Why IMMORTALITY's Sam Barlow loves real acting performances in his games

The writer director will be out in Australia for SXSW Sydney this year and shares his creative process.

August 11, 2023 6:30 AM

The first thing you notice when you see a game made by Half Mermaid the studio lead by Sam Barlow is that it doesn't really look like a game, the full motion video looks more like a TV show or movie.

For Barlow what initially started as a creative and budgetary constraint of being a small indie team has become a defining feature of his work, with his most recent title IMMORTALITY which explores three decades of filmmaking.

Barlow will be making his way to Australia for SXSW Sydney in October this year and spoke about his creative process, filmic literacy in the audience, and why he stands with the actors striking for a better deal in Hollywood.

You can support SIFTER's independent gaming journalism by

☕ Tipping us on KoFi

👕 Wearing our merch

💬 Talking to us on the SIFTER Discord

SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang, Adam Christou and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer. Thanks to Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER.


GIANNI DI GIOVANNI: Hello and welcome to Lightmap from SIFTER. On Lightmap we have conversations and explore the culture of games and interactive media. We meet game makers, journalists and thinkers from around the world. My name is Gianni, thank you so much for joining me. My guest this week is Sam Barlow, one of the creatives at Half Mermaid, whose games Her Story, Telling Lies and Immortality, blur the lines between cinema and interactivity and it's a real pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much, Sam.

SAM BARLOW: Thanks for having me.

GIANNI: You're going to be out in Australia for South by South West Sydney in just a couple of months and we're really excited to learn a little bit more about that. But before we jump into that let's find out what's been making the news this week on Walkthrough which is SIFTER's weekly news podcast.

PROMO: You're listening to Lightmap, interesting conversations with video game creators.

GIANNI: I've seen a lot of interviews, I've seen a lot of descriptions of who you are and what you do, but in your own words, who is Sam Barlow and what does Sam Barlow do?

SAM: Wow. You put me on the spot there. Sam Barlow is a very personable and charming human being, who, yeah, who tries not to get too hung up on words, and definitions, which is hard in making things.

That sometimes sit in different categories.

But I would probably describe myself primarily as a games maker and one who's really interested, really interested in bringing a lot of the unique aspects that make video games interesting and figuring out ways of applying them directly to storytelling in ways that you know are somewhat unusual.

GIANNI: Is it a challenge to describe what you do when everyone wants a very short elevator pitch?

SAM: You need to be able to say, it's a bit like this that does this.

Is that something you've come into conflict with trying to describe your work?

Well, I've realized that part of the of being good at my job, if I if I want to be good at my job, part of that is coming up with something which is easy to explain.

And obviously, if you make a, you know, a cover based first person shooter set in space, then you can just say that.

So it was really obvious when I made her story that despite that being very different to the games I've made prior to that, it did do a good job of explaining itself. If you showed people a short clip from it and you said, this is a video game where you're in a police database, trying to figure out if this woman murdered her husband.

People were like, okay, I get it. I get what my role is. I'm kind of a detective. I get the objective.

I kind of get what the interface is going to be and what the constraints of the gameplay are going to be because I've seen those moments in TV shows where someone is, you know, it's two-thirds way through the story and they've hit a dead end and it's 3 a.m. and they're just looking through the police database until they see that little clue. And so with that, I was like, okay, I, it's something that is not a standard video game, but to a games person or to a non-games person, like I can kind of concisely sell them on this thing.

And I know that when I made Telling Lies, it wasn't as easy because I made the mistake of creating a story that in like the first hour of the gameplay, you would kind of discover what the story was about, right?

And you would spend that first hour having all sorts of fun, just trying to figure out what the hell is going on here.

And we would test it on people.

Who came in knowing nothing, and they all had a fantastic time.

And, you know, the fact that in that first hour, they suddenly went, oh, that's what this is, was cool for them. So we were like, well, that's really cool.

Sure, we should safeguard that when we released the game.

