Post news RSS Dear Esther remake to get commercial release

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

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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

Comments  (0 - 50 of 185)
xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx

So are you going to share your earnings with the original creator too ?
ohw wait that is you :) right ? nevermind

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Sharkz
Sharkz

Not sure if your being sarcastic but from the original author's (Dan Pitchbeck) comments it certainly looks like he will be getting a cut of the profit and is involved in the project in someway.

We've posted about the change and how we feel about it over at Mod Sentry Modsentry.com

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xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx

yea i was a little, so how about Valve, they getting any money for the eninge your using (not that they need it)

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Sharkz
Sharkz

"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."

They are licensed by Valve to use the engine commercially

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xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx

i hope you find enough people to sell it too, (who havent played it)
Maybe i will try it sometime when it is cheap :) (knowing whats coming and all)

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foeaxe
foeaxe

You need some help :)
Get your facts right before you open your mouth...

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Studios
Studios

It`s better tip for you.

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hogan_skoll
hogan_skoll

hell yes this is good news - sad to part with the money but i loved the original so its deff going to be worth it

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Boogiepingas
Boogiepingas

So it's no longer a free mod?

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Artaxxz
Artaxxz

Fuuuu

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Triden007
Triden007

Sheeeeeeee....T!!!

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Dekaku
Dekaku

I am more interested in how much you will charge for it (than for the fact that you will charge for it). I just can not think of Dear Esther as a game you will have to pay 40 Bucks or even more, i mean it is hardly a game the way it is. . . Its too unique / hard to categorize thus also hard to think of a price . . . But oh well we will see once it is released . . .

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chineseroom Author
chineseroom

rest assure you will NOT be paying 40 bucks for this, not even close :) - Rob

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Jokerme
Jokerme

I hate it when this happens. Never gonna buy, because I've never thought this as a commercial project. You can't just promise a mod and then decide to sell it and expect people to be happy about it.

I don't care how good the game is. This is just a shameless way to create a fan base and advertise. If I knew this was a commercial project from the start I wouldn't mind but this is just an insult to modding community.

Well then, if this is a commercial project now, let's evaluate it accordingly. As far as I know takes around twenty minutes to finish, there are no enemies, no new gameplay elements, no real story, no puzzles, there is nothing to interact. There are no NPCs, there is no way to increase gameplay time, and no replayability.

Also it has great visuals, and a nice letter.

Interesting game idea.

Good luck competing with good indie projects.

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The_Silver
The_Silver

I can't agree more. ;)

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Guessmyname
Guessmyname

Don't blame the creators for your own assumptions. It's not like there isn't a free version available. It's like the GMod9 / 11 situation: limited free version, paid-for extended version.

As for modding / commercial... you're aware most Indie game producers start out as modders, right? Once you get to commercial quality, it's only fair to go commercial. And Briscoe has long since proved this is of commercial quality.

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Jokerme
Jokerme

They should release their mods before making a commercial game. Old Dear Esther was mediocre at best as far as level design goes. I was following this release just because of its level design.

Don't bend my words. I said if it was a commercial game from the start I wouldn't mind. But they just used mod community to advertise their game.

First release what you were doing, then make a game. That how modding works.

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Guessmyname
Guessmyname

That's what they've done...

The initial Dear Esther release? Free mod. Yes it's a little mediocre in visuals, but it was a proof-of-concept and critically acclaimed in spite of this.

This forms the foundations for the remake, which boosts the visuals beyond commercial level (it's on the Source engine after all, and it certainly beats out Ep2's already high visual standard), which will add to the immersion and experience praised of the original, still freely available mod, along with fixing all the hiccups and nitpicks thrown up in the original release.

So they should make a mod, then move on to make a game? Guess what, you're looking at it.

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angrysasquatch
angrysasquatch

Agreed, it can't really stand on its own as an indie game. I suppose if it were a fraction of the price of other indie games (which have far more gameplay), then it might be worth it. But Dear Esther could honestly be better in almost every respect as a CGI movie. Considering this is just a graphical overhaul of DE, why not go one step further and make it a movie, it would look way better than the aging source engine, even with all the good stuff they were able to squeeze out of it.

I was also just on thechineseroom's site, apparently they showed Valve the DH remake in 2009, and Valve was so impressed they gave them the go-ahead for a source license. Therefore, they've known for just under 2 years they were gonna make it indie, but withheld that information. Smells like they wanted to keep the bait and switch going for as long as they could. Analyzed as an indie title, DH isn't that astounding, they knew that and wanted to keep it as a mod for as long as possible as there are lower standards for mods than commercial releases.

