Still Life is a 2005 computer adventure game by Microïds. While not sharing its name, Still Life is a sequel to Post Mortem. A sequel, Still Life 2, was released in 2009. The game has since sold 240,000 copies worldwide.
A major theme throughout the game is art, especially the technique of still life that the game is named after. The game also uses a storytelling device of switching back and forth between two player characters.
FBI Special Agent Victoria McPherson is investigating a series of brutal murders in 2004 Chicago. While visiting her father for Christmas she discovers an old notebook that belonged to her grandfather, private investigator Gustav McPherson. Victoria is surprised to learn that Gus had been involved with investigating a very similar series of murders in 1920s Prague. The player alternates between these two characters as they work to hunt down what seems to be the same serial killer more than 70 years apart.
In both cases the murderer targets sex trade workers: street prostitutes in Prague, and employees of an exclusive Chicago massage parlor and S&M club called the Red Lantern. The killer or killers are disguised in a dark cloak, top hat, and silver mask.
Gus eventually identifies the man responsible for the Prague murders, but the killer escapes justice and relocates to America. Near the end of the game Victoria discovers that similar murders occurred in 1931 Chicago and later in 1956 Los Angeles.
The identity of the 2004 Chicago killer is never revealed. Victoria encounters him several times, but never sees behind his mask. She does not believe he is the same person as the Prague killer, but rather a younger person who has been influenced by the Prague killer in some way. At the climax of the game Victoria manages to shoot the Chicago killer, but the body falls into the Chicago river. As the game ends, the Chicago police are still dredging the river for the killer's body. Victoria plans to travel to Los Angeles to learn more about the 1956 killings.
Ending / sequel
A controversy surrounding the game is its lack of an ending. Originally planned as the second of a trilogy, with Post Mortem as the first, Still Life ends without revealing the villain. The story was meant to continue in a third game, but it seemed unlikely that the finalé would ever be made, as part of the development arm of Microïds in Canada was bought out by Ubisoft. However, on December 6, 2007, Microïds announced the development of a sequel, Still Life 2, which was released in 2009. The mysterious serial killer's identity will apparently be revealed in the sequel. On September 19, 2008 a new Still Life series website was opened, covering the three games.
Still Life: Prelude
Still Life: Prelude was a section of the game which continued on the game's website, but is not online anymore. It placed you once again in control of Victoria McPherson investigating cases prior to those encountered in the main Still Life game plot.
- Victoria McPherson - An FBI agent, Granddaughter of Gus; one of the player's characters (Sarah Leger)
- David Miller - Chicago Police/FBI Officer (Arthur Holden)
- Claire Ashby - Chicago Police/FBI Coroner (Pauline Little)
- William Tate - Chicago Police Officer (Terrance Scammel)
- Todd Browning - Chicago FBI Chief (Terrance Scammel)
- Vaclav Kolar - Chicago University Tutor (Harry Standjofski)
- Patrick McPherson - Father to Victoria, son of Gustav and Milena (A. J. Henderson)
- Richard Valdez - Boyfriend of Victoria; works at Chicago Art Gallery (Marcel Jeannin)
- Bouncer Mr. Zero - Bouncer at Chicago Red Lantern Club (Terrance Scammel)
- Mia Holmes - Works at Red Lantern Club; Neighbour of Kolar (Jennifer Seguin)
- Roslyn Checa - 1st Chicago Victim
- Elizabeth Walmsley - 2nd Chicago Victim
- Shannon Braeme - 3rd Chicago Victim
- Natalie Kenworth - 4th Chicago Victim
- Cynthia Woods - 5th Chicago Victim
- Stephanie Wallace - 6th Chicago Victim
- Gustav McPherson - Private Detective, first featured in the game Post Mortem. (Sven Eriksson)
- Jiří Skalnic - Prague Police Investigator (Mark Camacho)
- Kazimír Stašek - Prague Police Officer (Marcel Jeannin)
- Emil Korona - Prague Coroner (A. J. Henderson)
- Mark Ackerman - American Artist (Arthur Holden)
- The Crow Man - Coachman in Prague (Arthur Holden)
- Patrick Bell - US Embassy in Prague (Marcel Jeannin)
- Otokar Kubina - Prague Pimp; Owns Lingerie shop (Harry Standjofski)
- Petr Jesenský - Henchman for Kubina in Prague; Brother of Roman (Terrance Scammel)
- Roman Jesenský - Henchman for Kubina in Prague; Brother of Petr (Terrance Scammel)
- Ida Skaličková - Prostitute in Prague; Gustav's Girlfriend (Sarah Leger)
- Milena - Prostitute in Prague; Gustav's wife (Claudia Besso)
- Apolena - Prostitute in Prague (Jennifer Seguin)
- Vladana Tominová - Prostitute in Prague; Benefactor for bridge (Holly Gauthier-Frankel)
- Františka - Prostitute/Victim in Prague
- Anežka - Prostitute/Missing in Prague
- Annika Vitti - Prostitute/Victim in Prague
- Sasha - Prostitute/Victim in Prague
- Katarina Bulgari - Prostitute/Victim in Prague
- Nadia Burkowski - Prostitute/Victim in Prague
- Herbert Ackerman - Ambassador; Father of Mark
- Michael Harrison - Los Angeles Police Officer
- List of Still Life characters
Still Life was made with Virtools applications; the same software as Post Mortem and some other Microïds games. The point and click gameplay is also based on the first two games in the Syberia franchise.
Lead character biographies
- Gustav McPherson is a Private Detective, who grew up in New York City. In the mid-1920s Gustav moved to Paris and took up the profession of an Artist. In 1925 a mysterious woman, Sophia Blake, hired Gustav to investigate the murders at the Orphee Hotel, of her 'sister' and brother-in-law. This mystery unfolded into a paranormal encounter with an item called the 'Head of Baphomet', which would give eternal life to its beholder. In 1929 Gustav was enlisted by his then girlfriend Ida to investigate the murders of multiple prostitutes in Prague. While uncovering that the murderer was also an artist, Ida herself was murdered causing Gustav to be distraught. Gustav, Vladanna Tominoka and Milena fled the murderer by working their way back to America. Gustav and Milena settled in Chicago, where they married and had a son, Patrick McPherson. In 1932 Gustav also stole some FBI files related to the murders, which he later passed on in 1956 to a police officer in Los Angeles, Michael Harrison. Harrison was investigating murders which were almost identical to the ones in Prague.
- Victoria McPherson is an FBI Agent working in Chicago. She is the daughter of Patrick and granddaughter of Gustav. As a child she loved listening to her grandfather's stories and would later find herself entangled in similar circumstances to one of Gustav's cases. Later in her career Victoria was sent to work in Maine.
- "Encore to Release Still Life 2 - Sequel to Still Life". PR Newswire. Encore. 2009-05-05. http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-05-2009/0005019349&EDATE=. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- Ubisoft Montréal enters into an agreement to acquire Microïds Canada's development operations. Ubisoft (2005-03-02). Retrieved on 2008-07-03
- Microïds announces Still Life 2. Microïds (2007-12-06). Retrieved on 2008-07-03
- Still Life project. Virtools Applications. Archived from the original on May 28, 2007 Retrieved on 2007-07-07
- Still Life Review (PDF). Virtools Applications/Adventure Gamers (2004-12-20). Retrieved on 2008-07-03