A deserted island... a lost man... memories of a fatal crash... a book written by a dying explorer. Dear Esther is a ghost story told using first-person gaming technologies. Rather than traditional gameplay, the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly triggered by moving around the environments, making every telling unique. Features a stunning, specially commissioned soundtrack. Forget the normal rules of play; if nothing seems real here, it's because it may just be all a delusion. What is the significance of the aerial - What happened on the motorway - is the island real or imagined - who is Esther and why has she chosen to summon you here? The answers are out there, on the lost beach and the tunnels under the island. Or then again, they may just not be, after all...

Post news Report content RSS feed Dear Esther remake to get commercial release

The remake of the cult source mod Dear Esther will be released commercially in summer 2011.

Posted by on

thechineseroom have announced that the remake of the critically acclaimed, award-winning mod Dear Esther will be getting a full commercial release in summer 2011.

The groundbreaking game, which replaces traditional FPS gameplay with the exploration of a desolate island, a deep and emotional story and a stunning soundtrack, will be launched on Steam later this year. Over the last twelve months, the award-winning mod (Indiecade 2009, Mod of the Year 2010) has been re-developed by Robert Briscoe (Mirror's Edge) in collaboration with the original creator, Dan Pinchbeck.

The re-make features a completely new environment that pushes the Source engine into uncharted territory; a re-orchestrated soundtrack by composer Jessica Curry, new areas to explore and an expanded story.

Originally developed at the University of Portsmouth (UK), Dear Esther has gained a cult following and international critical acclaim since it's first release in 2007. Briscoe and Pinchbeck first showed the rebuilt mod to Valve in 2009 and they were impressed enough to grant a Source license for a full independent release.

Pinchbeck said "We're hugely excited about the license. The new version of Dear Esther will take the game to a completely new level and we're confident it will be one of the stand-out indie titles of 2011. Once again, this shows that games are probably the most exciting and innovative medium on the planet right now, and we're really happy to be right at the cutting edge of that."

"For everyone who played the original mod, we can promise a totally new experience that will keep the soul of the original whilst pushing the game to a completely different level. For people who have never experienced Dear Esther, get ready for a game unlike anything you've ever played. In 2011, we're going to answer once and for all the question of whether games can be art."

You can follow the progress towards launch at www.dear-esther.com

Post comment Comments  (100 - 150 of 222)
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

Man its soo pathetic how all this kiddies here are behaving!

A great and under artistic aspects important game is going to get a MUCH wider audience with a maybe 4 bucks release on steam, talented developers are getting rewarded for the tons of work the put in, but OH, I WANT EVERTHING FOR FREE, GETTING MONEY FOR HARD WORK IS CAPITALISTIC SATANISM!

Yeah, Pinchbeck was planning this all along, getting the few people here on Moddb (compared to all gamers who buy on steam this is nothing) excited to something they already are excited over to make millions of dollars.

Guess what, Dan Pinchbeck doesnt exist, its an alias for Bobby Kotick seeking to destroy this last refuge for people who work for free for the sake of working free!

Seeing this ridicilous flame war here reminds me of why I totally turned my back to the modding community. And everybody who seriosly says he cant afford 4 bucks for a game maybe should consider getting a job. Oh, wait, I forgot, working for money makes you a bad person

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
skipper_is
skipper_is

Well worth it!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
ZitaX
ZitaX

I would probably have donated 10 bucks or so upon release had it been free anyway. This mod is something special! To me, it offers a lot more then most retail games out there (and for the record, it offers more then most other mods as well)!

