Posts Tagged ‘Dear Esther’

Have You Played… Dear Esther?

By Alec Meer on November 1st, 2014.

Perhaps the prototypical walking simulator, Dear Esther is a source of some division among the RPS Hivemind – John’s not at all taken with it – but I often catch my mind’s eye returning to its maudlin Hebridean coast.
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Self-Interviewing Devs: Proteus And “Walking Simulators”

By Alice O'Connor on June 28th, 2014.

I've returned to this particular Proteus island many times. But am I simulating walking or exploring or wandering or dreaming or?

I’ve discovered a novel way to conduct interviews: tweet vaguely about something you’re interested in, then wait for two game designers you like and respect to have a chat about it and send you the logs. I carefully laid my bait: “I use ‘walking simulator’ warmly and earnestly. I adore walking around looking at stuff and reflecting. Walking is great! Sim it to the max.”

The trap snared my chums Ed Key and Ricky Haggett. Ed created walking simulator Proteus while Ricky is working on Hohokum, a dicking-about sim for PlayStations which might, with fewer puzzles, be called a walking simulator. Unsuspecting, they discussed Proteus, the ‘genre,’ exploring and wandering, and what a “walking simulator” even is. Afterwards they decided “Just email it to Alice,” rather than blog about the chat themselves. “She can turn it into ‘news,'” they said. Suckers!

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The Old City Is Mysterious, Narrated With Shatnerian Flair

By Nathan Grayson on April 29th, 2014.

Not a screenshot from Dishonored, surprisingly enough!

As I watched early but surprisingly polished footage of The Old City, I was stricken by a few standout qualities: 1) it’s a very handsomely atmospheric game, wreathed in glittering flecks of Dishonored and Half-Life, 2) there are dying whales and I feel very bad for them, and 3) the narrator delivers his lines with the stop-go car crash thunderstorm cadence of William Shatner. The narrator in question is very clearly not good ol’ Captain Kirk, but still. Phrasing much of what you say such! That it reads like this! Evokes the famed starship captain/lawyer/Priceline mascot! Whether you intend it to or not! The whole package really does seem quite lavishly produced, though. It’s a story-focused exploration game about… well, an old city, presumably. Also philosophy. Developer PostMod Softworks is being pretty vague beyond that, but there’s plenty to watch, if nothing else.

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SOMA’s Grip On BioShock Comparisons, Indie Influences

By Nathan Grayson on April 10th, 2014.

SOMA didn’t scare the scuba suit off me, but I did find a creeping sort of potential in its soaked-to-the-bone corridors. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2 this ain’t. Or at least, it’s not aiming to be. Currently, it still feels a lot like a slower-paced, less-monster-packed Amnesia in a different (though still very traditionally survival-horror-y) setting, but Frictional creative director Thomas Grip has big plans. I spoke with him about how he hopes to evolve the game, inevitable comparisons to the Big Daddy of gaming’s small undersea pond, BioShock, why simple monster AI is better than more sophisticated options, the mundanity of death, and how SOMA’s been pretty profoundly influenced by indie mega-hits like Dear Esther and Gone Home.

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Dear Esther, Mirror’s Edge Artist Goes To Valve

By Nathan Grayson on March 13th, 2014.

Mirror's Edge 2 confirmed for Half-Life 3

Valve might prefer to be extra super special secret quiet about it, but they do, in fact, still make games. And games, well, they tend to be more enjoyable when they’re easy on the eyes. Now that I have cracked the eons-old mystery of Why Games Have Graphics, let’s get down to business: Valve has scooped up Mirror’s Edge and Dear Esther gorgeous vista warlock Robert Briscoe. Good for Valve, because Briscoe is astoundingly talented. But wait, wasn’t he in the process of moving Dear Esther’s painterly world into Unity’s less-costly frame? What’s going on there?

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2 Years After Release, Dear Esther Moves To A New Engine

By Alec Meer on February 18th, 2014.

Bad news for anyone holding out for Dear Esther 2: The Legend of Jakobson’s Gold – The Chinese Room’s next step for their maudlin, poetic Taking A Walk game is to remake it. Again.

In practical terms – i.e. how this will affect people who want to play the game – this is perhaps a bit of an unstory, but the shock choice to port the game from Source to Unity is a fascinating peek behind the developmental curtain. Why, after using it for the first two editions of Dear Esther, would programmer Robert Biscoe now want to leave Valve’s engine behind?
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Complimenti, Bella Atmosfera: Forgive Me

By Alec Meer on January 10th, 2014.

I’m firing blind to some degree here, as 1) the trailer’s in Italian 2) the website’s poorly translated and 3) the demo they sent me a) isn’t made public yet and b) doesn’t include much more than going for a walk.

However 1) That and the cheesy music reminds me of Inspector Montalbano 2) well, this one’s no bastion of English grammar either 3) a) most of it’s in the below video b) I like going for a walk.

