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Dear Esther: Landmark Edition Lands on PS4 Today

27 12
Dear Esther: Landmark Edition Lands on PS4 Today
12 Author Replies

Hi everyone, I’m Dan Pinchbeck from The Chinese Room. You might know us from last year’s Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture on PS4. Rapture told the story of how an apocalyptic event affected one small English village and the normal people caught up in the extraordinary event. Four years before Rapture, we launched Dear Esther, a game that would go on to have a big impact on how we craft our games.

Dear Esther: Landmark Edition Lands on PS4 Today

This tale of a desolate Scottish island started as a Half-Life 2 mod before getting a commercial PC release in 2012. Since then, Dear Esther has become a seminal title for some players and helped kick off a wave of “walking simulator” games. In the wake of this, we wanted to bring our game to a new home on PlayStation with new features for console players — so we created Dear Esther: Landmark Edition. The Landmark Edition sees the island remastered in Unity with a director’s commentary and those all-important trophies too.

One question we always get asked is: “What actually is Dear Esther?” It’s hard to describe the story of Dear Esther simply. It’s about love, loss, and redemption; about a car crash, a hermit, and an island that may be real or just a dream. Because each fragment of story is randomly selected, every playthrough offers new insights, but raises more questions. The remote places you’ll explore might not be threatening, but they’re haunted nonetheless. You’ll hear a voice reading fragments of letters as you venture across the windswept cliffs, you’ll see shapes in the distance that’ll be there one moment and gone the next. The meaning of all this is for you to uncover through signs and symbols scattered across the island. It’s a non-linear narrative that’s left open for you to think about and interpret your own way.

For us, Dear Esther was a project to explore the limits of what a first-person shooter could be, drawing inspiration from Doom and System Shock. I’m a huge fan of these two in particular — they’re precise and they know their design philosophy and hooks extremely well. We aimed for that in our own way with Dear Esther, trying to create something in the same design space as shooters. We wanted it to be as precise and immersive as the best of them, even if it lacked the guns. It’s this same philosophy that we carried over to Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture.

Coming back to Dear Esther has been a strange experience. As developers, we are so laser-focused on completing and shipping our current games that we don’t have time to think about our previous ones, That said, it’s honestly been a joy to revisit Dear Esther, we’re really proud of what we’ve made and it’s marvellous to see how it has influenced what we’ve gone on to create since. We are really pleased to bring Dear Esther: Landmark Edition to PS4. We hope it gets you thinking about the creative opportunities that lie just outside the established rules of game genres. But most importantly, we hope you enjoy the experience.

Thank you for reading,

Dan

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27 Comments

12 Author Replies

  • medenko1975

    will there be RETAIL too?

    • Oh, man, if Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and this were put in a retail collection…

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      Hi! We would love to have a retail version of Dear Esther; there are conversations happening right now, but nothing’s set in stone just yet. We’ll keep you posted!

  • Unity uh? Well, I guess I will wait for impressions because this engine usually doesn’t run too well.

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      Internal testing showed a fairly solid 55 to 60 FPS but I can understand you’d want an unbiased report ;)

    • Thanks for the reply! A solid 55-60fps sounds great to me, I believe you :P

    • There’s nothing wrong with the engine itself. It gets a bum rap because of the crappy asset-flips that flood Steam.

  • medenko1975

    what’s the price on USA/CANADA PSN?

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      It should be $9.99, with a 20% discount for PS+ members

    • It’s already showing $9.99 in the Xbox store, so I figure that’s what it’ll be for us when the PS Store finally finishes updating.

  • Jessica Curry’s music is amazing!

  • medenko1975

    thanks dan 9,99$ canadian too? it’s 6,39 quid for UK PS+ :)

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      Not sure about the price in Canadian dollars, sorry – the listing should be up in the store soon though!

