“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 game-play 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 uncovered when exploring the various locations of the island, making every each journey a unique experience. Dear Esther features a stunning, specially commissioned soundtrack from Jessica Curry.
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…
Built in the Source engine and originally released in 2008 as a mod for Half Life 2, Dear Esther quickly established itself as an award-winning, critically acclaimed experimental first-person game. It abandons all traditional game play, leaving only a rich world soaked in atmosphere, and an abstract, poetic story to explore.
In 2009, it was picked up by a professional game artist, Robert Briscoe, for a complete overhaul of the visuals and level design, in the hopes that it would be able to overcome it’s early shortcomings as a mod and be able to fulfil its true potential.
In late 2010 it became clear the overhaul had become something much more, and with Valve and the community’s support the project was granted a license to make Dear Esther a completely independent release, and allowing everyone the opportunity to get a chance to experience the game for themselves!
Dan Pinchbeck – Writer and Producer
Robert Briscoe – Artist & Level Designer (and everything in-between!)
Jessica Curry – Composer
Jack Morgan – Coder
Nigel Carrington – Voice Acting
Ben Andrews – Concept Art
Samuel Justice – Audio Mastering Engineer
The Chinese Room
Dear Esther was created by Dan Pinchbeck, a researcher based at the University of Portsmouth (UK) in 2007, as part of a project funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council to explore experimental game play and storytelling.
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