Dear Esther: Landmark Edition Set For September Release

Dear Esther: Landmark Edition Set For September Release

English game developers, The Chinese Room, have announced that the next generation port of their first game, Dear Esther.

Dear Esther: Landmark Edition will launch worldwide on Playstation 4 and Xbox One on Tuesday 20th September, 2016. The game will launch at the price of $9.99/£8.99/€9.99.

While the game will remain faithful to the Source Engine onto Unity 5 original version, a host of new features have also been added to the package.

These include:

  • Remastered audio
  • achievements and trophies
  • A new developer commentary with Jessica Curry, Rob Briscoe and Dan Pinchbeck
  • larger subtitles options and the choice to use a crosshair

A PC and Mac version of the Landmark Edition will launch in a few months time with the new features for all the non-console players of the world, and The Chinese Room have also announced that the upgrade will be free to all existing users.

You can watch a short teaser trailer for Dear Esther: Landmark Edition below:

You can read our review of Dear Esther back from when it was first released here.

The Chinese Room originally began as a mod team based out of the University of Portsmouth, UK, and their first three projects included Half-Life 2 mods Antolin Soccer and Dear Esther, and Doom 3 mod Conscientious Objector.

Out of the three it was Dear Esther that got traction and became a cult hit, and the team soon remade it as its own stand alone game. In the years since its 2012 release it has continuously split opinion and has been a big factor in the “walking simulator” debate that has often taken over the internet.

In the years since the original release of Dear Esther, The Chinese Room have come to prominence , as they went on to make Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and the critically acclaimed Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.

Witcher Dev, CD Projekt RED, Accused Of Making Sexist Games

Witcher Dev, CD Projekt RED, Accused Of Making Sexist Games

The Chinese Room, developers of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, have accused CD Projekt RED’s new title, Cyberpunk 2077, and the Witcher games of being sexist.

The Chinese Room posted the accusation on their twitter account after Gamespot had released an article about Cyberpunk 2077, which shows a scantly clad female android with arm blades. The studio has not explained why they feel the games are sexist.

CD Projeckt RED has not responded to the accusations against their work at the time of this news piece. Cyberpunk 2077 is said to be more ambitious and bigger than the Witcher franchise in every way and is just the first of two games the studio has revealed to be released in the coming years.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Launching on August 11

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Launching on August 11

The Chinese Room are known for unique and interesting experiences. From the engaging storytelling in Dear Esther to the dark and twisted world of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs they never fail at creating game spaces that defy what many would expect from a game studio. Well they are at it again with Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. This title seems to follow closely with the previous work. Exploring what is left after everyone else has gone. Learning what the story of the characters as they live out and experience life with everyone else gone. 

Read moreEverybody’s Gone to the Rapture Launching on August 11

Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture Releasing This Summer

Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture Releasing This Summer

The Chinese Room’s enigmatic first person adventure game has been teasing adventure game fans for years now, since its cryptic 2012 reveal. Now it looks like we’re finally going to get the chance to play it this summer. Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is now officially confirmed for a summer 2015 release.

Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is a PS4 exclusive. It’s a unique game, taking place in an English village known as Shropshire, and, as you might have guessed from the title, this seems to be a game taking place during a very Christian apocalypse. The player explores the now deserted village of Shropshire, uncovering the story in the signature Chinese Room way, but interacting with objects and the environment, so there’s a certain Myst-esque vibe for people that might be pining for that kind of old school adventure.

The game uses the CryEngine 3, so it’s obvious that it’s going to be a good looking game. We still don’t know much about the story of the game, a natural consequence of not wanting to spoil the experience, but this is shaping up to be another of those original, indie titles that offer players something off the beaten path, which is never a bad thing. With the continuing march of Telltale and Dontnod adventure games, this summer is turning out to be a pretty good time for adventure game fans.

What is Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Saying to Players?

What is Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Saying to Players?

I love October. I love the weather, the colours on the trees, and, most of all, Hallowe’en. To celebrate this most spooky of holidays I’ll be discussing topics related to horror each week of the month in a series of articles called . . . OCTERROR!

