At the end of last month Gamelab held a one-off VR encounter with archivists and game creators as a link between both fields, and we at Gamereactor took the chance to record our very first VR interview with Sam Barlow (well, with his dishevelled avatar).
During the video below, and despite some technical difficulties in the virtual realm, Half Mermaid Productions' mastermind reflects on how to tell stories in the digital world, on using archivists' input and repositories, or on how the studio invests in writing and research during the development process of their narrative-driven experiences. So, after Her Story and Telling Lies, are they keeping the same approach for TBA codename Project Ambrosio?
"I think with every game in this style the scale has increased. So for example on Telling Lies we brought in a researcher", Barlow recalls for example regarding the documentation of the history of FBI in America.
"So the current game [Project Ambrosio] deals specifically with some events that occurred in 1968, 1970, and 1999", Barlow continues later on. "Again there's been a very large research effort into digging into these events and finding details from... The game deals with the film industry, so from, what technical aspects can we talk about, what was the film process they were used to, what types of lights and cameras, what was the infrastructure that was happening on these particular film shoot; but then what was going on in society at the time, what was going on around it. All of this, I just find, the more research you do, you find things that are less common".
But other than these tidbits about the setting, so far there's little we know about Project Ambrosio, the title being tentative as well. When will fans learn more?
"We were hoping to share more at this point", Barlow admits, "and there's the whole strategic game of like what is happening with game shows and Covid, and that kind of tweaked some of our schedule. So we're definitely going to reveal more this year. We have a very mysterious Steam page that is currently up that hints at a lot, but also hides a lot, so that's like a fun thing people can look at. But we're hopefully going to reveal more soon, and I think it's going to unite the people that know me through the Silent Hill games I did, the people that know me through Her Story... this is a fusion of those worlds. It has horror elements, but it also has this kind of non-linear mystery setup".
What do you gather from the clues about Project Ambrosio? Leave a comment below.