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HIITS: Serious Games For Hands-on Interview and Interrogation Training

Hands-On Interview and Interrogation Training System (HIITS),  developed by SIMmersion LLC, was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Serious Game Showcase and Challenge in the Business Category, one of the seven award categories of the SGS&C, at the 2013 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) held in Orlando, FL, December 2013.

To solicit valid confessions, criminal investigators utilize a complex combination of skills, including building rapport, detecting deception, and identifying motivation. Repeated practice with feedback is required to develop these skills; they cannot be acquired through workshops alone.

Hands-On Interview and Interrogation Training System (HIITS) provides realistic and engaging experience that immerses players in an interrogation with Jennifer Lerner, the prime suspect in a classified document theft. With the help of an on-screen coach, players must carefully select interview tactics and use Jennifer’s video-recorded responses to correctly determine her innocence or elicit a confession.


Sensitive files have gone missing, and their loss could have catastrophic effects on the organization. Jennifer Lerner, hardworking and diligent, a dedicated mother of two, seems like an unlikely suspect. However, she is one of only three employees with access to this classified information. As the lead investigator on her case, it is imperative that you determine whether or not Jennifer took the files. If she is guilty, you must discover her motive and use it to solicit a confession. 

The conversation engine guarantees that no two conversations will play the same.

At the end of their training, players will have mastered detecting deception, recognizing markers of truth, assessing veracity, and soliciting confessions. Users can refer back to the learning materials to refresh their knowledge of interviewing techniques, behavioral indicators, and signs of deception. On-screen assistance is also available through a help coach who provides real-time feedback. Through post-conversation assessments, users will be able to gauge their progress and identify areas for improvement. They can also try to "beat the game" by soliciting an admissible confession from each character-type.

HIITS is most successful in establishing a platform for repeated practice of complex criminal investigation skills that can’t be acquired through traditional approaches. Developers have managed to come up with a highly engaging vehicle to not only develop and practice but, above all, refining the skills that are binding to conduct an effective investigative interview.

Gameplay enables players to select interview tactics and e.g. experience first-hand the upside of building rapport through inquiry as opposed to advocacy, and paraphrasing as opposed to stacking the conversation. The same applies to a number of other advanced investigation skills such as reflective listening, detecting deception, identifying motivation, correctly determining innocence or soliciting confessions.

Although user interface is almost 100% anchored on recorded videos, developers achieved a breakthrough through most engaging game mechanics and contextual learning.