birth to SB.

          My reasoning is based entirely on an achievement description though lol so take it with a grain of salt. (Because Sarah “crosses the street” once she sees the record of being separated from a [half] sibling, mirroring what happened after Eve found Florence’s diary)

      • JB says:

        It’s ” BYE HANNAH” that she taps out.

        Assuming they are in fact 2 people, and the fact that she (Eve) says towards the end “My sister is gone and she’s never coming back”, or words to that effect, I took it to mean that Hannah committed suicide. That would leave Eve to have the baby and take over Hannah’s life, and Hannah (having killed Simon) isn’t around, so they can’t arrest “Hannah” (Eve) for the murder (fingerprints, Glasgow alibi). Or that’s one possible outcome, at least.

      • dripgrind says:

        Hannah’s bruise is the clearest indication that the ‘twins’ explanation is intended. You could say that Eve’s tattoo is a fake tattoo she puts on when she’s that personality – but why would Hannah put on a fake bruise?

        In the ‘twins’ interpretation, they really fought and Eve bruised Hannah. Hannah explains it to the police as an accident. Later, the interviewer asks Eve about the bruise and she touches the wrong side of her face, and makes up a lie about being a fast healer. Still later, Eve reveals she was the one who hit Hannah when they fought over Simon.

        In the ‘split personality’ interpretation, what happened there? The two personalities ‘fight’ causing the shared body to hit itself in the face? And Eve is telling the truth about being a fast healer (which seemed clearly played as a lie to me)? Or the Hannah personality applied a fake bruise and told the police it was an accident? Why?

        The whole idea of them collaborating to set up an alibi makes sense if they’re twins, but not if they are split personalities.

        Similarly, it’s clear that there are unexplained fingerprints in the house. Hannah says ‘Could they be my parents’ fingerprints?’ Identical twins have different but similar fingerprints (I think the part about Hannah burning her hand on the oven is put in for players who don’t know that), but why would they put in anything about unexplained fingerprints if the ‘split personality’ interpretation is intended?

        Admittedly, the whole ‘twins’ setup and backstory is contrived, but that’s a problem with the ‘secret twin’ mystery plot; I don’t think it’s intended to indicate that they aren’t really twins.

        By doing a hackneyed plot in a new and original way, I think Her Story gets away with it (although I worked it out pretty early on). Going in, I was taking careful note of the time stamps, because I thought the big twist was going to be that the archive had been tampered with to frame her or something (the DB Checker tool indicates a missing file). I think that would have been a better way to go – they could have used the same basic ideas of bruises/tattoos etc., but used it to indicate the chronology is being faked.

      • malkav11 says:

        The question is just “do you understand why your mother did what she did”, which is very nonspecific.

      • malkav11 says:

        Also, there’s no suggestion that Simon’s murder was premeditated. If we assume that Eve is in fact a multiple murderer (which I do think is strongly implied), it actually doesn’t fit her profile at all that she would be the one that did it.

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s also mentioned that the two wrote diaries covering the events of their days in exhaustive detail so that they could keep up the single identity. It’s not a huge stretch to go from there to the details of the murder being relayed to Eve when they began to collude.

      • malkav11 says:

        Spoilers ———————————————————————————————————————————————-

        In the twins scenario, Eve has never been recorded by the system. She legally does not exist. She’s not asking “can you arrest a separate personality of mine?” because of course they can – they just arrest her. Legally she’d still be just the one person. But can they arrest a distinct person who isn’t in the system? Especially when she didn’t kill Simon? That’s who they have in the room, not Hannah. (They probably could, actually, but we aren’t privy to what happens after these interviews.)

    • malkav11 says:

      The very first thing I searched was, I think, “name”, and I found the video where Hannah spells out her name and talks about it being a palindrome. Shortly thereafter I searched about the tattoo and got the video where it talks about it being a snake and an apple. Then a bit later I got a video about meeting “him” (I didn’t even have a name for the man in question at that point because I hadn’t searched “murder”) and “of course I knew him but he didn’t know me, but he guessed my name from the tattoo” and I was like “huh? But your name is Hannah”. And then later I hit videos where she talked about her “friend Eve”, which I immediately connected to the tattoo but assumed it was a split personality thing. And then I hit videos about the parents. And Florence. And it was like “ohhhhhh”.

    • Tagiri says:

      SPOILERS SPOILERS

      “Moreover, I feel like someone in that situation would actively avoid story elements too close to real events she is trying to hide.”

      I laughed so hard at one where the woman has a knife and Eve is like, WELL SHE CERTAINLY DIDN’T KILL HIM THAT’S FOR SURE he’s asleep and she’s cooking. Subtle.

  7. Philopoemen says:

    I’m a cop, a detective even, in my day job – and I find this incredibly frustrating to play.

    And that’s mainly because of the terms used. I sat there for five minutes punching in words I’d expect to work, only to be stymied repeatedly. I never thought I was that indoctrinated with copspeak, but I’d expect a few terms to show up in there.

