Seminal narrative adventure ‘Dear Esther’ coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this Summer
The Chinese Room and Curve Digital will bring “Director’s Cut” of BAFTA-nominated title to consoles later this year
The spiritual prequel to Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is heading to consoles for the very first time, thanks to developer The Chinese Room and publisher Curve Digital.
Dear Esther broke the mould with its original release on PC back in 2012, redefining the way games tell stories. In turn, it posed questions not just of the player, but the art form itself, single-handedly establishing a new genre, of which Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, Gone Home and Firewatch are prominent examples.
The game asks players to explore a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides, assuming the role of a troubled man piecing together the chain of events which lead to his wife’s death. Fragments of letters appear throughout the island, weaving a complex narrative of both the recent and distant past. As the island’s secrets are gradually revealed, players will piece together a tale which will remain with them long after the screen has faded to black.
It was an astonishingly bold videogame at the time, with an ambition and aesthetic often imitated but rarely bettered.
The console versions of Dear Esther will, for the first time, offer PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners the opportunity to lose themselves on this remote Scottish island. These versions will also debut an all-new “director’s commentary” mode, where subsequent replays will be accompanied by an audio retrospective of the game’s inception, development, release and impact, as members of the original team reunite to provide the most comprehensive retrospective of the game yet. Additionally, subtle tweaks will refine how the game looks and plays – tweaking it ever-so-slightly for a modern console audience.
The game won the ‘Excellence in Visual Arts’ award at the 2012 Independent Games Festival and was celebrated for the ‘Best Use of Narrative’ in the Develop Awards of the same year. It was also nominated for five awards at the 2013 British Academy Video Games Awards.
“We’ve always known that Dear Esther would continue its story,” says Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room, “and we’re delighted to be writing that story with Curve Digital. Dear Esther is a hugely important game to us, so it’s great to know it’s in very capable hands – we’re excited to see the reaction from PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players.
“It is rare that a game can be considered ‘genre-defining’; but Dear Esther is one such title,” says Simon Byron, publishing director, Curve Digital. “It was literally the game I set up a Steam account for, so to work with the immense team at The Chinese Room to bring their seminal game to a console audience is a genuine thrill. I’m really excited that both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners are soon to embark on a journey which has the potential to change them.”
Dear Esther will be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.