Telling Lies (stylized as telling l!es is a narrative video game developed by Sam Barlow and Furious Bee and published by Annapurna Interactive in August 2019 for Microsoft Windows, iOS Ports for PlayStation 4, Xbox One,
and Nintendo Switch were released in April 2020. As with Barlow’s previous title, Her Story, the game uses live action full-motion video of four people (played by Logan Marshall-Green, Alexandra Shipp, Kerry Bishé and Angela Sarafyan as part of video calls made between them, and the player will need to use tools provided from the game to piece together events and what statements may be lies to determine the overall mystery.
Barlow describes Telling Lies as a “desktop thriller” like Her Story, where the player becomes involved in a drama that is played out through stored video clips and other information presented on a virtual computer desktop.1 Telling Lies provides the player with numerous video segments that in the game’s narrative, cover a two-year period and which have been stored on a stolen hard-drive taken from the National Security Agency.
The player has the ability to search the hundreds of video segments on keywords as to piece together timelines, events, and interactions, all to try to understand why the four central people have been the subject of electronic surveillance, as well as the nature of the player-character’s role in these events; this character appears female and can be seen in a virtual reflection of the in-game computer screen to the actual player.
However, these clips only provide the video and audio from one side of the conversation, requiring the player to determine which clips may match the other participants, as well as potential interactions with around 30 other people.2,1 Players can scroll forwards and backwards within segments, highlight certain words in the video subtitles to use as search, and keep notes within an in-game memo pad.1 The player only has a limited amount of time within a single play through to scan material from the hard-drive, and would have to restart from scratch (losing all notes and bookmarks) if they want to see more.3
Barlow estimated that the content within Telling Lies is about four to five times longer than Her Story.4 There are three different endings that the player may reach through the game, depending on which character’s videos they explored most frequently.5