    And its interesting, because the usual ways I piece together offences don’t work in this case. I honestly think someone who is not used to police work will find this easier to unravel than those who are.

    • Premium User Badge

      Angstsmurf says:

      That is kind of interesting. Just out of curiosity, what search terms did you expect to work?

  8. Philopoemen says:

    the Chit Chat pop up took me by surprise, and killed the multiple personality theory for me (Unless Hannah was actually not infertile.)

    • Freud says:

      That’s the thing with unreliable narrators.

      • Philopoemen says:

        The “Yes/No’ option after spending the game typing in every manner of word was slightly jarring. Not sure if that was intentional or not.

  9. Shake Appeal says:

    I really, really wanted to like Her Story, but my fourth or fifth search basically confirmed what I’d thought from the moment I fired it up, and after that it was just filling in the blanks.

    • Shake Appeal says:

      Also, the multiple personality theory is demonstrably false. It was my working theory by search six or seven, but once you’ve filled in 75%+ of the clues, it’s clear there’s an abundance of actual evidence for there being two people.

      • Freud says:

        There are only three things we know are true:

        1) Simon is dead. He got his throat slashed and was found in the basement of the house where he and Hanna lived.
        2) The protagonist of the game is the daughter of Hannah/Eve researching her mothers history
        3) The person convicted for Simon’s death is Hannah/Eve

        Everything else is not evidence. It’s something Hannah/Eve tells the police. It may or it may not be true.

        • Shake Appeal says:

          To sustain the multiple personality theory, you have to ignore or concoct increasingly elaborate explanations for:

          1. The sudden appearance — and disappearance — of the bruise.
          2. The sudden appearance of a tattoo.
          3. The wig.
          4. The different fingerprints found at the house.
          5. The different (and self-contradicting, and elaborately deceptive) drink preferences.
          6. The deliberate Glasgow/watch alibi (complete with crash and hospital records).
          7. The lie detector failure.
          8. The complete lack of motive (other than simple madness) for Simon’s murder.

          There are ways to explain your way around all of these except No. 8, but it defies Occam’s Razor at every turn and forces layer upon layer of overelaboration onto what is otherwise an elegant solution.

          • Aninhumer says:

            While some of these are more challenging, some of them are so trivial I’m not sure why you mention them:

            5. Her personalities have different drunk preferences.
            7. The personality taking the test believes she’s innocent, so she passes.
            8. The personalities think they’re different people, so they think of Simon as cheating.

            And a little more challenging, but actually not at all compelling if you think about it:

            6. That Eve just happened to have proof she was at the other end of the country at the time of the crime seems far too convenient to be anything but intentional. Since the crime wasn’t premeditated, it can only have been set up after the fact. We have to assume the body was found too late, and the watch is all they had to verify the time of death. This is consistent with either theory.

          • Freud says:

            The tattoo may be a fake tattoo. Remember, this is a woman that is wearing a wig.

            The bruise may or may not be real. It might have faded over night as well.

            How do you know there are different fingerprints in the house? How do you know the fingerprints are matching two twins?

            How do you know she was in Glasgow? Becasue she claims she was? Besides, since we don’t know when Simon was killed, she could have travelled to Glasgow to get an alibi (crashing into a car, going to hospital if those things actually happened) and misreported the time Simon went missing to the police. There isn’t any real time line here besides what she claims.

            She didn’t fail the lie detector test, besides the name. It’s the Eve personality taking the test, so when she says she’s Hannah it’s the only thing she fails. There are four “no” answers and four “yes” answers on tape so supposedly she was asked if she killed Simon and says no and passes. That’s because the Hannah personality killed Simon and it’s the Eve personality answering the question.

            There doesn’t have to be a motive for killing Simon. It might be a crime of passion.

          • Shake Appeal says:

            You guys are proving my point. Of course you can find ways to explain all of these things away, as I said, but the game becomes less emotionally and thematically coherent when you do so.

            The motive in the twins solution is that Hannah became suspicious that Simon was cheating on her, disguised herself as Eve, and then received a duplicate of what she thought had been a unique gift. When she realized what had happened, and who had betrayed her, and what that meant for her “unique” rather than shared identity, she broke the mirror and lashed out in a moment of passion. This is thematically rich and interesting, and folds into just about every other instance of mirroring and doubling in the game.

            The motive for the split personality “theory” is she was always a crazy person and just flipped out one day because she was jealous of herself all of a sudden.

            Also, I think you’re misunderstanding the Glasgow/watch alibi. Eve drove to Glasgow and deliberately was spotted and recorded being there after telling Hannah to break the watch hours after she had left, when she would have been known to be in Glasgow. It’s an alibi that requires two people in coordination, which Eve recognizes and openly challenges the detectives to disprove. Yes, there are ways to explain your way out of this, but it’s an increasing level of over-elaboration for something that is already neatly “solved.” You have to ignore clear signals in the text and invent whole new ones outside of it to get to a coherent split personality theory.

