The ‘Landmark Edition’ of seminal walky story Dear Esther [official site] will launch tomorrow, developers The Chinese Room have announced. It’s basically the same game, but remade in the Unity engine with a few tweaks and a director’s commentary. It’ll be free for everyone who already owns the original Dear Esther, and it sounds like it’ll be separate rather than strictly an ‘update’, preserving that Source engine version and mod heritage. That’s nice.
Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is a PC release of last year’s console version, which jumped engine to Unity. The Chinese Room worked in a few changes along the way, like new accessibility options including larger subtitles and a crosshair. Jessica Curry, Robert Briscoe, and Dan Pinchbeck also got together to make a director’s commentary, which comes (optionally) through little nodes scattered through levels in the Valve way.
It’ll launch tomorrow at 6pm GMT. February 14th is the fifth anniversary of Dear Esther’s commercial release (itself a remake of the 2008 Source mod), so this is a nice little celebration. Looking back in today’s announcement, The Chinese Room say:
“It’s been an amazing five years. Dear Esther is now recognised as a major title in gaming history, something we could never have predicted when we made it. Back then it was just a little game made with a lot of heart and passion. We made the best thing we could and didn’t expect much more than hoping a few people would like it and that we might make enough money to pay back what we’d borrowed. Five years down the line we’re an established studio and Dear Esther is widely cited as a genre-defining title.”