For the better part of the last thirty years full motion video, or FMV as it’s known, was something of a joke in the world of video games. CD-Rom technology made its way into gaming in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and brought with it a level of storage that developers could never have imagined. The only problem was that nobody really knew how to best utilize all that storage. The answer was largely horribly-acted, grainy, low-production FMV sequences tacked onto games for novelty. While occasionally you’d get some FMV that added something to a game, more often than not the FMV sequences in games were either “so bad they’re good" or just plain so bad you’d cringe, and even as technology improved over the years the FMV-based game could never shake that terrible first impression it made decades ago.
And then in 2015, game industry veteran and new indie developer Sam Barlow did something few before him had been able to do: Made FMV an interesting game mechanic. The title was Her Story ($4.99) and chances are, based on the numerous accolades it received that year, you’ve probably heard of it. We loved it in our review, picked it as our Game of the Week, included it in our Best Games of 2015, and in general it’s one of those games that’s an effortless recommendation for anyone looking for something unique to play on their mobile device.
As far back as January of 2016 Barlow began teasing a spiritual sequel to Her Story that would expand upon the “search a database of video footage and solve a mystery" mechanics of that game but would feature an entirely new and unrelated story as well as multiple actors, as opposed to the sole actor Viva Seifert from Her Story (who was phenomenal by the way). In July of 2017 that spiritual sequel got a name, Telling Lies, and a publishing partner in Annapurna Interactive, who have a reputation of putting out nothing but absolute gold on mobile. In late March of this year we got a teaser for Telling Lies that introduced some of the characters and the general vibe of the game, and this week with E3 in full effect Annapurna has released another new trailer which goes in even deeper on these new characters and the premise behind the game.
It’s actually really fun watching the Her Story trailer alongside this latest Telling Lies trailer, because you can see the similarities between them and it really drives home that this is a spiritual sequel. It also does that thing that many of the best movie trailers do in that I got goosebumps just watching it. The acting seems very high quality and even through this short clip I’m finding myself wanting to learn more about these characters and their lies. Unfortunately there’s no specific release date for Telling Lies just yet, but with the teaser dropping in March and this latest trailer here in June I have a feeling it won’t be too much longer before we get this latest masterpiece in our hot little hands.