          • Freud says:

            So basically you are saying an explanation where the midwife takes a twin from a birth, raises her as her own across the street from where the other twin is, the twin then kills the midwife at age 8 and moves into the house across the street where it lives in the attic for nine years without the people in the house noticing is a more coherent explanation for what’s going on?

          • Aninhumer says:

            @Shake Appeal
            “The motive in the twins solution is that Hannah became suspicious that Simon was cheating on her”
            And the motive in the MPD solution is exactly the same, because they believe they are different people.

            ” Eve drove to Glasgow and deliberately was spotted and recorded being there after telling Hannah to break the watch hours after she had left”
            Or you know, she could just change the time on the watch before she breaks it?

          • Dopple says:

            “3. The wig.”

            I think you have this one backwards. If it’s actually two completely separate people, one of whom spends most of her time completely hidden from the rest of the world (when she’s not singing at a bar), then why would there be a need for the wig at all? And, later, how would Hannah have had the wig to fool Simon with it, if Eve was out in Glasgow at the time of the murder, presumably wearing her own wig?

          • Lightbringer says:

            @Freud:
            “How do you know there are different fingerprints in the house? How do you know the fingerprints are matching two twins?”
            Day 4 Clip 8 (D408.avi) has her asking about the fingerprints “in all those places?”, implying that the detective stated this a fact.

          • malkav11 says:

            Eve wears the wig so that she is distinct from Hannah. Why would she wear the wig to Glasgow, where the point is to establish that Hannah was there?

        • Aninhumer says:

          Well, there are several other things that are certain, and a lot of things that are verifiable and thus unlikely that she’d say to the police unless they were true. Indeed, if you say we can’t trust anything she says, then I don’t think we even know there was a murder.

          • Freud says:

            Considering the police are handing her evidence and asking questions about it and have her take a lie detector test, I think it’s reasonable to assume Simon is dead and has to be found. It doesn’t seem like something the police would do just for a missing person.

            Also, since she is answering questions as if she was asked about the body and the murder, the police in the room would probably react with suspisions if he/she got those answers to completely different questions.

            I think we have enough evidence that Simon is dead and was found in the basement.

          • Aninhumer says:

            “Considering the police are handing her evidence and asking questions about it … I think it’s reasonable to assume ”
            Well yes, that’s my point. You can apply the same logic to lots of other things. For example, we know someone was in Glasgow, because she says they can check with the hospital.

          • COCO says:

            Simon is definitively dead.

            I personally don’t know if Hannah is having some sort of personnality disorder or if Eve is her sister, but I find some little things odd ; no one here mentionned the fact that while being interrogated (the interrogation where she wear a black long sleeves shirt), she laugh at the inspectors that asked her about a twin, denying the mere fact that she has a sister.

            And there is also the rehearsed part, where she describe how she got home : the answer given by both Eve and Hannah are the same, word for word ; when faced with that fact (also black sleeves shirt interview), she laugh and says “Is that your evidence?”

          • Grovester says:

            Go back to the game and type in “Murder” (the first word you are given). It’s clear from that, on the 27/6, that Simon’s body has been discovered and it’s clearly murder.

            And then the last video in the sequence, from 3/7, is Eve saying “these are all stories”.

            In some ways, it’s pretty simple (whether Hannah and Eve are two people or one); she murders Simon, sets his watch to a different time, breaks it, hides the body in the cellar, then goes up to Glasgow to get her alibi.

            When she gets back, eventually she reports the body in the cellar to the police, and enough time has passed to make the time of death difficult to calculate (it would have been 10 days by that time). Therefore the alibi pretty much sticks, and she can defend herself in court by posing as being mentally damaged and just telling stories, under distressing circumstances.

            Did the fact that the viewer is named Sarah, even though her miscarried baby was called Sarah, strike a particularly poignant note? People I know who have miscarried have absolutely not wanted to name their next child after the name they had chosen for the miscarried baby.

          • JB says:

            Good point about the baby name, Grovester. However, if it was in fact 2 different people, then Hannah’s miscarried baby was Sarah originally. Then Eve named her baby Sarah.

          • malkav11 says:

            They actually aren’t word for word the same story, which was one of my favorite discoveries. They’re very close, but when Eve delivers it it’s more patently rehearsed and recited, and she changes a couple of minor things. The big difference that I noticed is that Hannah calls Simon’s parents by name, and Eve (who presumably has spent much less time around them and certainly never lived with them) just says “Simon’s parents”.

      • Chemystry says:

        the split personality thing is the most logical conclusion. in all those years not ONE person sees Eve. not ONE. how could a child live all the way into her 20s (considering she didnt move out until some time after the miscarriage which happened at age 18/19) and NO ONE see her.

