Sam Barlow and Half Mermaid show off their new FMV tech
Today, we saw a little bit more of the next FMV mystery from Sam Barlow and Half Mermaid. Immortality is an interactive film trilogy, where players solve the disappearance of actress Marissa Marcel by combing through lost archives. It’s an investigate horror mystery coming this summer, on PC and Xbox Series X|S.
Immortality was revealed last year during the Future Games Show, but today we got a glimpse of what scrubbing the archives will look like in-game. Barlow’s previous FMV games, Her Story and Telling Lies, used keywords. Type in “car,” and you’d get a series of clips where characters say something about a car.
In Immortality, the new tool is making match cuts. By highlighting specific things in-frame, like a face or object, the game’s engine then match cuts to different footage. As those who’ve played Barlow’s games know, this is how the threads start connecting; each clue or nugget of information becomes a rabbit hole. But rather than words, it’s visuals. Seems fitting, for a film star-gone-missing.
The crux of the mystery is Marissa Marcel, a film star who debuted in the ’60s. She only starred in three films, and has since disappeared. Players can scrub through reels of archived footage, film, and extras, trying to figure out what happened to her.
The interface essentially imitates an old Moviola machine. And though you start with a little bit of footage, the match cut system lets you follow the threads on down—whether that’s a suspicious person, a relationship, or even recurring imagery.
“So you’re essentially assembling your own supercut of this movie, and using those visual elements—using character stories, plots, pieces, props—as this way of exploring the breadcrumb trail,” said Barlow on the ID@Xbox showcase stream today. “So very quickly, your individual curiosity and what you’re responding to is what drives you through this, and it becomes a very visual experience.”
On top of that, Barlow teases there are some horror elements that haven’t been shown too much yet either. Sounds like there’s a lot to uncover this summer, when Immortality comes to PC and Xbox Series X|S, and day one on Xbox Game Pass.