A new trailer for Sam Barlow's Immortality reveals more of the Her Story and Telling Lies creator's latest FMV game about watching videos of a pretty woman. This time, she's a movie star and we're trying to figure out why she vanished and why her movies were never released. Barlow has explained we'll be playing with a big ol' movie-editing machine and exploring through match cuts, which looks interesting.
Immortality is about Marissa Marcel, a movie star who only made three movies—in 1968, 1970, 1999—which never saw the light of day. She upped and vanished too. We'll be picking through footage from those movies and behind the scenes to figure out what they were, and what happened.
Sam Barlow talked about how the game actually works during yesterday's ID@Xbox Twitch stream. He explained that it draws from his "love of movies and 20th century classic filmmaking," and this "is also a very deep dive into how movies are made, who makes them, how do movies work. We really want players to think about how movies work, think about what it is to watch a movie, and give them the tools to do that."
Deirdre and Ken's boy compared his last game to open-world games, where you can go in any direction from the start, but compared this one to a metroidvania. He explained that "you start with a very limited amount of footage that's available to you" and from there poke about and find connections to more footage.
"The beautiful mechanic that we have this time is as you're watching a piece of footage—and everything you're watching is done through this interface which recalls a classic Moviola machine, right, when movies were made on film, when you're editing them, you have these big, loud, heavy machines, and you're rewinding, moving through the footage, splicing it together, and we tried to recreate that using modern technology," he said. "And when you're watching a scene, if you see something that interests you—and this is kind of magical and I love it—you just pause the footage and click on that thing. So if you see the face of a character you've not seen before, or a prop, so someone takes out a gun or a dagger and you're like 'Well that's going places'. Or maybe you're digging into the imagery of a movie, you're like 'Well hey I keep seeing pieces of fruit, or a particular animal which clearly means something in this movie,' you'll click on that and then the code will, in real time, generate a match cut and cut to another piece of footage in which that item appears.
"So you're essentially assembling your own supercut of this movie and using those visual elements—using characters, stories, plot pieces, props—as this way of exploring, as the breadcrumb trail. So very quickly your indidivual curiosity and what you're responding to is what drives you through this, and it becomes a very visual experience."
I don't dig Sam Barlow's games but I am curious about playing with those match cuts.
Immortality is coming to Steam this summer. It'll also be Xbox Seriex XS and Xbox Game Pass, and unspecified additional platforms.