        Also regarding the tattoo. we see the tattoo on the 1st July interview. the only other time u see that woman wearing short sleeves is onthe 25th and 30th June, before the tattoo, and there is none. i think that on the night of the 25th, she got a temporary tattoo. And after watching all the clips in chronological order you can see why. the police were onto her. they knew for a fact that Hannah had killed her husband. so in the end her EVE personality takes over. thats why she failed the lie detector test about her name. because she believes she is Eve. also the knocking she does in that interview sells out BYE HANNAH (well it has a spelling error, but we can assume its that). then she says ‘how can you arrest someone who doesnt exist?’ Eve knows full and well that her and hannah were sharing the same body…by the end anyways. and she ‘banishes’ or locks away the conciousness of hannah and becomes 100% eve in order to save herself from prision.
        We heard about it earlier. when they ran away and was brought back. hannah said she blamed it all on eve and got away with it. Now eve is doing the same thing. blaming the murder on hannah hoping to get away with it. for whatever good that does for her because even if they dont charge her with murder they’ll definately have her for accessory to murder for hiding the body lol.

        uhm…OH one more thing i noticed. when we see the woman with the tattoo, we assume it is eve because the tatt is of a snake and apple right? but when she starts getting angry at the end of the interview she says ‘i doubt someone killed MY HUSBAND because he was cheating on expenses’ now think. EVE isnt married to simon. HANNAH is. so that person with the tattoo? its hannah! Then in the interview dated the day before the tatt, that woman talks about her miscarriage. so that has to be Hannah as well because eve never had a miscarriage. that proves that sometime between the 30th june interview and 1st july interview, Eve (or her conciousness) but a temp tattoo on their arm.

        other things to show theyre the same person.
        1. they had the same handwriting
        2. same illnesses at the same time
        3. when hannah got pregnant, eve found that SHE couldnt get pregnant. it was because the body they shared was already pregnant. and hannah lost the baby because as eve she was sleeping around and got a STI, which caused her miscarriage.
        4. eve says that she was bad at driving and ‘hannah got the license for them’. key word being ‘them’ it hints at the fact that she has ONE drivers licence. and it wouldve had Hannah’s name on it since u have to show all your ID when you get youre license. Eve also said when she had her accident the taxi driver was mad at her because she couldnt find her licence. this is because she was looking, but only found hannah’s licence, not one that said Eve, because it didnt exist!

        • lupinewolf says:

          I’m seeing a lot of theories that are disproven if you see the whole thing. Search for the complete interviews in chronological order on youtube and many things will be much clearer.

  10. Monggerel says:

    SPOILERS.

    Guessed the gist of the plot from the title, the front image with the distortion, and the author. Fucking fantastic. Just… The gimmicky presentation is such a Sam Barlow thing to do. As is the psychological (can you hear the scare quotes?) aspect.

    Sam Barlow is the Prometheus of video games. When you find out your friends like Shattered Memories, you can’t trust them anymore. Are they all replicants? Or Snatchers? I CAN’T TRUST ANYONE
    So as metacommentary on paranoia the man is a genius.

  11. essentialatom says:

    Here’s what happened.

    I just spent the last couple of hours playing Her Story and being fascinated and engrossed in the experience.

    When I finished, I had a look at a couple of reviews and noticed that the actress is named Viva Seifert.

    That led me on an entirely separate but very similar search online because I was sure that on an episode of Would I Lie To You, one of the guest people was called Viva and looked like her.

    That got me to here: link to youtube.com (the episode in question)

    In the episode she turns out to be a gymnast. That agrees with this Wikipedia entry: link to en.wikipedia.org – which also agrees with the Her Story website, which mentions her membership of Joe Gideon & the Shark.

    Okay so I’m not Sherlock Holmes. But as far as I’m concerned I exited Her Story twenty minutes ago and it still hasn’t ended.

    OR HAS IT

    • Phil says:

      They comment on how young Viva looks relative to Gaby in that clip – she must have a painting in the loft somewhere, because whilst playing the game I had the impression that she was a decade or so younger than her actual age.

  12. ChrisGWaine says:

    Her Story SPOILERS

    If there’s just one person, I thought that rather than a split personality, it was more a case of her living a double life, being Eve with her blonde wig on, who sings in bars, as a means of escape, and being a fantasist who is invested in the “fairy tale” she has created for Eve. Supposedly it was Hannah pretending to be Eve when she killed Simon, but potentially that was always what Eve was. Seeing her husband having an affair, even though it was with her alter ego, would be torment with lies and betrayals building up, experienced first hand, and that seems sufficient to eventually make her snap and assault Simon. But I think she’d be probably also be desperate not to have anyone expose Eve as her fiction. So maybe Simon even died because he rumbled her? Faced with the police, what she wants is to make the fiction of Eve seem real to them.

    But I couldn’t find anything really solid.

  13. antrodax says:

    My take on the plot:

    Hannah was a shy person, and developed a second personality to deal, firstly, with his coming of age and, finally, with his incapacity to establish relationships with boys.

