Posts Tagged ‘The Chinese Room’

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 »

Have You Played… Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I’ve a love/not-hate-but-something-gentler-in-the-general-ballpark-of-disappointment relationship with Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, The Chinese Room’s follow-up to Dear Esther. 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 »

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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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.

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Tears In Rain: Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture

I was hoping to finish Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture [official site] on Friday so that I could share my thoughts with the bold members of the RPS Supporter Program. Friday night turned into Saturday morning and I was still playing, however, and I only managed to finish very late last night. In an extension of observations I shared with Supporters last night, here are some personal reflections on the game and how it provoked memories of childhood holidays and class-based anxieties.

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Wot I Think: Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture [official site] is The Chinese Room’s newly-on-PC game about exploring an English village in the hopes of finding out where everyone’s get to. I played it when it came out on PS4 a while back but I’ve just worked my way through the PC version and can now tell you Wot I Think:

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Everybody’s Going To Have Gone To The Rapture

The Chinese Room’s Bafta-winning game, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture [official site], is coming to Steam on 14 April. That’s tomorrow, if you’re reading this on the day of publication. So I guess at the moment it’s Everybody Will Have Gone To The Rapture. Everybody’s Going To Have Gone To The Rapture? Everybody’s Fine Where They Are Right Now But Maybe Not So Much In The Near Future?

I played it on PS4 when it first came out – it’s perhaps best described as an interactive radio play with a peculiarly British sci-fi bent and a beautiful soundtrack. I remember I wasn’t mad keen on the interaction mechanisms but I’ll definitely go through it again and offer up current opinions (and probably take a millionty thousand screenshots).

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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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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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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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Wot I Think: Amnesia – A Machine For Pigs


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

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

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


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.”

Dear Esther Ready To Go For Early 2012

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.

Remade Dear Esther To Get Full Release

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.