  • medenko1975

    release this and EVERYBODY’S GONE TO RAPTURE retail? :)

  • Dan Pinchbeck
    Dan Pinchbeck
    Dan Pinchbeck

    We’d love to see that happen too (there’s got to be something about seeing a game you worked on in a lovely physical box) – I guess we’re in the right place to nudge our Rapture publisher, Sony, about it ;)

  • Droogie4Ever

    I’m literally sitting here waiting on the Playstation Store to update so I can buy this and play it. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is one of my 5 favorite games for the PS4 and I loved your Amnesia game too! But I’ve never played Dear Esther before so I think this is going to be a real treat (to play your first game and see how far you’ve come). I couldn’t be happier about this. Thank you so much for bringing this to PS4 and good luck on all your future projects as I have loved everything you guys have done so far.

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      Thanks a lot! Hope you enjoy Dear Esther as well; the directors’ commentary might be of particular interest to you :)

  • I’m really looking forward to playing this game! Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture was my favourite title of 2015, and while I expect this to be a different experience, I *love* a well written, somewhat obtuse, intellectual sci-fi narrative that this seems to be!

    I will be playing this one in Cinematic mode on the PSVR! I cannot wait!

    Have you considered adding a DLC themed ‘virtual theater’ for VR? It would allow you to drop the render resolution of the game (saving rendering room for the virtual theatre), add features like 3D stereo rendering, and provide a unique experience when playing this traditional game in VR. Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture would also benefit from something like this! It would be a novel way of playing a TV/monitor game in VR!

  • Droogie4Ever

    The US PS store appears to have updated. Just started downloading Dear Esther for anyone else who is interested – it should be available now.

  • Bought this on PC when it first came out not knowing what to expect from a game where you just walked. It immediately pulled me in and has become one of my best remembered and favorite games.
    Played it more than a few times since then and it looks like I am going to buy it again on console

  • HaakmezDarko

    Will the game have a Platinum Trophy?

  • Sold! Loved Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Can’t wait for more! Any chance of a dynamic theme to showcase this gorgeous artwork? :) :)

    • …and then the store updated and I saw that purchase does, in fact, include a dynamic theme… you guys are the best!

  • CaptReynolds

    You can count on me… bought and bought… :) Tremendous developer!!

  • After what you said about The Witcher 3 and The Phantom Pain , sorry, but I won’t EVER buy a game from you.

  • I thought Dear Esther was incredible. Really changed my perspective on what is possible with games. I had always meant to go back and do another full playthrough, and this PS4 version seems like a perfect reason to :-)

  • I’m a huge railfan so rapture was a treat as it gave me my favorite trophy train spotter :) lol

  • soundandvision77

    Bought Dear Esther last night and I’m enjoying it so far! Thought I’d jump into the game for a few minutes to see what it was like, and then ended up wandering around and exploring the first area for over an hour. I know this type of game isn’t for everyone, but if you like exploring a beautifully designed environment, I’d say check it out!

  • Any thoughts on PSVR support down the road? Some of the areas in this game would be especially beautiful in VR. Thanks!

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      We’ve considered it (for Esther & Rapture), but retrofitting VR into a game that wasn’t originally designed for it can be more difficult than you’d initially think… Especially when it comes to the issue of locomotion, which can be very nausea-inducing. Short answer: it’s not out of the question, but no immediate plans :)

  • JohnZn_1989

    There definitely should be a Chinese Room Collection out there with all your stuff as a retail version! I’d really appreciate it!

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      That’d be great, but there’s a rights issue to consider, as all three of our released games are owned by different companies! Would love to see it happen though. One day, maybe :)

  • GUINNESSguzlr

    Am I the only person that likes physical copies of games. Unfortunately this game looks to cool not to download.

    • Dan Pinchbeck
      Dan Pinchbeck

      We’ve thought about it, and some conversations are indeed happening, but there are no firm plans for a physical release at this stage.

  • DarthTrayus

    Hi Dan, love your games. Played some of Dear Esther on the PC but never got around to finishing it as I’m mainly a console gamer. Looking forward to the PS4 release and my play through – Paul

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