    Eve grew up wild and overreached, promiscuous and irresponsible. So excessive that the only aspect of her relationships affected was mere quantityl So Hannah and Eve were not only different but even extreme when compared.

    Then Eve got pregnant, but his other side didn’t stop. As Eve, she suffered an STD which provoked a miscarriage, and then Eve decided to get rid of Eve. Murdered her parents to move away from Simon’s parents house and “locked Eve in the attic”.

    Eve returned to her original state of insecurity, and his marriagewent down. They argued about everything and their sex life was the reflection of the problems within the couple. So Hannah tried to insulate new life to their lives recovering Eve, which for Simon was only a character played by his wife when she put a blonde wig on.

    The problem was that Simon preferred Eve. Slowly, Hannah was being set aside, and the final insult was that Eve got pregnant. Hannah decided to fully share Simon with his other personality, so “she asked Simon thet Eve moved with them”.

    Simon didn’t understand. He was tired of Hannah. He wanted only one person, Eve. Hannah tried to make him understand in his birthday party. She waited for a signal that Simon intended to be both “sisters” ‘ husband, but they had only one present. One mirror. In rage, Hannah killed him by accident.

    The final interview is Hannah’s crackdown. She needed Hannah to cope with adolescence and the boys. She needed Eve to save his marriage. She needed Hannah to get pregnant again. Hannah by himself only was able to have one success in her life: to marry Simon. And she killed him.

    So now, is time to exile Hannah. There will be only Eve.

    • Lightbringer says:

      Yeah, that last bit “she’s gone now” made my wonder. I was leaning towards the “two sisters theory” due to the fingerprints being not on record, but then who’s “Sarah”, i.e. if we assume that Hannah wasn’t pregnant and Sarah is Eve’s daughter, what did “her mother do” that Sarah would need to understand?

      • antrodax says:

        I discarded the twins approach when Eve was unable to mantain her façade and stoos up to throw up and was instantly replaced by Hannah.

        Eve was wild, but in a hungry way. She devoured life, boys, whatever she found but was largely inoffensive, if you can forgive her lack of conscience. Hannah was the killer, the real troubled personality, and came up to keep the script going. Hannah killed Simon and use Eve as a barricade against the police.

        I’m happy that Eve won the struggle between them, but maybe Sarah paid the prize. What his mother has to do was to reveal Eve to be able to kill Hannah, and possibly Sarah was thrown into the legal system once born. Something like that.

      • malkav11 says:

        Have an affair with her sister’s husband? Cover up the murder? Take the fall for it? There are plenty of options. Eve isn’t exactly spotless here.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        In the twins theory, Eve would have been arrested and sent to prison because the police did not believe her story. They would not have bothered looking for Hannah, who would have gone into hiding. Sarah would have been born while Eve was either awaiting trial or in prison. Eve has likely died while serving her sentence, leaving Sarah to look for clues in an old police archive.

        “Do you understand why your mother did what she did?”

        Whoever he is speaking to still thinks Hannah is Sarah’s mother. Sarah has discovered his mother is innocent and a woman named Eve.

  14. drygear says:

    I don’t think it’s actually possible to view all the videos in game. You can find the files in the game’s directory and there are some where she just says “yes.” or “no.”

    • JB says:

      You can find the yes and no clips by searching for “YES” and “NO”.

      You can certainly view 271 videos ingame. The DB Checker says there are 272 video clips on file, one of which is missing. There are also 272 videos in the game’s folder. 271 of them are .avi format, the “extra” one appears to be a duplicate of one of the videos, but in .mov format with no sound.

      Just to bulk the numbers out, or is there something hidden? I guess we’ll find out eventually.

  15. dripgrind says:

    SPOILERS

    Amazed that so many people think it’s supposed to be multiple personality and not twins.

    If you search “february” and “ticket”, it’s clear the police find a speed camera picture of Eve in February when Hannah is supposed to be at work. She explains it by saying something like “I must have had to rush out to get something, that’s why I was speeding and why it didn’t show up on my time sheet.”
    Again, this doesn’t make sense as a clue if they’re split personalities.

    • ChrisGWaine says:

      SPOILERS

      I think that ticket was in connection with Simon going to Oxford to stay with Eve in a hotel. Eve speeding in Hannah’s car to get there would fit the double life idea.

  16. ben_reck says:

    yeah, I mean, one has burned finger tips and the other doesn’t but SPLIT PERSONALITY (and a nod to The Three Faces of Eve). I don’t think split personalities are actually a thing anymore.

    The question for me is…in one of the later interviews, Eve impersonates Hannah (you can see the tattoo peeking beyond the sleeve and the bruise is in the wrong spot). Has the homicidal Eve murdered Hannah (likely) or bought her time to escape (sketchy)?