So then we realized, like, we couldn't give them the pitch that was as concise as, has this woman murdered her husband?

And we couldn't even really be specific about the genre, other than saying, you know, it's kind of a thriller.

There are some intimate relationships between adults. So then when we just made Immortality, I was like, okay, let's make sure this is a very easy thing to explain to people.

And then you just go, well, there was an actress who filmed these three movies.

None of them ever came out.

She disappeared. What happened to her?

Okay, people get that now, they get the hook. They can imagine in their head, missing actress.

Oh, that's very mysterious and sexy and lynching and what have you.

And then you would show them some of the elements of the interface.

And they'd be like, oh, I can see how that is going to be cool.

I think there's a trick to making it. Someone told me the trick to making a good puzzle game is if you show someone a screenshot, they should be able to kind of play the game in their head.

And similarly here, it's like if you show someone a little bit of the game, they can start in their head imagining, oh, this is really cool.

Oh, well, in Immortality, I can click on anything on the screen, and it will generate a match cut.

And they can start imagining the cool scenarios that that might lead to.

So that's my thing, is to not fixate on explaining the bigger picture, which is what I struggle to do.

And you just on the spot asked me to talk about what I do. If I try and describe the bigger picture of what it is I do, then it gets tricky. I can't just say I'm a civil engineer, I build bridges.

But, you know, with the games themselves, it's like, oh, there's something really chunky there if the game kind of explains itself, which I think is true of most things.

GIANNI: I'm interested in the point you made about a cover-based third-person shooter in space has a certain visual identity. You know, you kind of know what basically you're going to get, but your games don't look like that.

They are filmed on sets with actors and, you know, were described in the 90s as FMV games an extent. Talk to me about that relationship between using footage and constructed film to build an interactive story when you're trying to tell people that it's a video game.

SAM: The interesting thing is when you look at what happened in the 90s, where they kind of had this moment where before 3D technology took hold, just slightly ahead of it was CD-ROM video technology, which like you say, it was called FMV because for the first time ever, there was full motion video.

Because prior to that, you couldn't get enough frames on screen, so there was no motion.

And that was a thing that I wasn't super into at the time. I don't think I had a CD-ROM drive, so I couldn't play those games.

But it always looked kind of cool. But it died a death, because 3D was way cooler.

And a lot of the games that people made with that technology were generally bad. And they struggled with figuring out how to use that technology in the format of a traditional video game of like, you know, intense skill based real time things in terms of like huge amounts of systemic agency. And in the genres that have been popularized in video games that, you know, often did focus on action and adventure and science fiction and fantasy, live action is really expensive and complicated.

But interestingly, if you look back, there was an explosion within that limited kind of FMV window of genres that you didn't see before or after.

Like, suddenly there were legal video games. There were lawyer thrillers and erotic thrillers and really twisted psychological horror things and romance.

And just suddenly, all of these genres, which no one had really tried to make a game of or been able to make a game of before.

As soon as you got a level of human performance on camera, it enabled a lot of these stories which are more kind of character focused.

So that, you know, it was quite interesting to me. But suddenly when I started doing this.

I'd come from, I'd done three years directing a big expensive AAA game that got canceled.

We had done like a year of performance capture on that.

And so I was slightly defeated by the sheer effort involved in motion capture to just try and communicate the simplest or purest human expressions.

It was so laborious. But I knew I wanted to keep telling stories.

And I was trying to figure out, like, how do I, as an indie dev, like, how am I going to tell character-based stories if I can't have characters on screen, because they cost millions of dollars, and all this motion capture and all this high-end photo-real rendering.

And I didn't want to go for the compromise that was becoming a thing back then, which was, you know, you can.

If you can tell a story that conveniently involves everybody having disappeared five minutes before the story begins, you can go to town, right?

So you can do Gone Home, or you can do Dear Esther, where everybody's gone to the rapture.

All these games that were like figuring out what is the reason that everybody disappeared?

And, you know, you can do that once or twice or three times, but that as a template wasn't really exciting for me.

