MISSING: An Interactive Thriller Ep. 1 Review – FMV Doesn’t Have to be a Four Letter Word

FMV (Full Motion Video); it used to be four letter in the video gaming world.

Veteran gamers ruefully remember those early attempts at FMV which were heavily pixelated, postage stamp sized video clips. As video encoding evolved both the size of the video playback and its quality has improved to near cinematic levels. Still, the number of truly successful FMV video games can be counted on one hand;  Gabriel Knight 2 – The Beast Within and the Tex Murphy Detective series come to mind to name a few. Now a new FMV entry has come from Montreal based developer , Zandel Media.

Zandel Media aims to carve a new path in the FMV gaming genre by billing MISSING as an interactive thriller. Essentially the game is a blend of a crime TV show with video game sensibilities. To accomplish that, MISSING uses professional actors to play out the roles and employs viewing angles that are very cinematic. The quality of the video is top notch – the game runs at 1080p and 60 fps. There are settings available to tailor the game to run at lower settings if your PC is not capable of running at HD resolution.


” Zandel Media aims to carve a new path in the FMV gaming genre by billing MISSING as an interactive thriller, a blend of a crime TV show with video game sensibilities.”

The game opens with a man awakening to find himself hanging chained by his wrists. The room he awakens is industrial and feels abandoned. It is up to the player to search the screen for action cues that free the man from his chains and sets him on his journey to escape the building he is in. Along the way we find out the prisoner has a family with a wife and several children through photos left in various areas. These types of visual cues, alongside the actor portraying the prisoner, help build empathy with the protagonist enabling the player to become invested emotionally.

While the imprisoned family man searches for a way out, a police officer is investigating the abduction of the man starting with his abandoned vehicle. We learn through this sequence that the detective has seen this type of abduction before and the outcome has always been grim. So within a short amount of playing time, MISSING has deftly set up the stakes involved.

Game play follows the traditional mechanics for FMV games with the player collecting items and clues to continue advancing the story. Of the 45 minutes of game play in the first episode, the puzzles have been fair and at times require thoughtful analysis. Considering how hokey FMV games of old looked and played this game feels very polished. The transition from recorded sequences to game play is seamless.

The over thirty-five years of combined game making experience that Zandel Media co-founders, Simon and Flavie Tremblay have had with such game developers as Ubisoft, Eidos, and Electronic Arts is reflected in this first episode of MISSING. Mystery and thriller fans looking for a slick and intriguing game would do well to check it out. MISSING has found the right mix of technical and artistic elements.

*** PC code provided by publisher ***

The Good


The Bad