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 article 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 chineseroom on Feb 11th, 2011

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  (200 - 222 of 222)
altercuca Feb 12 2011 says:


+5 votes     reply to comment
Rukus_ Feb 12 2011 says:

If they said it was commercial from the start I wouldn't be upset, its a dirty ******* trick to claim something is free and then near release putting a price tag on it. Its like you gave my computer blue-balls.

-2 votes     reply to comment
BlazeHedgehog Feb 13 2011 says:

Yeah, no offense, but I don't view this as a commercial project and expecting people to pay money for it now is rather silly. Especially considering all of the teasing you've done under the guise of a free-to-play mod.

Whether you intended it that way or not, it looks like a jerk move.

-1 votes     reply to comment
juergilein Feb 13 2011 says:

Ok, here is my view of things: this game will change how games are looked upon. Because this kind of games with actually sophisticated entertainment are almost nonexistent, it is urgently needed to show people this medium can be so much more than they think. For this task, I can't think of any game better than Dear Esther. This game is a milestone.

But mods are played by very few people. A commerical product will have a much bigger audience. As a mod this will stay a "underground thing".

If you like games and you think they should be taken more serious and be seen as cultural good, you will probably agree it was the right decision.

+3 votes     reply to comment
[»Twilight«] Feb 17 2011 replied:

This will change literally nothing. Look at The Path. It is masterpiece of art too, but I can't say its appearance changed much. There are few people, who appreciate arthouse.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Swanson420 Feb 13 2011 says:

@ Sadonikus Thanks for calling your fellow modding enthusiasts 'stupid kids.' Quote: "Seeing this ridicilous flame war here reminds me of why I totally turned my back to the modding community" - nice attitude. Welcome to moddb! ;-) It does feel (slightly) like "Dear Esther" is going against the spirit of modding. Particularly with an Art / 'Alt.Mod' of this kind, seeking to push the envelope re: Electronic Storytelling (something which I don't think it quite accomplishes.) Here's a question for the community - what IS the true 'spirit' of places like Moddb anyhow? -Perhaps more Commercialization may even be a Good Thing, eg. with more Big Names involved, and closer links with the people which make the very Tools for modding, better mods might result.. No? The opposite could happen of course - that modding will become more Mainstream - more Standard and far, far less experimental (ie. more 'nice' and 'safe'.) For this one, I'll probably just wait for the HD-nocommentary walkthrough on L0Ltube. Sincerely, Henry Swanson

+1 vote     reply to comment
Croco15 Feb 13 2011 says:

Wow, that's a lot of comments.

+1 vote     reply to comment
navics Feb 13 2011 says:

I came here atleast once a week to droll over new picture or just read the encouraging comments.
I´m disappointed that it was even before 2010 clear to the maker that he would go commercial and never told the community. Thats kind of unfair and cheap. Nevertheless I was very impressed with the original and love(d) the remake. Awesome concept and moving atmosphere...I´ll see how much it will cost and then decide to purchase or wait till it fits. next time please tell your fans sooner, 1st april is far away...

+2 votes     reply to comment
NabsterHax Feb 13 2011 says:

You know what's worse about complaining about having to pay?

Complaining about people complaining about having to pay. You pay, you play, be happy. If people want to grumble, then let them. Their choice.

People grumble about money all the time. In the end it comes down to if you buy it for not.

I just hope they don't use this game's popularity as an excuse for extortionate pricing. (*cough* COD *cough cough*)

+2 votes     reply to comment
DazJW Feb 14 2011 replied:

The flipside of that is that it's important to show support for the project to balance out the negatives.
Though obviously you can do that without attacking the people complaining.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tyrant_T100 Feb 14 2011 says:

I can't help but feel disappointed by Dear Esther becoming a commercial product. My problem isn't with pricing but with how the game went from being advertised as a mod to now being a commercial product.

I wouldn't mind buying it but now my trust feels betrayed because we were pulled along into believing it would be free. I can appreciate the DEVs wanting money but to have the license to sell it back in 2009 and only just inform us that it will go on sale is plain wrong.