I will gladly and proudly pay for this when it's out on Steam! The developers have truly earned it!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
MrTambourineMan
MrTambourineMan

Wow, I'm soooo disappointed at many MODDB members today. You're making all kinds of excuses why this game shouldn't go commercial, and let me tell you - none of your retarded arguments are valid. WTF: DE shouldn't be released commercially because it was started as a (visual overhaul of a) mod ??? Why? I mean what right do you have to say this? It is THEIR intellectual property and they can distribute it for free or charge for it, it's up to them and no one else. The only persons that should be damn ashamed of themselves are the ones giving idiotic comments like the one I mentioned. I say good luck to the developers, I WILL buy your game (no doubt) and please don't judge the whole community on basis of a handful of immature trolls.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Rawket
Rawket

As great as the graphics are, it alone doesn't make a game. Is there going to be action scenes and puzzles to solve? Or is it going to be just like the original but with pretty graphics? If it's going to be the latter, it will not justify a purchase just so you can "play" a technical demo that all it does is show off what source can do. What kind of crap is that?

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Varsity
Varsity

So you don't value it. Guess what? We do.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Rawket
Rawket

Oh, nevermind guys, the developers are going to appreciate the "game" not the consumers!

Reply Good karma Bad karma-3 votes
Leon_Kilean
Leon_Kilean

I like mods, and I love to mod, but man, moddb community really bummed me out today.

Dear Esther is one of the hallmarks of modern modding -or GAMING- scene, and now with the remake, adding amazing visuals on top of that, that seem to surpass Valve´s work but done by a SINGLE PERSON, I cant see it being anything less than god-like.. But just because it doesnt have 10 new npcs that you can kill for 50 levels, ie content, its not worth a cent?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Rawket
Rawket

I know that this game is not about shooting and guns blazing, but it needs something more then just walking around and listening to a story. I'm all about story, but I'm also about having a challenge.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-4 votes
Leon_Kilean
Leon_Kilean

A Mental challenge, maybe? Its about learning the ghost story.

Having random stuff to do while trying to follow the story -the IDEA of Dear Esther- would annoy the hell out of me, it´d destroy the idea.

Same goes in inverse. If there was crazy amount of dialogue and cutscenes in my Doom experience, it would be dysfunctional.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Rawket
Rawket

Deus Ex had huge amounts of dialog and depth while at the same time having great shooting sequences and explosions. It became one of the greatest games ever.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-3 votes
Tokoya
Tokoya

For some people, intellectual and emotional stimulation can come in forms other than shooting things.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Leon_Kilean
Leon_Kilean

Deus Ex was an RPG, its a good game yea.
The way I´ve presumed Dear Esther works, correct me if Im wrong here:
This is a s-t-o-r-y, a tale, narration. A Different kind of a product. The lack of gameplay is on purpouse: the interaction with this product comes from choosing where you move, where you look, and how you interpret the story you hear depending on your navigation. Its supposed to work in your head, not thru your deeds.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Darklord42
Darklord42

What the huge library of games that are like that not good enough for you? Not getting your fix?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

Games dont need to have a challenge since we are gladly not in the 80s anymore, this is just about the story, the atmosphere and exploring!

Thats what this game makes so outstanding, that it isnt a "game" but an interactive experience!

There are enough puzzles and action-scenes in the mainstream...

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
ZitaX
ZitaX

(Reply to Rawket)

There are tons of other games and mods where you can shoot things! Try them out instead!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Mr.Walrus
Mr.Walrus

Simply cant wait. I'll buy it immediately once it comes out, and gladly present money to such an awesome development team :) They definately deserve it.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
OriginalPerry
OriginalPerry

Nightmare House 2 was utterly amazing and took time to develop, yet they gladly gave it as a free Mod. I appreciate that the devs of this want to earn something from their mod (besides gratitude) and be recognized to further their career in the gaming industry (heres hoping they don't go on to work on generic MMO's) but this seems to be the wrong way to go about it.
If it was on UT3 engine and looked as good as it could be then I would pay for it, because it would be unique in most ways, have a lot more capability. But it's Source - there are beautiful mods everywhere, with stories to match, in-depth gameplays, all for free. I can name a number of non-profit mods that have the same amount of effort gone into them. This is just my opinion, you're entitled to your own. Sorry, but I guess I'll go play the original again. Good luck with whatever you want to achieve, though.