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CockyBoi
CockyBoi

Wow, didn`t know that part about 2009 actually.

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Dekaku
Dekaku

To be fair you can not say, that this was out of the blue, since they have asked us what we would think about Dear Esther becoming something to pay for. . . So no big surprise that they did it in the end.

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Povuholo
Povuholo

Indeed, they have said in the past that they were considering it.

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Argoon
Argoon

No story?! Dear Esther is all about story and how it is told to you. So stop the wining already and be glad they will make it a indie game with more production value them is already apparent in the fantastic level design on the remake.

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thegentleman
thegentleman

I suddenly feel so proud to be Portsmouthian.

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Theon
Theon

FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU-

Was good, but not PAYING to play the same short-story again.

Looks purty, good luck.

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Soldier11
Soldier11

I'm kind of disappointed. I don't really know what it is, but the action of the mod team is shameless towards the community and fans. Of course, it's understandable. They spent a lot their time to create outstanding content. The team have definitely proven their talent.
Obviously they want to get a reward for their hard work now. Charging money is the easiest way to achieve that reward.

Is it really needed to betray all the followers? It' ridiculous in my opinion....

I fully agree to Jokerme, too.

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Guessmyname
Guessmyname

Um.

"The team have definitely proven their talent. Obviously they want to get a reward for their hard work now. Charging money is the easiest way to achieve that reward."

You've just explained a perfectly valid reason for them to go commercial, and then you call it shameless. Undermine your own argument, much?

Valve granted them a license, I think that proves they have the skill to deserve the chance to go commercial.

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Jokerme
Jokerme

If it was a game it wouldn't be shameful, they were creating a free mod as far as I remember.

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HmTervapuro
HmTervapuro

We should be proud a few of us indie developers got their hands on a license and got commercial, instead of whining about money.

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gazornonplat
gazornonplat

Can't wait, whatever this is going to be priced at, I'll pay it, because you guys have well and truly earned it.

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VulpineComplex
VulpineComplex

Our top story tonight, developer makes amazing work; gets chance to strike it big commercially. Self entitled nerds cry because everything isn't free. Film at '11.

Guys, he never explicitly stated that it was going to be free, ever. It's alright to assume that, but if it turns out otherwise, don't cry about it. I'd say he's deserved it, and I'll buy the hell out of the game when it comes out.

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INtense! Staff
INtense!

Great attitude, free is awesome but there is a significant amount of work that goes into the amazing games and if you want to see more like them you have to dig deep and show your support.

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Jokerme
Jokerme

(buried)

I can't believe how easy it is to fool people. I don't mind paying a few dollars to good games, and certainly wouldn't mind donating Dear Esther Remake 10$ if this update was about their need for money. But I won't pay even 1$ to this game.

This mod was big. It was being created by a professional level designer, it was pushing Source to its limits. Now what? They made their advertisement here and going for a commercial with a more then lacking game. I like to pay my money to people who really deserve it. And chineseroom wasn't really honest about their intentions. That's why I'm sad. They could at least let us know they were meaning to sell the game.

Is it really that difficult to understand that this is wrong? I thought ethics were important for most people.

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VulpineComplex
VulpineComplex

You sound like a hipster, or a hippie. Keep going against the grain, man!!

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Roland_of_Gilead
Roland_of_Gilead

just make it 3.99$

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HmTervapuro
HmTervapuro

Great news dudes, congratulations!
I´ll buy it the day it comes out.

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Tokoya
Tokoya

Some of your reactions makes me wonder if everyone is here purely for the free stuffs and no other reason.

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Awesome_ninja
Awesome_ninja

If you release a demo of the full version to showcase what's new, I may probably buy it (as long as it's not more than 20$), but if there is no demo... You are making a big, big mistake. Look at Bulletstorm! So many people will torrent it just because they don't know how it feels on PC (including myself). Then if game is actually good, we'll buy it, but how hard is it to release a demo?
Anyways, back on topic: Best of luck to you!

EDIT: I just hope you will make it more interesting than the original apart "WOAH!" when looking on the graphics like in Crysis...

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alvarojmarquez
alvarojmarquez

Mmm

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chineseroom Author
chineseroom

OK - the reason we didn't announce it was going indie early on is because we didn't know. License negotiations are long and complicated and we'd have ended up being criticised for going backwards and forwards. So we announced as soon as it was a viable thing to do.