And so her story kind of came out of spending a lot of time thinking about making something in the police procedural space, which was this idea of, oh, this is a genre that's very popular everywhere else, hasn't really been nailed in video games.

We've tried, you know, Phoenix Wright, L.A. Noire, there have been these attempts, And, you know, interestingly, L.A. Noire was an example of them going, the only way this genre will work is if we have those incredible character performances being captured.

The issue was, what essentially they did was they did photographically film people's heads, and then dropped them onto video game characters' bodies, and then put that in the midst of a world that had to have car chases and shootouts and all the kind of GTA stuff. So there was a lot of dissonance there. But yeah, I thought a lot about how to make a detective game. And I did, I did a lot of research into what.

What happens if if a detective has a suspect in an interview room, how do we what is the technique, kind of read up on all the training manual manuals and all the academic research into that moment, I watched all the movies with interesting interrogations in them. And I discovered, at that point, we were just kind of on the cusp of the true crime explosion. And as well, the same time, the kind of ubiquity of video, like YouTube had become a huge thing. Everyone now had phones that could film video, record video, play video. And so part of my research was realising that there were all this footage online of real life police interrogations. And kind of watching that, I was like, this is so.

You know, not always in a very virtuous way, like it's slightly kind of vicarious or heuristic, like so interesting to watch.

And obviously that we saw that with Serial and Making a Murderer and everything blowing up that that was true for the entire population. And really, like absorbing all this video, whilst thinking about the process, understanding the methodology of the homicide detective, which is very word based, like, the homicide detectives will listen out for particular tenses, pronouns, particular, you know, did they use names, there's all these little verbal ticks that will give people's lives away.

And so kind of all that, student together. And then one day, I literally just woke up and was like, why don't I make a game where you act the videos is the thing, right? That make a game about that. And I could have the, the, you know, the databases, the interface, and then I'm using kind of text and natural language, like all my favorite old text games, but the, constraint of that scenario is such that it doesn't have to be, this all singing and dancing kind of super intelligent parser, like people will get how the constraints work. So it kind of came out of that. And then once I'd done that, then I started to think about it more seriously in terms of what am I doing? Why is this interesting? And really latched on to this idea of exploring video in the same way that you might explore space in a normal game. So all the things I love about Nintendo games, about the way Mario moves and jumps through an environment, the simplicity of that, with the way Zelda or Metroid, the worlds open up and become more complex and explorable. I was.

Like, well, how does that apply to a massive video? Like, how can I create ways for the player to explore the video that are expressive, that are challenging, that, you know, have these kind of exploratory layers to them. And yeah, that's been a fun ride.

GIANNI: Can you tell me a little bit about how you plot out a story like Her Story or Immortality?

What does it look like in the production and as you're planning out all the different linking pieces? The key thing is to not try too hard to link the pieces. So I don't think anyone's got an official term for what these things are, but I know sometimes people bandy around like a database story, which I think existed previously. There's some kind of experimental artists on early computers doing stuff like this. And that's really the key is to create a very large story, that spills off the pages of what would normally be the pages and have a format to store all of that in. And then the gameplay is what are the ways in which I can interact with this database?

And the key to that is then letting people interact in such a way that they can create make meaning and make connections.

And some of that is in plotting out the story, which has always essentially been a giant, giant spreadsheet, being able to look at any little piece.

And it's like a very simple test usually is, are there several things happening at once in this small piece?

So it's a little bit like the thing with holograms, right? where any piece of a hologram contains the information for the whole rest of the hologram, or is that DNA?

I don't know. It's one of those clever science things. So that if we have one little scene in these games, it has to do everything.

It has to be like, well, what's happening in the A plot? What's happening in the character on screen's story?

What pieces of visual imagery or thematic imagery are in there?

Is there some other conceit, like in mortality, we want to see a little bit of business around how films are made, a little kind of, you know, piece of craft about filmmaking in there.