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
StoneCrowUK
StoneCrowUK

i will probably buy this, i love my goey indie goodness.
good luck all the way!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Kodaemon
Kodaemon

The original Dear Esther made me a believer in chineseroom.

I waited dilligently for the second coming.

I now declare apostasy.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
Rawket
Rawket

The story of the original while cute, wasn't all that great so why don't we just face it, they are charging people to see a technical demo. Nothing more, nothing less. I can probably ruin the point of playing this "game" by just spoiling the story to everyone before they buy this and this product will just fall flat on it's face.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-3 votes
AJ_Quick

can someone ban this pointless asshat already?

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
Rawket
Rawket

Look, I happen to be very critical of games okay? I see hardly any constructive feedback but people who would blindly pay for things without thinking and people who attack people who disagree.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-3 votes
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

The story is ambiguous, you cannot really spoil it. And noone cares for the technical side, its just the feel and the beautiful landscapes together with the story that creates the mood wich makes this game so great.

And yes, someone please ban this annoying troll!

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
griefmaster_00x1
griefmaster_00x1

anyone played halfquake?
ps: awesome mod. missed original will get dis

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

@Rawket

You are not critical, you just have a totally narrow view on games as a medium. You think that games need to be games, need to be fun or challenging, wich is WRONG. Games can be entertaining without being challenging or fun just like books or movies but interactive, DE proofs it cause there are a lot of gamers who enjoy it despite not being a traditional game! Thats why you have no idea what you are talking about and why you should **** off and play Call of duty!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Rawket
Rawket

(buried)

Yes, games need to be games because they are called games. Isn't that the point? Instead of me buying Dear Esther, why don't I just buy a book and walk around outside so I can have the Dear Esther experience now?

You ever think you have a narrow view on games?

Reply Good karma Bad karma-7 votes
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

The only thing games should be is an interactive medium, without rules of what games should be like and what not raised by self entitled nerds like you!

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

And no, reading a book and going for a walk is not an alternative to a game without action or puzzles, this stupid phrase alone proofs to me that I am talking to a stupid Shooter-Kiddie wich makes me ending this pointless discussion!!!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Povuholo
Povuholo

Dear Esther is an interactive story, which uses a video game medium as a platform to present itself in. That doesn't mean it HAS to be treated as a 'game' and conform to your definition of a video game, or that 'playing' Dear Esther is an inferior experience to reading a book.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Cyowolf
Cyowolf

Define "interactive game". Doesn't that require some method of input from the user beyond merely moving around?

Even if it fulfills that requirement, it barely does so. There is little else beyond sound and story in here. To me, a game is not successful if it has zero replay-ability. Its a one and done situation, to be shelved and never touched again.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Mudo146
Mudo146

Congratulations and looking forward to it!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Rawket
Rawket

(buried)

Anyways, dodging these personal attacks on me, my final word: Needs to have something more than just a story and pretty graphics if it's going commercial.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-9 votes
Ekonk
Ekonk

Great news guys! Looking forward to it!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Jokerme
Jokerme

Looks like people're really sensitive here.

I didn't like the decision a company made. But why everyone feels the great need to protect the developers? Professionals making commercial games, what's so new about that? While it was a mod it was valuable because it had a "how to make a great mod" feeling. Now it's a game we already played.

I love Overgrowth and NS2. They deserve to be commercial games, but DE is something I wouldn't pay. Donation? Gladly. Payment? No. How many of you played The Graveyard? I supported them. That game was exactly like Dear Esther. Even shorter. Old lady walking on a straight line until she reaches to a bench in a graveyard. Then a song starts and the game ends. If you know what you are playing that's a great game but if you take it as a commercial project it is not. Still I bought that game although demo and full game was exactly the same. Because they deserve to be supported. What they wanted was support from community. After that they created their real game, The Path. On the other hand here I feel bad. If they knew they were aiming for a commercial project why didn't they tell us? If this was only a project for fun, what's with the "support us, we need money, because we worked our ***** off for this" act? Either way something is wrong. And I want to believe it's just "the response was so good, we thought it deserved to be payed".