Clearly, the idea we're ripping anyone off is just daft. Going indie means we can access further funds to do things like overhaul all the audio, get the coding really stable and (shock, horror) make sure that the huge amount of time spent on this thing is rewarded - Rob has been on this for two years. I think he deserves payment if we can achieve that. He's done things with Source that a lot of us didn't think were possible, and the remake is absolutely extraordinary - even before we put in the new soundtrack and a whole bunch of re-designed pathways and detail.

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chineseroom Author
chineseroom

I've always been upfront in interviews in the last couple of years that moving towards an indie model meant we could push ideas forwards in terms of experimental design we just couldn't achieve with modding. Where we can, and where there is funding to do that, great, I'll mod. I love this scene and I've always said that. But there are some directions I want thechineseroom to move in and that takes cash, and commercialisation is ironically the one way I can protect the work from having too many strings attached through public subsidy.

Mods are great, the mod scene is amazing, but there are a lot of gamers out there outside the scene and we want to be able to reach them. Realistically, this is a niche game, it's a small indie title, and we're hoping we make enough to slide a decent living wage at the people who have committed huge effort and talent to it, and maybe a little on top of that to get a new project off the ground. The alternative is we exist purely on donations from within the mod scene to make mods, because somehow the bills have to be paid.

So I'm not going to take the idea we've somehow 'betrayed' the scene or 'duped' fans. And we're not talking about a $50 release, obviously. We'll keep posting updates as we have more information to release. It's still early days.

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Guessmyname
Guessmyname

Thank you. And best of luck; you've certainly earned the opportunity!

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Argoon
Argoon

Don't be discoreged by all this whiners You guys and especially Rob deserves being paid for their work, we all like to see some kind of reword for our work. Few people like is said here in Portugal "Trabalha para aquecer" this is "Work only to warm them selfs"

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monster_urby
monster_urby

Awww, I was waiting for the release to play this since I heard it was an amazing mod but I never played. Was looking forward to the release of the overhaul to get the most out of it.

Don't get me wrong, I would gladly part with the money for it, but I cannot afford to go even £1 over my budget for the next few years.

Shame... but good luck. (I'll watch a playthrough on YouTube) :P

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Sharkz
Sharkz

Good to hear, we posted about this on Modsentry.com but the jist of it was we support the move just as we supported many other mods that made the jump to Indie status. I've always seen the modding community as a springboard to help projects and devs go commercial and if one mod deserves to go commercial, it is Dear Esther. Hope to hear more from you soon!

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Link3737
Link3737

Will this be a similar length as the original release? I can't see myself paying more than $2.50 for a 20 minute game, no matter how long you spent making it look pretty.

I've bought much better games for $5, including Chime, P.B. Winterbottom, Torchlight, Killing Floor, TFC, Lead and Gold, Lugaru HD, Aquaria, Garry's Mod, etc.

You'd be out of your mind to charge the same price for something like this.

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chineseroom Author
chineseroom

Im hoping to get well over an hour's gameplay in there with all the new exploration, content and audio, maybe even more, and with every playthrough being unique Im hoping it will make the replayability all the more rewarding. Dont worry we wont be charging a lot, and I will do everything I can to make sure every penny you spend is worth it. - Rob

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Held
Held

It's your decision and the decision is already fallen. I wished you would have say it earlier. Sure you didn't know if the whole thing with the licence is going glad, but you could have say that you're aiming for an commercial release.

That makes me sad, talking from a big remake, showing amzing things and telling at the end that you have to pay for it. I mean paying for it isn't the deal. I bought "the ball" for example. The ball is a ut3 mod which gone commercial. After releasing the mod, they've said, that there is coming a commercial version. I've loved the mod and buyed their game, so that isn't the point, I'm willing to pay for good work.

But there is a difference between your mod and the ball. The people of the ball are normal people which created a mod and went commercial with their project. Dear Ester got released and a professional game developer went on to create a remake ... and you want to tell me that you couldn't say earlier that you want to go commercial ?

I think you had the idea getting commercial at the first minute you've startet with the remake. You could have say it with one little sentence two years ago

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Docm30
Docm30

Hourences, the creator of The Ball, has worked professionally on several games, including UT2k4 and Killzone. I'd say this qualifies him as a professional game developer---so what exactly is the difference between The Ball and Dear Esther?

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Held
Held

The difference is, that not the creator of the mod is developing the remake. It's a outstanding game developer.

The point of my first comment is about the late release of the information (being commercial).

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