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Dear Esther

Dear Esther review

Lonely Island

87

8 months ago

Feature: Grim peaks.

Have you played… The Vanishing of Ethan Carter?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. Watching walking simulators evolve from the waffling emptiness of Dear Esther into remarkable narrative adventures like Firewatch and What Remains of Edith Finch has been one of my favourite spectator sports as a games journalist. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of the better stepping stones…

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11 months ago

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture devs hang up their walking boots

The Chinese Room, the studio behind Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and Dear Esther as well as Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, have laid off their development team and are "going dark" for a bit while they figure out "what happens next". Financial and personal pressures were too much, see, so they're taking a break. When they come back, they say, it won't be to…

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2 years ago

Dear Esther’s Landmark Edition wandering out Tuesday

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…

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Feature: First-person saunter

Alice And Pip: What Is (And Isn’t) A Walking Simulator?

Alice and Pip have been off wandering their way through digital worlds from Proteus to Sacramento and are now hobbling towards a shared definition of a walking simulator. Find out what conclusions they've reached and why their definition categorically does not include Dear Esther! Pip: Alice, when I asked you to recommend me your favourite walking simulators so I could go on some digital expeditions…

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Dear Esther Landmark Edition Brings PC Improvements

It's been a good four years since the remake of Dear Esther [official site] took us to a spooky-ooky Hebridean island but we're going a-wandering again soon. Remastered audio, an audio commentary from its makers, and more are coming our way thanks to a new version created for Dear Esther's console release as a 'Landmark Edition' - which will be a free update on PC.

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Feature: Lights out

After The Rapture: The Chinese Room’s Next Game, Total Dark, Is An Isometric RPG

The next game from the creators of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs and Dear Esther will be a systems-driven isometric adventure, inspired by tabletop RPGs and wargames. I spoke to The Chinese Room's studio director Dan Pinchbeck about the game, Total Dark, and he explained that he's wanted to make a game driven by RPG-style mechanics for a long time.…

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Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture PC Confirmed, Coming Soon

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture [official site], the latest from Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs developers The Chinese Room, is finally heading to PC. I spoke to studio head Dan Pinchbeck earlier this week and he told me that the completed PC port has now been delivered to Sony, who will be acting as publishers. Sony's role means they'll be responsible for…

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3 years ago

Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture May Be Steam-Bound

It always seemed likely that The Chinese Room's The-Archers-Do-The-Apocalypse follow up to Dear Esther would get a PC release eventually, both given that it was originally planned to before Sony waved a bunch of cash at them and because PC is surely its most natural home. However, the extent of Sony's involvement created a great deal of doubt about whether they'd possibly de-exclusify it. Earlier…

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4 years ago

Self-Interviewing Devs: Proteus And “Walking Simulators”

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."…

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The Old City Is Mysterious, Narrated With Shatnerian Flair

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…

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Feature: Creeping With The Fishes, Pt 1

SOMA’s Grip On BioShock Comparisons, Indie Influences

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.…

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Dear Esther, Mirror’s Edge Artist Goes To Valve

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…

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5 years ago

Complimenti, Bella Atmosfera: Forgive Me

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)…

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Feature: Reflecting On Things

On Edge: A Chat With Robert Briscoe

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…

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Feature: Everybody's Gone To The PS4

Dear Esther Dev’s Rapture No Longer Coming To PC

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…

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Goodness: Humble Bundle 8 Has Hotline Miami, Proteus

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…

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