Every now and then, a video game pops up that is so breathtaking, not just in its graphical design or in its execution, but in its most basic idea, that it affects us as people, not just players or customers. Dear Esther is one of those games, and instead of an idea, it has a message. A message conveyed through non-linear interactive story-telling. Long ago, in mid-2009, master level designer Robert Briscoe took it upon himself to create a Dear Esther remake.
Fast forward to early 2011, when this re-imagining had become so beloved, and so impressive in graphics and production value, that it was decided to turn it into an independent Source game. Since then, using the current Source codebase (the Portal 2 engine), Robert and co. have done even more amazing things with Dear Esther. In December, they announced that the game would be released on Valentine’s Day 2012. But that doesn’t mean they’re cutting us off from new media! Not at all, as they have just released an incredible new launch trailer!
Believe it or not, this is the first trailer they’ve ever released. And it is amazing! Check it out:
This is the official blog post for the trailer’s release. Also mentioned was Dear Esther’s first review, courtesy of EDGE Magazine. They gave it a mere 8/10, although supposedly, the review was quite positive. And something else rather important that was mentioned was Dear Esther’s new, and official Steam Store page, although the game cannot currently be pre-purchased. System specs may or may not be currently up (there are some specs on the main page, but they are actually so lenient and generous that I’m worried they might simply be placeholders… either that or this is the most finely optimized game in a VERY long while), but a different blog post revealed the game’s exact pricing:
United States - $9.99
United Kingdom - £6.99
Europe, Zone 1 (Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland) - €7.99
Europe, Zone 2 (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Vatican City) - €6.99
Russian Federation - 249RU
Commonwealth of Independent States - $7.99
The prices cannot currently be seen on the game’s Store page, but they are all in place for the game’s launch on Valentine’s Day. There will be no pre-purchase… which is a shame, but fair enough. I might be saving up for a possible collector’s edition anyway, so it makes no difference for me. In addition, Dear Esther has received 4 award nominations at the Independent Games Festival (14th annual edition). The nominations are “Excellence in Visual Art”; “Excellence in Audio”; “Nuovo” and the “Suemas McNally Grand Prize”. The awards take place on the 7th of March, so they won’t be judging the game before it comes out, which is good. Maybe they’ll win too!
Not much else to talk about on the Dear Esther front – apart from a month-old post from Robert Briscoe’s Devblog, where he discusses Dear Esther going into beta. It’s an interesting read, and it features a unique look at the evolution, then de-evolution, then re-evolution of Dear Esther during its lengthy development. Valentine’s Day never felt so far away, did it? Of course, in the mean time, you could play the original Dear Esther. Sure, you might get spoiled a bit, but think of it as playing Black Mesa, having played Half-Life 1. It’ll definitely improve your experience.