And you look at each scene and make sure it has one of all of these things in it.

IMMORTALITY GAMEPLAY CLIP: "The same magic that powers this lens can also grant you what you wish.

How so?

You remember the night that I was to die, when we took to St. Clair's Sepulcher? I performed a ritual that night, and summoned a fallen angel to aid me.

What have you done?"

"Wow. Quite a role for your first movie.

Well, Mr. Fisher was quite the teacher. Now I heard he can be quite demanding.

Well, you know, he has an idea of the picture in his head, and nothing is going to come between him and that, not even the actors."

SAM: So then, when players come in, and they're going in completely different directions, right?

One person is obsessing over, I'm really interested in the story of this character, Carl Greenwood.

And so they are able to see the elements of this scene which speak to his story and the relationship he's having with the actress off camera and the role he's playing on screen.

And they can, in the gameplay of immortality, click on Carl's face and jump to another scene in which Carl appears.

And so they're now creating the story of Carl from these little jigsaw pieces.

And if each of those scenes does have some useful piece of what's going on with Carl, they can create a meaningful story where other people might come in and, oh, they're really interested in the story of the movie Carl's in, and so they're following a completely different thread, and they might click on, if they click on the camera assistant from that movie, they're gonna automatically jump into another scene with that camera assistant.

So you really try to create something that's so densely packed and rich that it works in all those directions, which is, again, I always relate this back to playing the latest Zelda games.

I feel like a kinship with them because, I mean, obviously they're my, it's, you know, a slight amount of hubris to compare myself with those, and they're obviously on a very different scale.

But the premise of those games is you can walk in any direction.

If you see anything in the distance that you think looks interesting, go there and it will be interesting.

And whatever you do, it will feel fun and it will feel like an adventure.

And the moment to moment will be rich and fascinating and full of texture and beautiful.

And it's a similar pitch to players on my games. It's, look, immerse yourself in this giant mush of stuff, this huge pile of content that you're in the middle of, and follow a thread that's interesting to yourself, and it will become meaningful.

And whatever happens along the way, you're going to see some really interesting stuff.

You know, and the moment to moment of it is going to be pleasant.

We're not, you know, this is not a game punishes you at any point.

Which I think is also key, because I think on one hand, if you say to players, you have all this freedom, no direction, we're not going to tell you what to do or how to make sense of it, that can, as well as being exciting, be kind of scary and create anxiety.

So to compensate for that, we say, well, we're never going to give you a game over.

We're never going to tell you you did it wrong, right? If you just keep playing, you're going to see cool stuff.

It's fine, right? Whereas there are some games, similarly opaque games like Dark Souls, but that's different.

That's a game that says, if you don't get it, you're gonna die.

And you just have to keep trying again.

If you don't understand the story and the law, tough. I mean, you can go and look on a website and see what other people have told you. But that's a more, I think that's a more acquired taste because it does ask a lot of you, whereas we try and be generous.

GIANNI: It's interesting that you bring up Zelda because with that and playing Immortality, I really felt getting sidetracked and pulled off in other direction was the point almost.

Can you tell me a little bit about how, you know, the visual language of games and the contrast that we need for interactivity in particular, how did you apply that to film?

Because I felt that I was often really drawn visually to certain elements to click on, and almost certainly that was always a thing I could click on.

But can you tell me, in terms of making that as, you know, as filming that, what did you have to do?

Was there anything that didn't work or anything you had to change as you were, you know, blocking all out?

SAM: We really did, because we had, with all of these games, the planning before we go to the shoot is always extremely thorough.

And we'll have versions of the thing that we can test, whether it's purely textual or we've shot some test footage.

We did for Telling Lies.

So when we get to set, usually it's like the script is pretty fixed.

In the case of something like Her Story or Telling Lies, you cannot change a word of the script, right?

Otherwise, you break the flow. In the case of Immortality, it was like, well, the testing we did assumed from the script that these certain things would be on screen.

