Posts Tagged ‘The Chinese Room’

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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Wot I Think: Amnesia – A Machine For Pigs

By Jim Rossignol on September 9th, 2013.


Fear is the event of the season. We shouldn’t be surprised. As Ol’ Grandfather Gillen pointed out so long ago, it’s something that games are good at. It might be the thing that they are best at. Amnesia: The Dark Descent was one of the highlights in that regard: a world where vulnerability and atmospherics smothered you like the pillow in the hands of a maniac. Its sequel, A Machine For Pigs, wants to pull off the same tricks. Only more. Only worse.

The horror? The horror? Here’s wot I feel.

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Squeal: Amnesia – A Machine For Pigs Trailer

By Adam Smith on June 15th, 2012.

The first footage for Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs all but confirms that the machine in question is not a belly-tickling porcine laughter factory, so there’s my hopes of a My Little Piglet friendship simulator dashed to bits against a dank wall. From Dear Esther developers The Chinese Room and Frictional, the game looks much more like The Dark Descent than I’d expected, wavering vision, cowering and hideous unseen hunters all being present and horribly incorrect. There are also outdoor areas though, which immediately gives me hope for greater variety in locations and maybe even a stronger adventure element. Could be very special.

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The Beauty Of The Barren: Dear Esther

By Adam Smith on January 19th, 2012.

If this screengrab were taken a second later it would have a quote from 'Rock Paper Shotgun' emblazoned across it. Just think!

The fancy-dan version of Source-based island adventure Dear Esther causes ripples of excitement whenever it raises its haunted head, nowhere more so in recent times than at the IGF where it has received four nominations. However, there are important matters to take care of before its Valentine’s Day release. To that end, I have prepared several boxes so that we can put our heads together and decide which one Dear Esther belongs in. Perhaps a trailer will help us to choose?

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Dear Esther Arrives February 14th, At $10

By Jim Rossignol on December 8th, 2011.


I’ve been reading some interesting discussions about Dear Esther of late, with some folks maintaining that it’s “not even a game”. With just wandering about and some artful narration going for it, you can see why some people are sceptical about it being in the same category as all those other things, with their hi-score tables and their comprehensible rule sets, that currently sit in the big box of games. Whether or not it’s a game, you’re going to be able to pay $10 on Valentine’s Day next year, and wander lonesomely through its breath-takingly remade landscape. It really is quite an extraordinary thing to see, outdoing most mainstream games’ environment work with its lavish Source-powered rocks and weeds. The Chinese Room also announce that: “In other news, we can also confirm we will be speaking at GDC2012′s Game Design track about Dear Esther, the approach to environmental build, audio, voice-overs and storytelling.”

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Dear Esther Ready To Go For Early 2012

By Jim Rossignol on November 24th, 2011.

That really is a moon, you know.
Earlier in the year I lost my MP3 player with a bunch of untranscribed interviews on it. The most interesting of these recordings was an interview with Dan Pinchbeck, the games researcher who has turned to making games, starting with a remake of his Half-Life 2 mod, Dear Esther. The remake, which is being done with fabulous new art (above) in the Portal 2 engine, is apparently all but finished, and will appear in January or February next year. Hopefully, around that same time, I’ll be able to redo my interview with Dan and see what he’s learned from the process. Take a look through here for some more fantastic images of Pinchbeck’s spooky narrated explore ‘em up.

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Remade Dear Esther To Get Full Release

By Jim Rossignol on February 11th, 2011.

There's art in them there caves
Dan Pinchbeck of The Chinese Room has sent word that his spooky and emotive Half-Life 2 mod, Dear Esther, which is currently being rebuilt, again in the Source engine, will get a commercial release later this year. Pinchbeck’s transmission tells us that “The re-make features a completely new environment that pushes the Source engine into uncharted territory; a re-orchestrated soundtrack by composer Jessica Curry, new areas to explore and an expanded story.”

More on this soon, I say. And there are apparently details in this month’s PC Gamer UK.

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An Esther Binge: Korsakovia

By RPS on September 21st, 2009.

Kieron's flat has 3 toilets. Otherwise, it's unlike this.

[Everyone seemed to like what Master Lewis Denby wrote about Dear Esther last time. So when the mod-team behind it release a new project, we thought we’d better set him forth to examine it. And this is his report…]

In a sentence: it’s just really messed up.
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