This is Her Story
A woman's husband goes missing and she is interviewed seven times by the police. These interviews were recorded and are now accessible via a police database. It's the player's job to go through the interviews and get to the bottom of what happened by searching through the database for key phrases the woman said during interviews.
The game comes from the writer and designer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Aisle, Sam Barlow. Barlow says, "If you can Google, you can play Her Story. The mechanic of searching for clips in the database is so simple that anyone can pick up and play. But it's a mechanic that quickly reveals its richness and complexity. At times it can feel like you're engaged in a genuine dialogue with this woman and her story. It's a unique way to interact with a narrative, a sculptural way of viewing a story -- and something that can only be done interactively."
The game reminds me of a number of early FMV games and it's interesting that more and more indie companies are seemingly looking back at this genre for inspiration these days. This game also reminds me of the obscure Japan-only PS1 video game adaptation of Serial Experiments Lain. Granted, that game was a great deal more surreal than Her Story will probably be but both games have players mining the story from a database interface. It's certainly a different way to tell a story and one I'd personally like to see explored more often. We saw this system used to great effect in A Hate Story: Analogue which I would recommend, along with its sequel Hate Plus. In those games, the core gameplay of sifting through others' digital detritus, like journal entries and letters, helped to create a sense of a truly organic world aboard the Mugunghwa. Players were encouraged to go looking for the story and piece it together themselves at times. It'll be interesting to see if Her Story attempts to do something similar.
Barlow describes Her Story as "True Detective via Blair Witch," and adds, "I'm interested in showing that accessible technologies such as video offer a powerful way for indie games to showcase a performance. I am also putting the spotlight on the modern phenomena of the Youtube Jury, in which police forces distribute the footage of intimate suspect interviews for armchair detectives to dissect. You see it in cases such as those of Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox -- cases where the suspects' stories themselves get lost amongst the torrent of clichés and prejudices that the videos elicit."
The game is presently on Steam Greenlight and you can go vote for it here. Additionally, you can pre-order the game and find out more about it on the official web site here. The game will be coming to PC, Mac and iOS devices soon.