“A deserted island…a lost man…memories of a fatal crash…a book written by a dying explorer.” Two years in the making, the highly anticipated Indie remake of the cult mod Dear Esther arrives on PC. Dear Esther immerses you in a stunningly realised world, a remote and desolate island somewhere in the outer Hebrides. As you step forwards, a voice begins to read fragments of a letter: "Dear Esther..." - and so begins a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years. Abandoning traditional gameplay for a pure story-driven experience, Dear Esther fuses it’s beautiful environments with a breathtaking soundtrack to tell a powerful story of love, loss, guilt and redemption. Winner of 2012 IGF Excellence in Visual Art. Supported by Indie Fund.

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First of all, let me apologise for the lack of updates over the past few months, things have been rather insane here lately to say the least...

Posted by robert.briscoe on Dec 1st, 2011

First of all, let me apologise for the lack of updates over the past few months, things have been rather insane here lately to say the least. Back in October, whilst still battling through a mountain of bugs, I decided it would be a good idea for us to enter DE into next year’s IGF.

Up until this point Jack and I had been mostly fixing up the game to get it looking and functioning as it did in our Orange Box engine alpha, and although we were through the worst of it, I had yet to do any polish and hadn’t even begun the process of stripping out all of the portal 2 content, not to mention that we didn’t even have a functional UI! With the IGF submission deadline just under a month away, I stocked up on food and barricaded myself into my apartment and put myself on permanent crunch in order to get something presentable for the IGF submission deadline.

Over the course of the next few weeks I probably slept a total of 10 hours and had Hammer’s interface permanently burned into my retinas, but the overall result was worth it; By the time we submitted our first IGF build I’d managed to strip out every piece of unwanted content, reducing the game from over 10gb down to a mere 1.5gb, implement the new VO’s and soundtrack and polished up a good portion of the game. In the meantime Jack had finished off most of the last remaining big bugs and rebuilt the UI with all the functionality I needed. Within the course of a few weeks we went from a rather shabby, barely functioning, pre-alpha build to something that was starting to look like an actual game again.


A look at how DE evolved, de-evolved and re-evolved during it's development
 

It was a proud moment to see the game finally taking shape. Since the first IGF submission I’ve been continuing to work like crazy, bug fixing and polishing and uploading updates, in order for the IGF judges (and eventually everyone else) to get the best experience possible. The result of all this hard work came to a head when we finally reached beta last week, meaning we are now feature complete, content complete and had no more alpha bugs remaining! I’m really pleased with how the game has turned out and I just wanted to show some screens from the Beta build to celebrate and as a thank you to everyone who has been patiently following DE!

Dear Esther Beta Update

Dear Esther Beta Update

Dear Esther Beta Update

Dear Esther Beta Update

Dear Esther Beta Update

Dear Esther Beta Update


Hitting beta also means that we have more of solid idea for when we’ll be able to release DE, and although we still can’t give a specific date just yet, we are in talks with Valve about launching around the end of Jan/early Feb – So not long now!We’ve still got a lot to do in the meantime; the next step for us is to get DE up and running on Steam which should be happening quite soon and then do a bunch of more thorough testing on different machines. I also want to work on an official launch trailer so you can see it in in motion!

In other news, Jessica Curry has released an excerpt of the remastered soundtrack on our official website, click here to take a listen!

If you want to keep up to date with events as they happen, you can follow meDan and jack on Twitter or via my Devblog or our official website!


Oh and don't forget to Vote for us in IndieDB's IOTY! :)


(NOTE: Beta testing will be not be open to the public since we don’t have the resources to do any large scale public testing, but thanks to everyone who has volunteered)

Post comment Comments
Bad_D0g
Bad_D0g Dec 1 2011, 9:38pm says:

I love you.

+8 votes     reply to comment
KEVLAR60442
KEVLAR60442 Dec 1 2011, 10:02pm says:

Portal 2 engine?!? I'm happy.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Delko
Delko Dec 1 2011, 10:48pm says:

Looks amazing. Best art Ive seen on the source engine, better then valve even.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Finnius
Finnius Dec 1 2011, 11:20pm says:

Fantastic. So very, very excited!

+1 vote     reply to comment
altercuca
altercuca Dec 1 2011, 11:27pm says:

WOW! just wow!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Master_Of_Hiddenry
Master_Of_Hiddenry Dec 2 2011, 3:15am says:

Wow an early 2012 release would be great! Glad to hear everything's going smoothly. And those screenshots are simply stunning. Can't wait!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dr.Goupyl
Dr.Goupyl Dec 2 2011, 6:01am says:

So intense...

+1 vote     reply to comment
[Night_Stalker]
[Night_Stalker] Dec 2 2011, 8:10am says:

At first I was like
...
And then I was like
!!!

+2 votes     reply to comment
jalex3
jalex3 Dec 2 2011, 4:41pm says:

Cool to see how its changed over time.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Rukus_
Rukus_ Dec 2 2011, 7:37pm says:

You guys do such great environments! I'd love to see what you guys were capable of if you made a traditional first person shooter!

+1 vote     reply to comment
lowenz
lowenz Dec 2 2011, 8:00pm says:

Excellent, pro-quality.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dekaku
Dekaku Dec 3 2011, 12:00pm says:

Wow these pictures sure look gorgeous. . .

Although i must admit that i liked the Sky from the Alpha OB build more than the sky from Portal 2 Beta Build (since it had a higher contrast between light and shadow), but aside from that the portal 2 beta build looks equally or even better than the Alpha OB Build (I just wish the red light were also shining in the Portal 2 Build Screenshot)

+1 vote     reply to comment
AniCator
AniCator Dec 3 2011, 6:43pm says:

Robert, is the sun clipping through the terrain in the first screenshot?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lordbob745
Lordbob745 Dec 6 2011, 12:23am says:

Shut up and take my money! XD but seriously congrats its come a long way and looks gorgeous.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Dear Esther
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Developer
The Chinese Room
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Official Page
Dear-esther.com
Release Date
Released Feb 12, 2012
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Dear Esther
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The Chinese Room Developer with 2 members