In 2020, Sam Barlow said that his next game—code-named Project A███████—was going to be "ten times more ambitious" than his outstanding 2019 investigative thriller Telling Lies. It was revealed at the Future Games Show 2021 as Immortality, a decades-spanning mystery about Hollywood starlet Marissa Marcel, who appeared in three unreleased movies and then vanished from the face of the Earth. In today's ID@Xbox livestream, we finally got a proper look at gameplay—and it looks very good.
The Steam page reveals more—but not much more:
- 1968: Alan Fischer directs Ambrosio, his adaptation of M. G. Lewis’s notorious Gothic novel The Monk. He casts unknown Marissa Marcel as the infamous Matilda.
- 1970: John Durick writes his thriller Minsky, with Marcel in mind. Set in New York City, the movie concerns the death of a famous artist and Marissa stars as the muse suspected of murdering him.
- 1999: For his swansong, Durick teams up with Marcel again as she returns from a lengthy hiatus. The movie Two of Everything is a subversive thriller which explores the duality between a successful pop star and her body double.
"None of these movies is ever released. They are thought to be lost or destroyed."
There's also a bit from 2022, but it's heavily redacted, with only the words "Barlow," "custodian," and "concordance" visible.
The struggle for FMV games is that, because of their "live action" nature, they're invariably compared to film and television productions, and because of their relatively tiny budgets, game oriented writing, and sub-par acting, they almost never come off looking good. One recent example, The Complex, showed initial promise and managed to put up decent production values and performances, but failed to impress because of its dull story and limited interactivity.
Barlow has managed to avoid those pitfalls through Her Story and Telling Lies by incorporating more (and more varied) gameplay elements, and blending them smoothly with excellent production values. From our Telling Lies review: "One minute it's a family drama, the next it's a tense crime thriller. And it's all brilliantly acted, with a cast of established film and TV actors providing some impressively natural-sounding dialogue. Logan Marshall-Green was the highlight for me, playing his duplicitous, conflicted character with real depth. But the whole cast is great, and the production values are excellent throughout—which is just as well, because 99% of the game is watching videos."
Immortality does not have a release date yet, but it's expected to be out sometime this year. Find out more at halfmermaid.com.