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Dear Esther Indie Release To Be Supported By Indie Fund

News & Rumors Other

Dear Esther, first released in 2008 as a HL2 mod, tried to go beyond the barriers of ordinary gaming genres, by creating an experience that did not revolve around shooting or strategizing. It was an interactive, non-linear story of a stranded explorer on a barren island. Its visuals were crude, but its ideas and design were excellent, and it quickly garnered a cult following, and over 75,000 downloads.

Robert Briscoe (a level designer who’s worked on Nuclear Dawn, back when it was still a mod, and Mirror’s Edge), and all of the original designers from thechineseroom, have been working on a reimagining of Dear Esther since mid-2009.

After announcing that the mod would be going indie, with a commercial Source Engine license straight from Valve, thechineseroom have gone rather silent. But they have returned, presumably from the aforementioned abandoned island, to deliver some exciting news.

Dear Esther Indie Release To Be Supported By Indie Fund

Indie Fund is a funding source for independent developers, by independent developers. It aims to support the growth of indie games, by helping aspiring indie designers get funding for their projects. It’s a pretty awesome cause, and so far they’ve supported Monaco, Shadow Physics and QUBE, committing two thirds of their $700,000 budget. And they’ve just announced that Dear Esther will be the fourth title they support, partly because the University of Portsmouth pulled out of the project due to legal issues. thechineseroom found themselves with no backing or funding. Indie Fund came to the rescue, and now the team are a fully independent business, with more resources to make the game even better, even if it is near release.

What does this mean for Dear Esther? It means thechineseroom will now have even more resources to update the game’s visuals, audio and levels. Does this mean the game will cost us more? Quite the contrary! In an interview with Beefjack, Dan Pinchbeck, Esther’s lead designer, in an interview with BeefJack, stated that the team hopes to release Esther for under 10 dollars, “the same as a pack of cigarettes, a cinema ticket, a round of drinks”, as he puts it. In the same interview, he also said that he would like to create a limited edition hardcopy edition of the game, which would be more expensive, but would feature goodies such as a gatefold sleeve, an exclusive version of the game featuring “additional script”, a soundtrack CD, some concept art created by Ben Andrews, and a storyform version of the game as a short story. And I’ll tell you up front, I would most certainly buy that.

And again, in the same interview, Dan stated that the game is still on for the end of the summer, although it may slip into early autumn. Good to hear! So close, yet so far, though. BeefJack has more in their Dear Esther blowout. There’s also a great interview over at Gamasutra.

Robert Briscoe also posted about it on his devblog, giving some more detail on the situation, as well as giving us some delightful new screenshots.

Heh, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that’s actua- oh good lord. It’s… the Borealis? Except now it’s called the… “NEITHER DID HE EAT NOR DRINK”, which is exceptionally catchy. I guess it isn’t the Borealis.

And, finally, be sure to check out Podcast 17’s interview with thechineseroom. There’s also a bunch of older interviews you should check out, like this one with PC Gamer, this Q&A with Game Informer, and this other interview with PC Gamer. And you can always take a look at our older news articles, which are lying around here somewhere.

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  1. Very nice! I have, admittedly, never played the original mod. But I’ll wait until the game comes out, so I can get the best possible experience from it.

  2. )

  3. Why did I put 95Navigator as my name?! :

  4. 10 dollars?
    Still too much, sorry.
    Release it under 5 and were good.

  5. I’d buy the hard copy.

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