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.