A Wee Bit More On The Chinese Room’s Total Dark

Earlier this year, The Chinese Room (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Dear Esther) announced its next game, Total Dark. Ut was expected to be some sort of isometric adventure with RPG mechanics but we didn’t hear much else after that.

The developers have now resurfaced from wherever it was they disappeared to with fresh news of their latest game. Total Dark, it turns out, is quite demanding on a mechanical level, so the team is taking as much time as necessary to really hash out all of the details and get things right.

The Chinese Room plans on hammering out the foundations until as late as next summer, so we might be waiting quite some time before we get to see Total Dark in action. Despite the game’s early state, the team was kind enough tell everyone more about what sort of game it’s shaping up to be.

So far, Total Dark is looking like a third person RPG in which players have five core stats that can decrease when you encounter dangers around you. As the game stands now, you’ll explore the world while maintaining these stats, collecting loot in typical RPG fashion. Total Dark’s got an inventory system and branching dialogue and the team also mentioned a “special sauce bit” which seems quite mysterious.

It’s all very rudimentary. In fact, the game is likely to get a new name entirely. The Chinese Room does have some of the story worked out, although it’s limited to three bullet points at the moment:

  • In 2016, in a basement of the local history department at Bangor University, there‚Äôs a pocket universe nineteen inches across…
  • In 1941, SIS agent Anna Dornstein leaps from a plane above North Wales in search of bier roads, and vanishes…
  • In 1887, on a dark February night, all the clocks in Holyhead begin to strike thirteen…

On top of all of that juicy gossip, The Chinese Room is working on another project they plan on announcing in a few months. They certainly know how to keep busy.


  1. Penguin_Factory says:

    When they announced they were making an isometric RPG called Total Dark I was sort of disappointed, because I instantly pictured some generic fantasy thing set in, like, caves or whatever. This seems a *lot* more intriguing.

  2. Matt_W says:

    As long as Jessica Curry is doing the soundtrack, I’m in.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Sorry – the news isn’t great.

      • qrter says:

        Actually, in that blog she says she will still be making music for The Chinese Room’s games, while stepping back from (part-)running the company.

        Which doesn’t take anything away from the sad news about her health, or how she’s sort of being ignored within the games industry.

  3. TechnicalBen says:

    Those story bites sound like they were inspired by Blendo Games. :D

  4. UncleBAZINGA says:

    I really enjoyed Dear Esther and Rapture deeply and even while I expected something more like those for their next game I’m yet excited to see what they come up with as a isometric RPG. This plus Jessica’s soundtrack and I’m all in.