  17. TheBloke says:

    If you want to watch all the clips in chronological order, it’s easy:

    1. Go the folder in which you installed the game
    2. Go to the subfolder HerStory_Data and then StreamingAssets
    3. Watch all the AVI files in alphabetic order – queue them up in your preferred media player if possible. First is D101.avi and the last is D771.avi. There are 271 of them.

    I did this after I’d got as far as getting the end credits, and had searched a little more after that. By then I was getting a bit bored of guessing keywords and just wanted to watch the whole thing. I think they should have provided a facility in-game, unlocked by getting the credits.

    I don’t know exactly how many clips I hadn’t seen, but I suppose it was at least 25%. Not that the extra ones filled all that much in for me by that point.

    • TheBloke says:

      My thoughts on what’s happening, re “two sisters” or “one woman”:

      I am not sure, but I think the game might intend for there to be two of them. Hence the burn, the extra fingerprints, the disappearing bruise (with the woman without the bruise touching her face on the wrong side when asked about it), the speeding ticket photo.

      It’s possible those are red herrings, so I’m not yet completely convinced that is the intention of the authors.

      But whether it is or not, if we analyse the story as if it were real – forgetting it’s a work of fiction, just “based on all we see, which is more likely?” – I think we have to conclude it has to be one woman thinking she is two people, inventing Eve and her elaborate backstory. With the name she chooses, Eve – another palindrome – being a good first clue to that.

      But far more than that, the events described for their early life are utterly implausible. That a woman unexpectedly gave birth to twins, and then when told by a midwife – not a doctor – that one had died, she just accepted that and went home. She didn’t want to see the body? She didn’t want a funeral? There wasn’t a single doctor, nurse or other midwife who knew that two had been delivered and then came to follow up with her about the second? I know this was the late 60s so the hospital wouldn’t have been computerised or as methodical as now. But still for me it beggars belief that a second, live baby could just disappear without anyone ever questioning it. A doctor delivered two babies. There are two birth certificates, and no death certificates. It would amaze me if it wasn’t discovered within hours, let alone never discovered at all. And all it would take is one routine follow up – one letter asking the mother to bring Hannah and Eve for her checkup; one GP saying “why haven’t we seen your second daughter yet?” to unravel the whole thing. And apparently that never once happened.

      Then there’s the home life from age eight until at least 17 – nearly ten years.

      She lived in an attic for all that time with the occupants besides Hannah completely unaware. Ten years! She/they try to explain this away – the parents were busy, not very observant. Exactly how unobservant did they have to be? Were they blind? How about deaf? No, Eve said that she was heard in the attic, and assumed to be Hannah talking to herself. What about footsteps? Bangs and crashes of a young girl? It’s fine when Hannah was there, but she wasn’t there when she was at school – at least 30 hours a week for nine years. That’s a lot of hours for Eve to lie completely still.

      And was there a shower and toilet facilities in that attic? No: she describes one time when she had to sneak downstairs for a piss, and was seen by her mother, and they then swapped places in Hannah’s bedroom. So apparently, over the 10 or so years during which she lived, as a growing child, in the attic, not once was she ever spotted while Hannah was out, or in a known place. She must have gone downstairs at least two or three times a day, minimum, for the toilet, and she was spotted – but never ever except when it was possible to pretend she was Hannah.

      Meanwhile, these parents never once, in 10+ years, went in their own attic. They sure had a vast amount of respect for their 8+ year old daughter’s privacy :) They didn’t need to store anything there. There were never any problems with the roof that required investigation. They didn’t ever want to go up to see their daughter play. Or insist over her objections.

      They tried to explain the food – Hannah, for 10 years straight, sneaked food upstairs without anyone noticing. What about.. clothes? Toiletries? Medicines? And not just any clothes, identical sets of whatever Hannah had. Every time Hannah’s parents bought her an outfit, she demanded a second identical one? And they never once wondered why the second of each outfit wasn’t in her room?

      Eve never once had a nightmare and woke up in the middle of the night shouting out. She never fell over or made any other kind of large night late at night, or while Hannah was in a known place downstairs. The parents thought they had mice from all the tapping, and they looked for them – everywhere except the attic, of course.

      And this masterful deception, all this planning, all this logistics, was pulled off by two eight year olds. Then two nine year olds. And so on. They seem smart, but I can’t believe even the brightest two kids could execute this plan as flawlessly as it would need to be to go on for ten years without discovery or even the slightest suspicion.

      So, yeah :) I think it’s possible the authors want us to go for the sisters theory. But whether or not they do, I find it completely implausible – to the point of being ridiculous in my view.

      • DrollRemark says:

        Funnily enough, I just said much the same thing in the Sunday Papers comments. Both possibilities are so implausible and/or silly that it ruins the story, for me.

