In 2015, Sam Barlow released Her Story, essentially an interactive movie that played like a modern day twist on the FMV games from the 80s and 90s. Barlow has continued in this style with his subsequent projects, with 2019’s Telling Lies expanding on what he established with Her Story and the newly released Immortality taking his ideas to a new level.
Immortality collects hundreds of clips from three unfinished fictional indie films from the 60s, 70s, and 90s, all of which feature Hollywood starlet Marissa Marcel, who has since disappeared. The ultimate goal of Immortality is to figure out what happened to Marissa Marcel, and players accomplish this by watching her old clips for clues.
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Like Her Story and Telling Lies before it, Immortality is more interactive movie than it is a video game, though it’s more interactive than Barlow’s previous titles. In Her Story, players progressed by figuring out keywords and searching for them to discover new clips, but that system is gone in Immortality. Instead, players use the game’s Image Mode that pauses the footage and brings up a cursor. Players can click on almost anything they want in the scene, and then it match-cuts them to a completely different clip. So for example, if Immortality players click on a blue ashtray, they will be taken to another clip that features the same blue ashtray or at least something that looks similar to it.
Immortality’s match-cut mechanic works well, and it’s surprising how little restrictions are placed on the player. Virtually anything in a scene can be clicked on, and it will almost always lead Immortality players to a brand-new clip.
Immortality players will soon find themselves with dozens of clips to check out, separated by three distinct eras. Barlow and his team went to great lengths to replicate the visual style of each decade that the clips represent, and it’s fun to piece together not only the plot of Marissa Marcel’s three movies, but the…