Also everyone is being so protective to the point of supporting the game blindly. And I'm one of the bad angry nerd who can't a few bucks to a great game now. I'm sorry if I'm being unreasonable. Still, I'm behind my initial post. Sorry if you feel disappointed, but that's how I see it from a logical point of view.

I know how difficult it is to create a good game and how indie developers need to be supported. So I apologize from chineseroom. This discussion is a little cruel. I feel sorry for them. But I think what they are doing is wrong and this is only my opinion.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

(buried)

So, The Graveyard is a good game but not a good commercial product? So good games can be bad commercial products wich makes them bad in some way and good commercial products dont need to be good games? Tale of tales is good cause they said the will sell their game but chinese room is bad cause they first made a mod and then got the license to sell it?

Excuse me, but you are an idiot!

And chinese room didnt tell us if it will be commercial cause they didnt knew if it will, read their posts!

Reply Good karma Bad karma-5 votes
Jokerme
Jokerme

Thanks for expanding my view with your great answer. I really appreciate it.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
KILLER89(FIN)
KILLER89(FIN)

Rawket...you are just acting smart, while being an idiot.
Game CAN be a game without shooting everything that moves.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Rawket
Rawket

did i say this needs to have guns?

Reply Good karma Bad karma-2 votes
Hotels
Hotels

I can afford it easily, and I really liked the original and was excited for this one, but I do not support a commercial release at all. There is no need for it. I would have even donated if you said you needed the money for it, but waiting for all these people to track you and get excited then saying "whoops, not free!" is not cool. Untracking.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

@ Rawket
Yes, a nicely desgined world (good design =/= good graphics) that can be explored with many details that mean something. DE has it!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
robofork
robofork

I'm fine with paying, I was hoping it would stay free but they do deserve it.

Years of hard work does deserve something more than gratitude.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Rawket
Rawket

(buried)

so even if you didn't have fun with the "game", you would still pay developers because of their hard work?

Reply Good karma Bad karma-6 votes
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

Only because you dont enjoy it, theres no reason to assume that everyone else doesnt!

This is getting ridiculous LOL

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Rawket
Rawket

(buried)

yeah, a sad pathetic boy who calls everyone who's opinion differs from his own an idiot is getting a little silly.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-6 votes
robofork
robofork

Just cause you're poor.

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Argoon
Argoon

To this developers YES.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Tempest_Wales
Tempest_Wales

So is the mod even available for DL? Because the link says its been deleted. I don't mind remaking the game for commercial adventure, but to delete the free mod makes the devs look like money grabbing jerks.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes
CaptainLagfail
CaptainLagfail

I, for one, welcome our new capitalist overlords...

Honestly, as much as I don't like being 'strung along' (Phrase of the week, it seems? :D) I AM going to buy this.

For Dear Esther? No. Sure I'll get to play it and also I'm sure I will enjoy it but that's not why.

I'm buying it because if Dear Esther does a Minecraft and the devs come into some money, then I'll get to see more work by the Chineseroom. I'll get to see more experiments in gaming. I'll get to play something interesting.

And I hope to god they bring Briscoe along to re-map Korsakovia. And I will buy that too.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Sadonikus
Sadonikus

@ hotels
Selling it on Steam reaches a much wider audience wich generates much more reward than some donates by moralizer nerds like you that gather here on moddb.

What an horror to track a mod and then it gets a game, so many wasted excitment wich could have been used in getting a life XD

Reply Good karma Bad karma-2 votes
Post a comment

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community. Or sign in with your social account:

Icon
Half-Life 2
Creator
chineseroom
Contact
Send Message
Release date
Mod watch
Start tracking
News
Browse
News
New
Post news
Share
Related Mods
Related Games
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 First Person Shooter