      • malkav11 says:

        To be clear, I’m not arguing that it’s a super plausible scenario. The logistics would be difficult, the planning, dedication and coordination demanded of young children unlikely, and the parents would have to be pretty remote and unattached to their child. But I’m not convinced it’s as impossible as you’re making it seem, nor that every concern you raise is valid. For example, the birth was a home birth with midwife attending – there might have been a doctor involved, but there would not have been one present at the birth, and the midwife is the professional. So the midwife would, I believe, have done the records or they would have been done offsite, either one giving a chance to take Eve away in the meantime. Quite likely she never even filed a birth record for Eve. It’s a little weird that she would have lived directly across the street, but I suppose that could easily be why they went with Florence – they knew her from the neighborhood.

        It wasn’t that Eve was living in the attic the entire time, remember. She and Hannah traded places quite regularly. They also are said to have had rules about what they could and couldn’t do in order to keep up the fiction. So, while it still requires a certain suspension of disbelief to imagine that the girls would be so precocious or the parents so oblivious, meals wouldn’t involve sneaking food up to the attic, they’d involve trading off. Duplicate outfits wouldn’t be required, just a lot of switching clothes around. It’s claimed they did this repeatedly during a movie at a theater when first dating Simon, after all. And they most likely arranged things so that Hannah was almost never demonstrably somewhere else whenever the girl that wasn’t Hannah that day needed to move around. Also, when Hannah was at school the adults were almost certainly at work, so the girl that stayed behind wouldn’t need to be quiet for long. Probably just a gap between departure for school and departure for work, if any.

        So…yeah. Unlikely, for sure. But you’re raising difficulties that have explanations within the realm of possibility.

        • choog says:

          I’m now agreeing with malkav11.

          I was thinking it was twins because of the tattoo primarily and realized that there was never a non-tattoo arm exposed after the tattoo appeared.

        • Kala says:

          “So, while it still requires a certain suspension of disbelief to imagine that the girls would be so precocious or the parents so oblivious, meals wouldn’t involve sneaking food up to the attic, they’d involve trading off.”

          Mm. But then, I can imagine young girls investing most of their time in stories and imaginary worlds probably *are* going to be quite precocious and the parents being, maybe not oblivious, but distant, fits in fairly well with that.

          I think meals were sneaked (at least in the story she gives) I remember a clip where Eve was commenting that the parents didn’t mind a lot of food was consumed, because she never put on weight, it was just a healthy appetite for a growing girl.

          She also comments in one clip about nearly getting caught – she gets caught going to the loo downstairs in her underoos by the mother, who flips and tells her to get dressed, then she dashes back in the bedroom and Hannah comes out fully dressed almost instantaneously (as she was getting dressed already). She says the mother was amazed.

  18. ben_reck says:

    Mmm, try approaching the game as something akin to a fairy tale and see if that helps with the story.

    By the way, the “hider in the house” is a literary device. Just try Jack Vance’s Bad Ronald, which is all kinds of fun to read and presages his Demon Princes.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Haywardan says:

    I was fairly fixed on the twins idea, until I remembered the bit about them running away to London. She says that her parents were there to meet her at the station, and that she didn’t get in trouble because she blamed her friend Eve.

    If there really are two of them, how did only one of them meet the parents at the station? Surely they wouldn’t just be put on a train to Portsmouth and left to their own devices after trying to run away? And why would Hannah be able to avoid any consequences by blaming a “friend”, who either her parents thought was a real friend, and did nothing about, or assumed to be an imaginary friend, and do nothing about that either? That last bit causes trouble for both theories, actually, but has me leaning towards thinking that the parents knew she wasn’t quite right.

  20. FinnMacCool says:

    I’m not sure whether to call this a game, and while playing it I wasn’t sure what verb to use either – whether I should have told people I was playing it, or reading it, or viewing it, or what.

    Reading through this thread, I don’t agree with Adam, John and Pip, and I do pretty much agree with Freud – for what it’s worth, it’s a story involving a single human being who has two named personalities. Also Viva Seifert’s acting is terrific, and is a major part of why the game works so well.

    Of course the narrative itself is a bit of hokum, but that’s part of the fun. If you want to know “what really happened”, it’s obvious from the word go that what really happened is that Sam Barlow came up with the idea and wrote it, and Viva Seifert acted it out. Beyond that, it’s a matter of choosing which implausible fiction did they intend you to believe when they were making it.

    From reading this review and the thread that follows it, it’s clear that a lot of the readers/players of the story/game have arrived at completely different conclusions about Hannah’s story, and yet we have all enjoyed the process of reaching those different destinations. That’s very interesting! “Her Story” has genuinely succeeded in doing something that has often been tried before – namely getting away from the linearity of traditional narrative. It really does allow its “readers” to choose their own order of events, their approach to the story, and even the solution that best pleases them. The medium of a video game allows for a much greater liberation of this kind than can be achieved by experimental artists working in more traditional media – think of BS Johnson, for example, or Julio Cortazar in “Rayuela”.

    Great fun, and it opens up more possiblities for storytelling in the future. What more can we ask for?

    • JB says:

      Agreed. Originally I was pretty sure it was twins, but I do have my doubts. But the amount of enjoyment I’ve had reading all the discussions here has been almost as much as I had playing the game! (or Xing the Y, however you want to phrase it).