Before any of you start saying I'm too poor to afford it or that I'm a spoilt brat you should stop and think about the consequences of buying it. You were deceived into believing it would be free and no matter how good the mod may be, is it really worth bending over and allowing this to happen, if this carries on with mods, modding won't exist as it is in the future, it will just be seen as a way of advertising budget games.

0 votes     reply to comment
Black★RockShooter Feb 15 2011 says:

Payment for a few better looking maps?
No thanks.

-1 votes     reply to comment
greenmachine Feb 16 2011 says:

How ******* sad are you lot, complaining about a mod going retail?

Maybe you'd all be better off downloading anime mods for San Andreas or nude patches for Oblivion since you all seem to think you're modding royalty.

Entitled to something just because it was once free? it's funny how tripwire are frequently lauded (deservedly so mind you) for making their games retail.

Well That ends that anyway (well, almost). To the devs, I'll be bloody honoured to give you my money considering the original mod was excellent work and judging by how amazing this newer version was already shaping up to be when also taking into account a possible larger budget and increased spending due to the revenue this mod will of course return.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Tyrant_T100 Feb 19 2011 replied:

By reading your post it seems all your trying to do is flame Moddb users by stating that this site is for nude mods.

+1 vote     reply to comment
medve Feb 17 2011 says:

my big problem is that we dont know what do we get if u guys wont make an early demo release, and to let us know how many maps there gonna be in the game...cause the original has about 9 min gameplay.

i would defenetly give my money for a full version commersial neotokyo, but this is...

i would sell this to valve itself, so it would be like loast coast tech demo for developers if i were u. (since loast coast sux balls as a game and a techdemo too)

+1 vote     reply to comment
[»Twilight«] Feb 17 2011 replied:

lolwut? When did you first played Lost Coast? In 2006, five years ago, or yesterday?

0 votes     reply to comment
p0w3rs Feb 18 2011 says:

idk wat to say

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gvaz Mar 18 2011 says:

I wouldn't have bought it one way or the other, and I wont even if the game is $2


+1 vote     reply to comment
hollowminds Apr 3 2011 says:

Great! Best of luck to them and they will get my money for it. I just played the first and it was interesting to say the least. Id love to explore it a little more and with better designed visuals/map to go with it? Awesome.

+2 votes     reply to comment
kelishane33 Apr 28 2011 says:

-.-... Heres the condensed version, they made Dear Esther free. Later, with better inteligence on how the source engine worked and how to fix things up, they started on a new version, around like 2008 or 09, they showed it to Valve. Valve liscensed them and gave an approval to sell it as a game running off of the Source engine. The creators of Dear Esther have also said they plan on changing up the narration and music and complete look of the actual game. So no, we are not paying for a free mod that looks better. They have also promised extra and longer gameplay so that it isnt that short to the finish, and also easier to understand the title. If you ask me, i'm willing to pay for Dear Esther because I loved the first one so much im willing to see how far the developers are willing to take it. Oh, and for all of you moaning and whining about how you dont have money. This isnt going to be 50 or so dollars. No one would pay that much. The developers said very affordable, so grow up and stop starting a "I'm not buying a mod that was remade." A whole lot of games were remade with better graphics but with the SAME EXACT story. SH and the RE series. These guys weren't the first. That is all.

+1 vote     reply to comment
kelishane33 Apr 28 2011 replied:

At least thats what i've read from many different sources, ive been checking out their site and moddb page for the past few years and telling a whole lot of people about it. I am a long time fan and deffinatly love the creativity and thought put into it. Keep up the good work, ChineseRoom, can't wait for this summer. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
garry68 Mar 24 2012 says:

I'm having difficulty understanding the problem here!

The MOD is out and it is free yes? But you need to have purchared the origonal half-life 2 game to play it.

They are now releasing a full commercial version, that incorporates it's own game-engine, hence is a stand-alone game.

So what's the problem? Surely thay are taking nothing away from the free MOD community?

Did thay origonaly say the stand-alone version was also going to be free?

I wouldn't buy half-life 2, but I may buy the stand alone commercial version of this, as I've played the demo on OnLive.
Sorry, but as I said, I don't understand the argument...

+1 vote     reply to comment
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