Before listening to this week’s discussion on Immortality, please check out last week’s conversation on Scanner Sombre, LIDAR.EXE, and Gamescom 2022!
At 30, I tend to think I have experienced a great deal of what games have to offer. Not to place a cap on the medium’s potential or to say there’s a drought of quality titles, yet I often find I more or less know what I’m getting myself into before sitting down to play a new title.
And that’s fine. I still enjoy all manner of games across all genres, but a game these days rarely makes me reexamine the potential of storytelling in games.
[Immortality Enters From Stage Left]
Then there’s Immortality, which challenged my perception of the possibilities of storytelling in games, doing so in the most precise and intriguing ways. Half Mermaid and creative director and writer Sam Barlow build upon the FMV frameworks by allowing the player to prioritize their course of detective work.
The player is tasked with uncovering the fate of rising starlet Marissa Marcel, an actress who made three never-released films and was never seen again. The player effectively is a detective, sifting through scenes from her recently discovered films and supplemental materials (interviews, behind-the-scenes, etc.).
What separates Immortality from other FMV mystery games is how it handles and rewards player agency. Using a match cut feature (the player selects an object in a frame of film and is taken to a corresponding scene where that object or character is present), the player decides what to prioritize in their investigation. This leads to the player stumbling down many a rabbit hole of potential clues to Marcel’s fate, but it’s a rabbit hole they choose rather than being thrown down by the developer.
And in this week’s episode, Neil and I further venture down the mysterious rabbit hole of Immortality with returning friend of the show and features editor of The Gamer, Andrew King.
We discuss the match cut system, Barlow’s approach to storytelling in games, and the performances that fuel this thrilling mystery. –Jay Krieger
Andrew’s Immortality Review and article detailing his issues he found with the match cut system.
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