While Dear Esther, Proteus and Gone Home comparisons are likely unavoidable, Forgive Me is more precisely a semi-open world adventure game about suicide, mystery and a spooky, possibly mystical tower in some very pretty but bleak countryside that reminds me a little of Morrowind.
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On Edge: A Chat With Robert Briscoe

By Duncan Harris on October 23rd, 2013.


This is the latest in the series of articles about the art technology of games, in collaboration with the particularly handsome Dead End Thrills.

Robert Briscoe is obviously not the only great environment artist in games, and it’s a bit weird to say he has a singular portfolio after working on just two titles. What makes it a lot easier is if you think in terms of levels: The Shard, Jacknife, Reflex, Velocity (from Mirrors Edge and its DLC); The Lighthouse, The Cave, The Beacon (from Dear Esther). All masterpieces up there with BioShock’s Welcome To Rapture, Half-Life 2’s Point Insertion and – quick, think of something slightly less distinguished to prove worldliness – that level in Robocod made out of Penguin bars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dear Esther Dev’s Rapture No Longer Coming To PC

By Nathan Grayson on August 22nd, 2013.

Hello, everyone. I come bearing some extremely depressing news. The rapture’s happening soon, but not to us. Hm, well jeez, when I phrase it that way, it doesn’t sound terrible at all. What I mean to say is, Dear Esther developer thechineseroom’s next non-Amnesia game, the super fascinating Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, is no longer coming to PC – at all, for the foreseeable future. Sony’s nabbed it for its burgeoning army of indie exclusives, so I guess that means it’s not allowed to love us anymore. I reached out to thechineseroom’s Dan Pinchbeck, and he confirmed the bad news.

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Goodness: Humble Bundle 8 Has Hotline Miami, Proteus

By Nathan Grayson on May 29th, 2013.

I wish people took me seriously every time *I* put on a chicken mask.

You know, I never really thought about it before, but I think Proteus and Hotline Miami are videogame inverses. One’s about languidly strolling around a neon-bubblegum dreamscape paradise while the other’s about blink-and-you’ll-be-on-the-receiving-end-of-it murder in an entirely different kind of neon-bubblegum dreamscape “paradise”. They are one anther’s bizarro twin, eternally opposed but forever intertwined. Also, they’re in the latest Humble Indie Bundle together, which is neat. And neater still? Probably the fact that they’re joined by Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, and Dear Esther. Yeah, eight is pretty great. Or something.

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Mario And Dear Esther Walk Into An Absinthe Bar: Spate

By Nathan Grayson on March 9th, 2013.

A prime vacation destination if I've ever seen one.

Spate looks positively bonkers. I mean that both in terms of the gloriously bizarre sensibilities that peer – with one lidless, unblinking eye – from the depths of its island’s mysterious nethers and the relative sanity of its grief-stricken main character. He’s a noir detective who’s dealing with the death of his daughter, so he’s taken up a powerful absinthe habit to numb the pain. Naturally, it manifests as a gameplay mechanic. “At the click of a button the character can take a swig of absinthe. This temporarily gives the player higher jumping and faster running abilities. But, it also makes him hallucinate, which changes the world both visually and physically. The mechanic is meant to mirror the emotional seesaw battle of drinking.” Heavy stuff. Perhaps too heavy? I suppose we’ll see. For now, though, peep a couple of incredibly impressive-looking trailers after the break.

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Mirror’s Edge, Skyrim, More To Get Oculus Rift Support

By Nathan Grayson on January 11th, 2013.

Don't look down don't look down don't look down.

I preemptively think I’m gonna be sick. Don’t get me wrong: there are few things in this world I want more than Oculus Rift virtual reality for my mad dash through Mirror’s Edge‘s theme park of parkour, but now that it’s probably going to happen, I realize that I should probably bid farewell to any lunches I’ve had in the past couple months. And who will I have to thank for my sudden bouts of violent nausea? Interestingly, it won’t be EA. Instead, a third-party toolset called Vireio Perception is primed to add Rift support to Mirror’s Edge and other older titles.

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Esther In The Headlights: Dear Esteban

By Adam Smith on November 19th, 2012.

A windmill. But what is wind? And what does utilitarianism have to do with the price of oatcakes?

This is the very first time that you have been here before. The whales are watching you. They know what you did. What did you do? Ask the whales but they won’t tell you because they are silent. Mysteriously silent. You probably killed someone and it might have been an accident but there’s almost definitely blood on your hands or lipstick on your collar, or a ghost in your shoe. The hills have the answers but they’re as quiet as the whales. Only the wind has a voice and it whispers so quietly that all you can make out is a name. Esteban. Download Dear Esteban to learn the truth about your past and that girl with the eighties hair. It’s free.

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