Posts Tagged ‘Dear Esther’

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 make walking sims. I don’t know why they mention walk ’em ups after Pip and I settled once and for all that Dear Esther and Rapture are not walking simulators, but there you go. Read the rest of this entry »

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 Source engine version and mod heritage. That’s nice. Read the rest of this entry »

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 what would you say were your criteria?

Alice: That… they surfaced readily in this trash heap of a memory? Which meant they struck me for some reason. I think I picked walking simulators with a spread of form and tone, all quite different but all games where you can mostly just walk around. Some fun! Some colourful! Some spooky! Some so linear they’re literally on rails.

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

screenshot of Dear Esther in which it is quite dark

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.

As well as providing us with some of the first details about Total Dark, he discussed the continuing influence of Esther, and the ways in which ‘walking simulators’ are returning to their first-person adventure roots.

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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 selecting a release date and marketing the game, as they did with Helldivers when it came to PC late last year.

But it’s coming. The rapture is coming.

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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 rumours that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture [official site] had showed up in the Steam database are now being compounded by more apparent evidence, though absolutely nothing is for certain until there’s an official announcement. I really, really hope it’s true, though.
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5 Reasons Why I Play Games

1) Passivity makes me fidgety. Even in a film, TV show, gig or novel I’m hugely enjoying, my mind will at some point drift to the clock, wondering how soon until it ends, how soon until I can stand up or talk or check something or eat something or go somewhere. Awful, I know. Games, broadly, need me to be doing something most of the time, and that is the greatest weapon I have against a propensity to boredom that I am not at all proud of. This is also why I start to go spare in something like StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, as it spends so much of its duration pummelling me with particularly low-grade passive storytelling, and my frustration that I have to watch this nonsense instead of do things for myself goes through the roof.

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Englishness

Warning: in this piece I’m primarily talking about Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, which isn’t out on PC as yet, though I’ll willingly devour at least one item of clothing if it doesn’t walk this way eventually. Anyway, I talk about STALKER and Dear Esther too, so everything’s OK.

Playing The Chinese Room’s new game, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, what strikes me almost immediately is not the mystery, the science fiction trappings or even the extreme prettiness. It’s that I’m in England. A very particular England.
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Self-Interviewing Devs: Proteus And “Walking Simulators”

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 »

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 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

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

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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