Revival of FMV – MISSING and Her Story

Many will surely raise their eyebrows upon hearing the term “FMV”. It is a beast from the now truly distant 90s, when the shameful amount of polygons was preferred to be replaced by videos with live actors, thus the abbreviation Full Motion Video. Mad Dog McCree, Toonstruck, The Beast Within, Bad Mojo – that’s where the real “cinema” was, and they managed without any David Cages. What are you saying? Haven’t heard of such a thing? Oh, you…

However, it’s not your fault here. With the advent of fancy graphics accelerators, shaders, and other bump mappings, the ammunition of the genre became so impoverished that until recently, talking about its charms had to be done only through meager analogies with interactive entertainment for home DVD players and rare mobile creations. Everyone suddenly forgot about the friendship between movies and games, deciding that it’s better to strain their eyes on angular 3D models. The era of low-resolution second-rate actors disappeared into oblivion, without colors and music.

But it’s not for nothing that we have been nurturing the indie industry here for years, right? Equally cunning and independent developers still saw the glowing potential in FMV and slowly began to dig into the gold vein. As a result, Steam started filling up with reissues of classic movie adventures one after another, the audience’s beloved “thirty-dollar” Tex Murphy suddenly came back to life (whom we will definitely pay a little more attention to), and bolder people adapted live video for their experimental projects. And it is precisely to the latter that our two guests today belong.

Title screen or cover image

MISSING It reminds all at once of all the thrillers that you can catch on TV in the evening and watch until the next commercial break, without catching the titles. The plot, as usual, is presented with two parallel lines. The first is a light interpretation of “Saw” in basement settings, where the main character desperately searches for an exit and screams in vain at every locked door. In the second, of course, we play as a gloomy detective, for whom the depiction of insomnia is as difficult as the investigation of the disappearance of the aforementioned individual. What happened? Who is to blame? Where to look? No one knows – that’s the obligatory Mystery.

The setup is silly but effective. The authors skillfully handle the footage and cleverly play on the sense of unease: despite the absence of a real threat, the sharp and harsh introduction immediately sets the right tone and creates a discomforting atmosphere, just like in the movies. The walls of the room are covered with inscriptions like “PLAY WITH ME,” although no explicit rules of the game are voiced, a key dangles in front of the nose – apparently, from handcuffs that prevent reaching it – and a timer starts ticking involuntarily in the head. You have to think faster, faster!


And it turns out that you need to think the least in MISSING, because the gameplay is painfully primitive. The most difficult part is playing as the victim, and even that only requires some minimal activity. The dark basement corridors actually consist of a series of very simple puzzles, the solutions to which usually take place within two or three screens that require minimal clicking. In addition to their simplicity, some of the puzzles are extremely out of place – instead of playing a word search game with an old newspaper, they could have come up with something better.

The police investigation is even more absurd. Expecting a tedious search for clues, examining key locations, and complex deductions? Well, there’s nothing like that here, but there are a couple of active points and a harsh QTE “Don’t spill coffee on yourself.”

Do not forget to pat the trunk, for this there is even Achivka

Don’t forget to clap with the trunk, there’s even an achievement for it.

However it may be, you won’t be able to enjoy single-button amusements for long: MISSING is planned as a series, and it will take a maximum of 40 minutes to complete the only episode available today. The developers explain the tiny duration by saying that they have only just cast their lines and are monitoring the community’s reaction. It is understandable – production costs may not ultimately be justified.

But for now, in joy and with a light touch, our warm recommendation. Although they clearly miscalculated with the gameplay, there is already a beginning for a quality thriller. If not to play, then certainly watching will be interesting.

Image related to the storyline or character

A completely different situation arose with the second game. It is not only a finished product, but also practically professional compared to the previous one. It was made by Sam Barlow, whom you may not thank for the script of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories or the old Aisle, but you will definitely want to shake hands after getting to know Her Story.

Have you ever wondered how much interesting stuff could be found in police archives? Well, all sorts of photos, testimonies, reports, interrogations. Especially interrogations. Dozens, hundreds of hours of heartfelt and not so heartfelt confessions – it’s just a treasure trove for psychologists, forensic experts, and fans of the TV series “Lie to Me”. If you’re one of them, don’t hesitate to close this text and March for the game. Her Story doesn’t explain anything at all, but it’s for the best. On the screen, um, the screen. Insanely old and damn noisy, but it’s the screen of a police computer. The initial examination of the open windows shows that we are in the process of studying video recordings of conversations between a certain woman and representatives of the authorities. They talk about different things: work, wedding, children’s stories, murder – but the true subject of the conversation still eludes us due to the fragmentation and inconsistency of the clips. And what should we do?

A scene related to driving

And then you discover the search bar. As soon as you replace the original query with any other, new clips appear in the search results that don’t help at all in understanding what’s going on, but are incredibly intriguing. Slowly, you realize that the computer displays five fragments in which the entered word appears, and you have to dance around them. Spontaneously, you type in “husband” – you find out that the infamous lady’s husband is missing, and she herself went somewhere during the tragedy. You search the database by the name of the town – you find out the purpose of the trip. You dig deeper – you get another layer of valuable information. This is where the real game begins, the goal of which is to unfold Her Story completely.

The main and infinitely ingenious charm here is the non-linearity of the narrative. Without any branching paths, Her Story still presents the same plot in completely different ways depending on the player’s actions. Some will follow random threads and unravel the whole ball of yarn, some will prudently sort out all the facts before moving forward, some will move from general to specific, and some will do the opposite – there is no definitively correct method here. In any case, you will get your own version of the author’s story, and the aforementioned rule of five clips ensures that no one rushes ahead before the designated time.

Possibly an image related to legal documents or information

In a special window, you can track how many clips it remains to find

In a special window, you can track how many videos are left to find.

The plot itself is worthy of special mention. Presented essentially through a single character, it captivates just as well as renowned detective films and extends far beyond the confines of the screen it initially unfolds within, largely thanks to its impressive twists. Just when you think it’s one thing, it turns out to be something else entirely, and overall, wow!.. Let’s just say that the killer is far from being a gardener, and the acting talent of the protagonist is enough to confuse, delight, and impress you. The key is to know how to listen.

Her Story, perhaps, has become the most successful application of FMV technology in recent years. Its mosaic narrative structure, the Great Intrigue, and the simple yet captivating gameplay make it a must-visit for all seekers of the unusual, as well as connoisseurs of the pristine aesthetics of VHS.

P.S. In case of a global interest awakening, we are sharing… detailed list of games with Full Motion Video Join in!

MISSING: An Interactive Thriller
Indie, Quest
Zandel Media
Zandel Media
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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