At 2 a.m. Thursday, I was looking at my computer in the dark, my face bathed in the sterile light of Her story new game from creator Sam Barlow, Immortal. Onscreen, the camera focuses closely on the flawless porcelain skin of forgotten actress Marissa Marcel (played by Manon Gage), who is naked and bathed in a warm, almost infernal light. “Are you ready for a love affair with Satan?” she asked, abbreviated the script and elicited raucous laughter from her off-screen team. While I can’t afford to do that, I to be Get ready to be knocked down by the unpredictable magic of the movie.
Doesn’t take much time Immortal to take me back to the days of working in television. I spent the summer before college as a teenage intern dubbing tapes in tiny rooms filled with VCRs, watching editors disappear into Avid-like suites. cocoon where they spent hours reviewing raw footage (Avid technology replaced the Moviola machine, since then Immortal draw it wash mechanic). There’s something endearing and mysterious about observing – outside of this mysterious black box, where something goes in, and something new but familiar emerges. After that, spending 22 hours immersed in Immortal and still feel wanted; for days, since playing the game, every tripod, wig, and gesture lives in my head as if it were my job.
Immortal revolves around Marcel, who, according to the game’s fantasy, was eliminated from an audition of thousands by a famous director in the 1960s. She has made three films: Ambrosio (1968), Minsky (1970), and Two of everything (1999). None were released, and she disappeared. The game presents itself as a special piece of software designed to showcase Marcel’s recently unearthed work, allowing fans to analyze her films and behind-the-scenes clips. The gist is to use collages – transitions between subjects with similar themes or structural compositions – to explore Marcel’s films and find out what happened to her. For example, click on a cat sculpture in Minsky jump to the cat scene in Two of everything; an abstract painting can lead to a mask or an actor’s face. The “successful” cutscenes and their subsequent revelations will unlock new cutscenes.
Ambrosio Is one giallo– sex thriller adapted from a (real) Gothic novel The Monk, with a beautiful matte paint background. In the crime noir MinskyMarcel took a page from the shaggy-haired Jane Fonda in Klute, adopting the same sly, nervous attitude that delighted her with detective love. And in Two of everything, she plays both a world famous pop star and her body, whose life together becomes irreparably ruined. With a few clicks on the right hotspot, I can switch from the original Marcel in the robes of a new monk to the older, world-weary Marcel (who hasn’t aged a day) in Doc Martens.
Right out of the gate, I poured a whole lot of energy into dissecting every shot and tidbit. My initial Class A reaction was multi-color-coded notes on all three films. After observing AmbrosioApparently equivalent to Alfred Hitchcock, Arthur Fischer, I contemplated retrieving my old Truffaut and Spoto books from a college film class I barely remember. An interview in which Fischer put her lovely hand around the back of Marcel’s neck screams “a young lady in excellent grooming.” After watching enough Minsky and Two of everything, I document paranoid speculations about Marcel’s director, John Durick. I revolve around incoherent theories based on Brecht, Baudrillard, Heidegger, and carefully consider the theatrical relationship between physical reality, performance, and process. I walked down a rabbit hole in a German Expressionist outfit and forgot what I was looking for. In the end, I looked down and saw that I had managed to reverse engineer the scripts for all three movies. In short, I did absolutely nothing. I’m Charlie Day, put together a conspiracy theory spanning decades.
Finally, when I realized what I needed to do – without having to give too much, which involved strategically embarking on the work with the scrubber – I skimmed through the rest of my work. Immortal on a feverish quest to find hidden footage. The game’s meta-story is an attempted distillation of the themes most prominent in Marcel’s films: identity, sacrifice, duality, and the dialectical relationship between Art and Order. (Sometimes it’s more true Gnostic.) Almost everything feels important and connected, because Immortal is particularly adept at creating layers of complexity while concealing a very simple (and after a certain point, predictable) truth about how humans create myths. Even if it drives me crazy, Immortal simply won’t get out of my head. I can’t say I loved my time looking for Marissa Marcel, but I wholeheartedly love how beautifully it integrates players into the viewing and filmmaking process.
Towards “end game” (this doesn’t really apply to this test construct), Immortal begins to lose its luster. Once I can (mostly) answer the question What happened to Marissa Marcel? Finding clips became more of a chore than a hobby. But since the game unfolds through the medium of the movie, there’s an innate urge to “finish” every movie, because that’s the only way we can envision to fully experience it. or know a movie. My enthusiasm began to dwindle after scrolling through scenes that I had reviewed dozens of times.
I manage to get a few more gems, but after a certain point the constant clicking gives diminishing returns. From a practical standpoint, my rhythmic search for untried match cuts started to slow down simply because I ran out of subjects. To its credit, like the weight of a cat on my arm, Immortal gently suggesting that maybe I’ve seen enough, which means drawing a straight line and accepting the limits of what I’ve learned. Since this is a game that grabs a lot of attention in processing, it means it’s somewhat self-aware of how monotonous it can be.
What? Immortal especially good is to reconcile my lifelong love of period drama, a wholehearted commitment to stylistic production values (yes, I love all wigs) and a divine breed. The slow mystery sutra is very specific. Immortal felt most alive in those moments when I was searching for debris, even as I was trying out Movie 101’s most obvious symbolic combinations for collages. When I finally got to see the scene showing what happened to the “real” Marissa Marcel, it raised more questions than it answered, while also reminding me that decisions are simply structure. My biggest source of frustration, however, was the tonal disconnect between the super story and the three films. Even Immortal tried to avoid over-revealing, which led to a digression that lingered in the plot, in a way, like a betrayal, or at least an egotism. After all, I want to find Marissa Marcel. (As a side note, I’m not a big fan of minimalist UI filters – the “movie” and “picture” filters show up clearly, but I still don’t know the type icon. What is the function of the third funnel.)
Because of its non-linear story, Immortal there is no real approach to ending – which I deeply respect, considering how conditioned we are to expect some kind of end, no matter how unsatisfying or abrupt . After diving into the futile work of solving Marissa Marcel’s problem and becoming fluent in the game’s visual language, I put it in the impregnable black box. I put on my hat and left Immortal because it subtly undermines our collective expectations of what matters most conclusion. I started out as a complete idiot, and ended up fulfilling my destiny as a devoted fan of Marissa Marcel whole-heartedly, even though she spent it. Two of everything in a wig like straw made Elizabeth Holmes looks like a Pantene advertisement.
In the end, the walk felt like the end of one’s own role in this strange theater, although I failed to make out every single clip or scene dry of meaning and meaning. Sometimes a cat is just a cat. Sometimes a gargoyle is just a figurine. Immortal know how much more you want, and it depends on your hunger.
Tap into this fan-like thirst for knowledge like authority and authenticity – even if it sometimes cuts through the narrative – the game also makes for an easy choice for curious bystanders: Play or not. Immortal demonstrates the most compelling signs of the “if you know, you know” meme – no quick summary for a polite interested stranger can fully summarize the question What happened to Marissa Marcel? The only way to fully appreciate the scope of this project, the flaws and all, is to throw all expectations of the story and structure out the window, and realize that the simple division between film and games are preventing us from doing more with moderation.
Immortal will be released on August 30 on Windows PC, Mac, Xbox Series X, iOS and Android. The game has been evaluated on PC using a pre-release download code provided by Half Mermaid Productions. Vox Media has an affiliate partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy can be found here.