And some of those are obvious, like, well, clearly this character who's talking is going to be on camera. Oh, and this prop that he's holding up is going to be on camera.

So we had stuff that was like, well, this has to be on screen.

And we should not go out of our way to hide it. If the character has a dagger and the game has assumed there's going to be a dagger on this screen, let's make sure it's actually on camera.

And then all the other stuff that shows up on set.

Is kind of a bonus. And the only thing was, there were points where, and like technically, the crew wasn't union, so usually the director's not allowed to interfere with the props, right?

That is the job of the prop department. And if a director goes out, he gets told off.

But sometimes I would run out, we'd see things in camera. We'd usually, we'd figure out a lot of the framing on the day with the actors and block it out.

So the actors usually on my things, we are very strict about certain elements, right?

Like this is the script.

Oh, this is the content of the scene. This is the context of the scene.

But then in terms of the blocking and trying to help them create something more interesting and have the director of photography come in and figure out how do we make this look great?

That tends to be quite exploratory. But then, you know, looking at it in camera, it'd be like, oh, there's a lot of clutter in this scene.

Like we have to remove some of these things because you don't want to give people too much kind of false noise. And every now and then, you, know, the art department would go to town, especially like the art studio, in the second movie, just putting all this stuff everywhere.

And you'd be like, Oh, man, that looks like this thing looks super interesting. You can keep that in there. But let's just move it forward a bit. But let's lose this.

Yeah, but let's lose these other three little bits and pieces of stuff that's just kind of cluttered. So you know, there was a little bit of, of, of, you know, cleaning things up visually, but otherwise, you know, it was, it was really just about capturing everything we are intending to capture. And then you know, having, yeah, there's so many, so many things going on at once that you're just like, we, you know, you tend to get, naturally quite a lot of kind of focus and clarity just from all different pieces that you're trying to kind of pull together in a scene.

GIANNI: I'm curious when you're thinking about players, because I've often seen this complaint from game developers before, that people who play games in these days really only play games. They don't have the sort of broad understanding of different types of media, and a game like Immortality, I feel, really relies on a bit of an understanding. You don't need to be a complete film buff, but you need to kind of understand a bit of the process and a bit of the history of filmmaking. Is that a challenge for Or are the people you're targeting, you know who they are and they're going to get what you make?

SAM: Yeah With immortality, like the trick being by presenting this as a game, and giving you these certain actions you can take, I want to trick you into being as much of a cinephile as me, right, like in the real world, I might watch a movie and then go and read the biography of the director and read about all the behind the scenes mishaps, right? Or I might watch some making a documentary or I might watch three movies by the same director in a weekend, right and see the connective tissue between them all, or watch, I love Supercut videos online, right, where it's like, here are all the shots of teapots from every one of Ozu's movies, or all the eyes from it on staircases from Hitchcock movies.

So it was like, this is, you know, because if you tell people this is a game and you have an objective and you're in control, suddenly they are slowing the footage down and paying attention and obsessing over little details and noticing the connective tissue between three movies with the same people involved and stuff.

And you kind of trick them into being as obsessive, which I think is, I think all the games I've made are about putting people into a slightly obsessive mindset, which is very rewarding, right?

But it's hard in this day and age where we're inundated with so much stuff to have that level of focus and obsessiveness.

I did, I remember being very amused, I did this one-off interactive pilot TV thing.

That was a reboot of the movie War Games.

It was like, it was essentially an interactive online TV show thing.

And they did focus tests and it was aimed at quite a young teen audience.

So they brought all these kids in and had them kind of watch and interact with the episode.

And the comment I remember most was, this one kid at the end of it, like in the debrief, put his hand up and was like, this was so cool.

Normally when I watch TV, I'm doing two or three things at once.

I'll be looking at my phone, the TV in the background, I'll be doing something else.

But because this was interactive, I had to concentrate.

And it's so rewarding when you concentrate on a story.

So I was like, oh shit, like that's, I mean, it's cool that that worked, but it was interesting that that was his perspective on things.