This article discusses key plot points from
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Please don’t read on if you’d prefer to avoid spoilers.

I have a theory that Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs received a fairly tepid response from players only because it’s a sequel to a horror game that, while sharing a handful of superficial similarities, it has very little in common with. The Chinese Room’s follow-up to Frictional Games’ 2010 Amnesia: The Dark Descent is, again, a game that casts players in the role of a man who awakens in a strange, ominous environment without any memory of his situation. It also features a story that reveals itself through bits and pieces of reclaimed memories and a character who is powerless to fight off the strange creatures he encounters. But A Machine for Pigs has a very different purpose than The Dark Descent. It, as many players noted after first experiencing it, is not so much concerned with being absolutely terrifying as it is with using the horror genre to make a statement about humanity.  

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The Chinese Room is best known for Dear Esther, a title that has polarized audiences by largely forgoing traditional gameplay mechanics in favour of atmospheric storytelling. Many of the complaints levelled at A Machine for Pigs centred around the fact that its developer took a relatively similar approach with their Amnesia sequel, doing away with puzzles, inventory system, and sanity-managing mechanics to concentrate instead on little else than creating an interactive narrative for players to explore. It’s a decision that understandably disappointed those hoping for more of the intense fear and puzzle-filled gameplay that Frictional Games offered with The Dark Descent. But, what is often lost in these kind of complaints is a discussion of just how effectively The Chinese Room’s version of Amnesia tells its story.

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A Machine for Pigs’ plot focuses on wealthy industrialist (and player character) Oswald Mandus as he searches for his lost children by delving ever deeper into the enormous, seemingly living machine he created. As the player guides Mandus deeper and deeper into the grimy bowels of the enormous industrial plant, it is slowly revealed that the machine works as a meat processor that sacrifices workers from the game’s 19

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century London setting to turn them into pork-like food for the country’s masses. As macabre as this is on its surface, the horror is given added context by the fact that A Machine for Pigs’ events take place on New Year’s Eve, 1899 and foreshadow one of humanity’s darkest centuries. After a glimpse of the coming decades—and the death of his twin sons during the First World War’s Battle of the Somme—from a strange Mexican artifact, Mandus returns to London bent on creating a machine that will extinguish the human race before it has a chance to enter a new, war-stricken epoch. Mandus, having seen what is to come from his era’s European imperialism and unchecked class disparities, seeks to ward off the inevitable tragedies of World and Cold wars alike by eliminating England with a massive, self-perpetuating sacrificial abattoir.

It’s a grand horror story capable of chilling players on a level far deeper than the instinctual. The climax of Mandus’ journey into the heart of his machine speaks of the many horrors awaiting the 20

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century, the narrator describing the innocent women and men who will be slaughtered at Cambodia, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Siberian gulags, and the Somme. These are real events from our collective history—ones that our species is still grappling with the ramifications of today. By linking atrocity with the rise of industrialism, imperialism, and capitalism, The Chinese Room asks players to put the fantastical terror of the game into the context of our everyday lives. A Machine for Pigs wants to give its audience more than just a series of disposable thrills: it wants us to consider the past and identify how it continues to echo into the present day.

 

Horror is a great genre for creators to work within when exploring real-world issues. Monsters, ghosts, and bizarre, blood-curdling occurrences might seem like storytelling tools only suitable for scaring the wits out of people, but they’re all actually great grounds for metaphor. Once players have been drawn into games with the promise of being entertained by spooky thrills, it’s possible to use these same plot elements to tell stories that speak to the kind of social, political, and cultural realities audiences may have otherwise dismissed as dull, dry topics. That is exactly what The Chinese Room does with A Machine for Pigs and it’s one of the biggest reasons I think it’s a criminally maligned horror title. The game may not have the overt scares of the original Amnesia, but it does offer an exceptional story that is both extremely well told and haunting long after it has come to a conclusion.

Want more horror? Pick up the Horror issue of CGM online and in stores.