Dear Esther is an award-winning, critically acclaimed, experimental first-person game. Built in the Source engine, it abandons traditional gameplay, leaving only a rich world soaked in atmosphere, and an abstract, poetic story to explore. Dear Esther was originally launched in 2008 and is currently being rebuilt by Robert Briscoe - watch this space for updates.

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7 comments by medve on Nov 19th, 2012

Someone wrote:The engrossing world of "Dear Esteban" was created for a very simple purpose. To blow an existential hole in the players perception of their own realities. We wanted present a story so enriching to the human condition, that years from the initial play through the player will look back and think: "How was I ever that naive child before Dear Esteban pulled the wool off my eyes". We've created an interactive tour de force, so powerful, that society at large will have no choice but to acknowledge video games as mankind ultimate art form and the final stage before the event horizon of the human singularity.Engine & Tools: Unity and a masters degree in Philosophy

Travis Chen @TravisChenNolan Fabricius @ShiftlessHobo

Disclaimer: We love Dear Esther. Dear Esteban was made in good fun & parody. Dear Esteban is not so much 'Fuck This'. It's more a love letter to Dear Esther from the weird kid who doesn't have a shot but you kind of feel bad for.

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Dear Esther - Original - 2009

Dear Esther - Original - 2009

Feb 13, 2011 Full Version 25 comments

This is the original Source Mod for Dear Esther. Last updated 22/01/2009

Dear Esther - Soundtrack

Dear Esther - Soundtrack

Jul 11, 2008 Music 24 comments

Jessica Curry's soundtrack for Dear Esther: 8 tracks as MPEG4s.

Dear Esther script

Dear Esther script

Jun 30, 2008 Guides 19 comments

This pdf contains the script for the interactive story Dear Esther, as requested...

Post comment Comments  (1180 - 1190 of 1,248)
Chucker Jul 15 2008, 5:10pm says:

I cannot express just how much I was taken aback by this. I had lost hope a game let alone a mod could. Would I be correct in saying this is a hypernarrative? Well anyway this is the only mod I have played twice through immediately after finishing - considering that I haven't done that in a long time, that is my way of saying this is wonderful.

As someone who works with 3D though - the ability to see through the level through some rocks - or bad texture stretching made me cringe when the atmosphere was sublime. Despite this my disbelief was suspended. My second play through already has me finding new things - this mod rewards exploration. Well done all involved for that notion alone.

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chineseroom Creator
chineseroom Jul 15 2008, 5:54pm replied:

I don't really know if it's a hypernarrative - it doesn't really conform to the idea of an interactive narrative as you can't actually affect the story structure in any real way - but it is interactive... and the randomisation complicates things too. I've been working with the idea of 'environmental storytelling', or something, but it's an interesting one. I'd be really interested in any other suggestions!

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chineseroom Creator
chineseroom Jul 15 2008, 5:52pm replied:

We are hopefully going to hit some of those texture problems and snag a few holes in a second run through the environments - will post up a new version hopefully during August

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Kronus89 Jul 15 2008, 5:41am says:

you sir and your team are artists, When I first heard the "go back.."My heart jumped you placed that so well hell it could compete with stalker shadow of Chernobyl. I loved it good story loved how you made it a non-complete story line my favorite was the final cliff face with all the writing I wanna see more mods like this

only a few errors though, like some places in the water you can see where it ends and some land is missing so over all 9.8/10 good job

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Dark#44 Jul 12 2008, 11:00pm says:

I'm speechless. Anyone who says videogames cannot be art needs to play this. 10/10.

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Non118 Jul 12 2008, 10:41pm says:

You know, I actually had to register here just to say how kickass this is. Awesome concept, interesting (if not particulary illuminating) story and beautiful music. Extremely atmospheric, and probably the best voiceover I've heard in a game. This is excellent proof that the medium of video games can be far more than just action and linear paths. It's completely unlike anything I've played before and I loved it.

My only complaint is sometimes the narration seemed a bit hard to hear over the music; but this is otherwise perfect. Now, please tell me you've got plans for more in the same vein as this?? 10/10!

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chineseroom Creator
chineseroom Jul 13 2008, 4:38am replied:

Thanks for the comments - the response has been amazing. Tweaking voice volume is on the snag list for 1.1 along with some trigger repositioning, leak repair and sorting out some of the less impressive displacements.

There is more, but it's pretty different: check out the Doom3 mod Conscientious Objector, and look out for the forthcoming deathmatch Source mod Antlion Soccer. We've also started kicking the ball around on a new story-driven SP mod called BlackOut - more on that soon (including possible recruitment!)

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1c0n Jul 12 2008, 8:31am says:

Oh boy.
This work rocks. It has wiped away all my certaintyes about videogames. Where's my weapon, where's the enemy, where is my predetermined path to fulfill my mission.
I'm speechless.
To complete the work (because mod is a word too small to describe this) a superb narrator and an incredible soundratck.

Enough talk. 10/10

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Kastanok Jul 11 2008, 7:07pm says:

Mind-blowing stuff. Dear Esther has had a profound effect on me - it's like listening to poetry. Touches the soul.

It is refreshing to have the freedom to get a little lost. I thought the length was about right. I would just love to see more like this about.

A couple of minor niggles, mainly that sometimes it wasn't clear whether a path was traversable or not and a few over-stretched textures. Otherwise great stuff. Best voice over in a game and one of the best soundtracks I've heard

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geekofalltrades Jul 11 2008, 5:11pm says:

Ugg... this mod looks great, but just the thought of traversing that whole island at that crawling pace has put me off of playing it.

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Forsete Jul 12 2008, 1:39pm replied:

Jump then. It'll make you go faster.

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death5421 Jul 11 2008, 12:23pm says:

Just... Amazing.
Absolutely amazing.

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Released Feb 15, 2011
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975 votes submitted.

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Highest Rated (6 agree) 8/10

Hey Dan I finally got around to playing your work. The narration was great. Stellar voice acting and writing, it really got me into the story. It genuinely seemed as though I was watching the last moments of a broken man's life, and that was quite something. However, it seemed that in your attempt to elevate narrative in games you forgot what makes a game, a game. I was constantly being annoyed by the little things. Whenever my character entered an area where you thought I should have my light on…

Feb 18 2011, 9:35pm by AJ_Quick

Lowest Rated (7 agree) 1/10

This game looks more like a movie mod than an actual playable mod. Other than the sharp graphics and the story, the gameplay purpose is a huge issue. On top of that, this makes one of the worst HL mods of all time in the HL series. Why? Because the remake will not be free. This mod qualifies for the YouTube episodic video(s) rather than a HL2 mod because it's better to watch rather than play. Changing the gameplay to something else that has almost no purpose is purely unacceptable. That type of…

Apr 17 2011, 12:53pm by PurpleGaga27

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