FMV games—for the unfamiliar, FMV stands for “full motion video” and when used as a genre descriptor refers to games that rely heavily on prerecorded cutscenes, generally starring real-life actors—were, for much of their existence, more often than not the subject of ridicule. Night Trap, for example, which is a controversial FMV title that came out in 1992, was famously derided by video games media when it was released (though it’s developed its own sort of cult following). However, in 2015 developer Sam Barlow released Her Story, a game that made ample use of FMV cut scenes that was met with near-universal critical acclaim. Now, following the template established by Her Story, German developers Tri Trie Games have announced their debut release, Jessika, an FMV-heavy detective story.
The player in Jessika takes on the role of a detective who has been tasked by the father of the titular Jessika to deduce the reason for her death, determined to be a suicide, though her father has his doubts. Doing so involves combing through Jessika’s online presence through which clues will gradually become available.
This works through a system similar to predecessors like Nina Freeman’s 2015 game Cibele or films like 2018’s Searching that take place entirely on a computer screen. All of the information provided to the player throughout the course of Jessika will appear within the confines of a digital laptop from the first-person point of view of the player character. Progressing through the game requires making use of the computer like one might a real PC.
In 2018, closer to the start of Jessika‘s development cycle, the game was nominated for the German Developer Prize by UbiSoft Blue Byte, the German branch of UbiSoft, in their Newcomer Award category. Its developers also received the first-place prize at an Audi-sponsored VR/AR Hackathon at Digility 2018, a conference in Cologne, Germany that explores “digital reality.”
Alongside publishers Assemble Entertainment, Tri Trie has just announced that the game, playable on PC, will be available on Steam in the summer of this year. It will retail for $12.49 and can currently be added to Steam users’ wishlists.
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