Um, so yeah, I don't know. I mean, it's, it's increasingly becoming a grumpy old man just because it does seem like the world is getting worse for a second, you know, we have a lot more Like, you know.

When I see my kids and the technology they have access to. And, you know, when I grew up, I never even thought of being a games maker because it seemed like the technology and the hardware and the education you would need to make a video game was something that was, kind of outside of my reach.

And as as suddenly when I was a teenager, I was obsessed with film and with art, and the effort to see certain movies like you just couldn't write the if they weren't on the two TV channels we had, and they weren't on video, or I would have to go somewhere and pay money to get them on video.

It was like such an effort to discover films, especially the more obscure ones, whereas now they are mostly at our fingertips and we have all this access to them.

So I think on one hand, you have an audience that is distracted, and is just inundated with all sorts of evil things.

But they are also, you know, they do have the stuff at their fingertips.

They do have all this material.

So it isn't too hard for them to become, like, you know, super educated.

Like, there was an interview with Brian De Palma, and he was talking about, it was one of his movies, maybe it was Body Double, it was like one of his very Hitchcockian ones, and he was talking about how it was inspired by Vertigo.

But he hadn't seen Vertigo for years when he wrote it. He was like, oh, there was like a reissue of Vertigo that was in film theaters in LA.

And I saw it, and I saw it with like, William Friedkin or someone.

And then we talked about it afterwards.

And then a year later, I was writing this script based on my memories of what Vertigo was like.

And it was crazy to think that this movie that clearly is playing homage was done in such a way.

Because he couldn't just click a button, right?

But if I now want to pay homage to Hitchcock, I can press a button, I can see every frame of every movie and kind of dig into it all.

So you know, it's definitely when I'm trying to be positive about the state of things, I'm like, well, you know, this is a generation that is learning how to deal with information overload, and that will become their superpower.

And then I waste an hour on TikTok and it suddenly changed my mind.

GIANNI: Well, you've changed that one person's life who's put their hand up and realized he should concentrate on one screen at a time.

I'm really curious, at the moment there's a lot of talk in Hollywood, the Writers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, are currently striking for conditions.

One of the things that strikes me about this is, particularly from the screen actors, is they're concerned about performance capture and the reuse of performance.

That's something that happens in video games, par for the course.

That's something that happens all the time. Where do you think you land and what do you worry about for the future of the people who are acting in your games? Is it a concern for you?

SAM: Yeah, I'm definitely with them in that.

You know, even when I was doing motion capture, like for me, the only way, it's not the only way, but suddenly the best way for me to tell a story is to have actors on it.

Because as a writer, director, I'm trying to, I'm trying to give the player the tools to do something interesting. And then as a writer, I'm trying to create this very dense, rich world for them to extract things from, right. And I particularly, I'm interested in stories where things are in the subtext, where things do have to be extracted and drawn out by the player.

And this amazing tool for doing that is the actor, right? If you spend all this time thinking of all the research, planning this giant spreadsheet of stuff in this entire world that you're squeezing down into some lines of dialogue with subtext and some actions on screen, actors are just incredible at taking that.

Reabsorbing all of the information and then kind of uncompressing it for the audience beautifully.

So, you know, for me, it's hard to imagine skipping that step because I think that's how you get things which are more genuine and authentic.

I think, you know, even where we're doing motion capture, the state of the art in motion capture is how can we get closer to the human being, right?

How can we get what shows up in the game to be as fantastic as what we saw on the stage, which was always the challenge for me in kind of 2000s technology, was I'd look at the video that we'd captured on the day and be like, oh my God, that's so beautiful.

I'm so moved, this is an incredible performance.

And then you'd see the version in the game engine and it didn't have that nuance, right?

So the goal in the game side of things has always been how can we take all of that lovely humanity that the actors have or the subtlety and technique they have and get that on screen.

And certainly the thing everyone's upset about is the use of AI, the use of likenesses in combination with AI so that, you know, they've already done it, right?