    • Emeraude says:

      I think the term I’d use is interactive fiction. The term is getting gray around the temples, well established. Nothing shameful about it.

      • Kala says:

        Yep. Interactive fiction works.

        But…if I had to choose a term to define video games in general for someone who didn’t know what they were, “like a book or a film, but where you actively do stuff” or “interactive fiction” would probably be a umbrella heading to describe them.

  21. Grovester says:

    Thinking about it some more, I’m pretty certain it’s a split personality situation.

    HanEve could easily have done the murder, travelled up to Glasgow to get the alibi, come back, reported Simon missing, “found” the body a week later (in a state of decomposition that meant time of death was difficult to ascertain), used make-up to do the bruise, used a fake tattoo etc.

    I don’t think there is anything I’ve heard that makes the twin theory viable – no independent sightings of both of them, for example. Everything you hear about “twins” is from HanEve herself.

  22. caff says:

    I came here expecting answers but got none dammit! In a way, it makes me like the game a bit more, as it’s open to interpretation rather than the usual “Oh THAT’S the answer.” then uninstalling and getting on with life.

    I’m convinced there’s a hidden message within the clips that is much harder to obtain, such as playing the various videos in a very specific order (rather than just the regular timeline) or reverse or something. Something everyone is missing and perhaps only the creator knows about.

    Personally, I’m pissed off because I spent ages trying to translate the knocking messages using a morse code interpreter but kept getting stuff like UV4K44?U.

  23. Devilfish says:

    *MASSIVE SPOILERS*

    I don’t know, I never got the whole drip-fed mystery aspect from my experience. Don’t get me wrong, this is still the best game I’ve played this year and yes oh my god buy it and play it, but my experience was pretty straightforward. I’m not saying that I’m such an impossible Holmesian clever-clogs that I figured it out straight away, but I must have had some bad luck. The very first trails of clues I followed led straight to Eve, and the whole it’s-a-twin-oh-no-it’s-a-split-personality thing is such a common trope in murder mysteries that it was the first place my mind went to. So in the first ten minutes of the game, I’d decided that that was probably the nexus of the story, and nothing I saw ever contradicted that. So it was a pretty linear story for me, very satisfying but with very little of the AHA moments everyone else seems to have gotten.

    Again, amazing game, loved every second of it, but it is in fact entirely possible to get the big reveal handed to you in the first fifteen minutes or so. And there’s still some discoveries and background along the way if you do stumble upon it like I did, but they’re more down to character and story than they are to mystery and being all clever detective and puzzling it together.

    Probably just my bad luck. But still.

  24. D_M says:

    SPOILERS

    Did anyone notice that during the lie detector test, if you don’t read the subtitles and concentrate on the sound, “Eve” says “My name is Hannah SmiK” (and not Smith) ? Or am i deaf ? Maybe that’s why the detector detects she is lying, not because she says “Hannah” but because she says (willingly) “Smik”…

    Maybe there is a third theory (other than the “real twin sisters” ir “split personality”) , that she hasn’t got a split personality but she is making up the “twin sisters” theory in order to cover up the murder and create a false alibi ?

    • D_M says:

      Maybe that’s what’s behind the “Mirror Game” : a two-sides game which you play alone…

      Maybe she is purposely making some mistakes, such as the wrong chick, the Hannah SmiK or the parts learned by heart (story when Hannah comes home), to confuse the detectives and make them believe that they are two sisters…

      Or maybe they truly are twins. I’m confused.

  25. SteveJo says:

    The police know there is no twin.
    They’re trying to determine Hannah’s (Eve’s) sanity.
    Does she really believe she has a twin or is this an attempt to get away with murder by feigning insanity?
    (Lack of motive to kill Simon points toward MPD.)
    If there was a twin, they’d be interviewed together at some point.

  26. Kala says:

    Re: a guitar in an interview room; I wondered about the guitar – I wondered about a lot of things, as you only get the answers, and never the questions :)

    I thought that perhaps it being her guitar, rather than Simon’s, was in some way relevant. Maybe it was found in a certain place. So she was being told to play it to prove it was actually hers, rather than his. (not that it would prove that).

    Or I wondered if that (along with other clips I’d seen by that point) was just pointing to her being batshit, that she just rocked up to the police station with a guitar rather than asking her to bring it, or presented it as evidence, and they let her because they wanted to see what she would do, or what she’d (deliberately) reveal in the song she chose to play.

  27. Babymech says:

    Goddamnit, it’s a game about a woman talking to the police, not two women who lived a wacky sitcom life as children and managed to hide in an attic for years without being exposed. The entire thing is trope-y and lurid if she’s crazy, but dumb and pointless if there are two, or three, or four women. It frustrates the hell out of me when people like the same thing I do, for the same reasons, but, afaik, misunderstand it completely. Argh.