Her Story is the new video game from Sam Barlow, creator of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Aisle. A crime fiction game with non-linear storytelling. Her Story revolves around a police database full of live action video footage. It stars Viva Seifert, actress and one half of the band Joe Gideon and the Shark.
Her Story sits you in front of a mothballed desktop computer that’s logged into a police database of video footage. The footage covers seven interviews from 1994 in which a British woman is interviewed about her missing husband. Explore the database by typing search terms, watch the clips of her testimonies and piece together her story.
“The game is a bit of a weird one. In fact, it’s not really a game, exactly. It’s more… interactive storytelling. The database is full of clips of interviews with the victim’s wife, you can type in anything you want. Which means that everyone is going to experience the game differently. You’ll jump from clip to clip based on weird word similarities, all completely out of order, and attempt to piece the narrative together from that.
There’s very little gameplay, beyond putting on your detective hat and figuring out what words to type in to find new information. Most of the game is spent watching video clips of the interview. But once you start, it’s very hard to stop.” – Rhiannon Thomas
As the best TV crime shows, Her Story has all the drama and intrigue that will make you hungry for answers. The game uses the interactive medium in an imaginative way that turns her story into your story. The game lets you make your own conclusions, you have to listen very closely and figure out what is really hiding behind those clips. Don’t scratch the surface, see beyond that.
A game, a movie, interactive storytelling… maybe we can not define it yet, but for sure, this new way of telling interactive stories is innovative and compelling. A huge new world for developers and script writers. We can learn a lot about storytelling from Her Story:
- Use all the traditional techniques of drama and intrigue, they still work. Look for them and study them. Find a way to use them in your own story.
- Make your players feel the story as if it was their own. Try to find that connection by creating a complex character with problems and difficulties that players can identify with.
- Your players are smart, so make your game and story complex, where the elements and the details are not visible at a simple glance. Make your player think, listen and live your game.