The narrative game Telling Lies has been developed by multi-BAFTA winning games designer-director Sam Barlow (Silent Hill / Her Story) and published by Annapurna Interactive, the publisher behind the critically acclaimed Bafta Winning game “What Remains of Edith Finch”.
Telling Lies expands upon the original format of Her Story with multiple characters – emphasizing the way in which you can never truly know a person – and also boasts an all-star cast including Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse), Kerry Bishé (Halt and Catch Fire), and Angela Sarafyan (Westworld).
The score, performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra (Phantom Thread, You Were Never Really Here), features an intimate string section, woodwinds, piano and harp, as well as unique extended playing techniques such as ‘Spectral Scrubbing’, for an airy floaty feel. Additionally, Desai utilized modern classical music techniques, introducing an element of chaos and visceral edginess.
From Sam Barlow, creator of ‘Her Story’ and ‘Silent Hill: Shattered Memories’, ‘Telling Lies’ is an investigative thriller game with deep non-linear narrative storytellingthat revolves around a cache of secretly recorded video conversations. Hailing from Hollywood films and TV shows such as X-Men, Haltand Catch Fireand Westworld, the game’s stellar cast includes Logan Marshall-Green, Alexandra Shipp, Kerry Bishé and Angela Sarafyan.
“I have always had a love of the spy, thriller, covert intelligence, hacking genres, so for me this was a dream project. Sam Barlow approached me because he wanted someone with experience of cinematic storytelling sensibilities and I believe this hybrid form between film and gaming is the future of entertainment. We kick started the process by creating a musical mood board drawing on a variety of film and musical inspirations such as Francis Ford Copolla’s The Conversationand Tinker Tailor Soldier Spyto Philip Glass and many other noir and modern classical music references – it really helped us hone down the core of what we were trying to say emotionally. I didn’t want to utilize any synthetic electronic elements – this had to be pure and raw where you hear the intimate relationship between the player and their instrument. The intention was to connect the player directly to the emotional core of the story, so as the game was being developed, Sam and I had in depth conversations about the characters, the multiple facets of their personalities and their dramatic arcs. I felt organic textures that had a dark beauty about them would suit the overall vibe of the game. Working purely from the script with no visuals at all was an inspiring challenge. I didn’t have a visual mood board or film to watch, so I had to rely on the words on the page to pick up the essence of each character. Distilling each character down to a single piece of music was the big challenge but Sam is extremely collaborative, open minded and gave me great illustrative analogies to work with.” – Nainita Desai, composer.
To get an impression of this fascinating medium, please watch the teaser trailer for ‘Telling Lies’, for which Nainita Desai’s title theme won the 2019 Music+Sound Award for Best Original Composition In A Gaming Trailer / Promo
The composer explains: “The main title is one of my favorite tracks – it was the last piece to be written and having lived with the script for over two years, I felt I could do the game justice by encapsulating the world of the game in a piece that has dissonant, violent, unsettling qualities. I also have a soft spot for the piece Intimacy– it’s a dark intoxicating waltz that’s seductive and lures you in.”