If you're a background actor in a Disney show, they've already scanned your face.

And so the next show they shoot, when they need a bunch of background actors, maybe they can press a button and fill in some stuff.

And they could argue it doesn't matter as much because they're background actors.

And then, you know, there's a slippery slope. And at some point, you just have things which are less authentic.

Like the bit that kills me with it is human beings aren't that expensive. And it's true of the writing a lot of this with the art. Like before, before generative art, no one was going down, they just aren't enough people creating paintings, right? Before generative text, people weren't going, there's not enough people writing books. In fact, there's probably too many people writing books, right? There's there is not a shortage. If I walk into a bookstore, I'm never like, Crap, I used them all up. I read them all.

Where's the new books? We seem to be trying to use tech to solve problems that don't exist, because there are more actors than can work.

We have this huge resource of actors to come in and bring characters to life.

It seems like there are useful things that this technology could help with, but the point where it replaces the human resource that is plentiful, it just seems like that will lead us to more mediocre things.

I'm with them. I often see the counter-argument of like, well, it's not really going to replace people, is it?

Have you read an AI script?

That's missing the point because clearly, no one is going to want to go watch a movie written by an AI.

But what it will allow the studios to do is go, we've already written half of it with an AI, you finish it off, we'll pay you half as much money.

Or come in and do this acting work. We only need you for two days, not four days, because we're gonna do some generative stuff.

We don't need to call you back for reshoots because we can just reprogram your lips, right?

These are the technologies where it just seems like it's not ever gonna replace the human factor.

It's just gonna be a lever to pay people less money so that we can put more money in the pockets, of the people who already have too much money.

So yeah, I have full solidarity with the struggle that's going on right now.

GIANNI: I want my robots to be doing my housework, folding my laundry rather than making my art and my music.

I think that's a pretty common refrain from a lot of people.

Sam Barlow, you'll be out in Sydney for South by Southwest in the 15th, between the 15th and 22nd of October, that's when the festival runs. Thank you so much for joining me on Lightmap.

I feel like we could probably talk for hours more if we had the time, but I appreciate you coming on the show.

SAM: Thank you, it's been fun. Yeah, I could just keep going. you'd have to tranquilize me at some point.

PROMO: Australia's best video game podcast. This is Lightmap.

Get every episode free on Apple Podcast, Spotify and

GIANNI: You can find links to everything we talked about on our website, which is

Read more about some of the other games and guests that we've featured on the Lightmap podcast or on our other two podcasts, Walkthrough, which is our news podcast, or our new one, Drop Rate, which is reviews.

SIFTER is produced by Fiona Bartholomaes, Daniel Ang, Adam Christou, Chris Button, Mitch Lowe is our Senior Producer, and my name is Gianni DiGiovanni and I'm the Executive Producer.

While you're online, why not check out SIFTER's Discord? You can find a great community of creative folk who are doing really cool things, sharing the stuff that they're making with us, game developers, artists, musicians, and more.

That's at That address, again,

And you probably hear podcasts ask this a fair bit, but if you can leave a rating and review on any of our three podcasts about what you liked about the show, it actually really does make a big difference.

It does. It might sound like you hear that a lot, but it actually does make a big difference.

So tell us what you think.

Drop a review into any of our three podcasts. Lightmap our interview show, Walkthrough our new show, or Drop Rate our review show.

Just search for SIFTER in your favorite podcast player and give us a rating, and that'll make a huge difference to people being able to find our work.

That's all the time we have for this episode. Until next time, have fun.

No items found.
full motion video (FMV)


Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid
Half Mermaid
Release Date:
August 30, 2022

The FTC hits back at Xbox Game Pass price hike

July 21, 2024

Diving into MAGIC THE GATHERING's Assassin's Creed set as a fan of the video games

July 16, 2024

Xbox finally increases Game Pass prices, restricts day one access to games

July 14, 2024
© 2022 Sifter. All Rights Reserved.
. .