Dear Esther is out!

Our gift to you, on this very special Valentine’s Day, is the worldwide release of the long-awaited game Dear Esther.

If you haven’t heard of Dear Esther, watch this:

(Or hey, watch the trailer even if you are quite familiar with the game; the trailer is beautiful and worthy of multiple viewings.)

We expect public reception of this game to run wide: some will love it, and others will be very concerned about whether this thing can be called a game and what that means. So far, this has certainly been the case in pre-release reviews.

Game Informer scored the game an 8/10, saying: “You should consider checking out Dear Esther the same way you’d appraise a film. If you’re interested in absorbing an intellectual story and gorgeous visuals without having to exert a drop of effort, take a chance on this curious experiment.” scored the game a 9: “Discovery is such an important part of Dear Esther, especially when everything is so phenomenally pretty.”

Meanwhile, Destructoid gave the game a lowly 4.5/10: “It’s as if it wants to be a part of this wonderful medium of ours without asking itself why, which is exactly why you should seek it out and learn from its failures as a game enthusiast, critic, or developer.”

We like that there’s such a big difference of opinion because it means the game is breaking new ground. It’s playing in territory that is not safe; there is no established understanding there.

Dear Esther is a game that no publisher would have funded. Dan, Rob, Jessica and the other associates of thechineseroom have done an excellent job putting together a beautiful game. We are happy to be backing it; we hope you enjoy playing it.

If you’d like more information about Dear Esther, here’s an interview with Dan, and here’s a link the game’s page on Steam.

  • I love that you guys mentioned the variety of reviews. I think that a number taken for it’s face value is meaningless, but the words behind it can often be constructive.

    I’m happy to see the game finally get released, I can’t wait to play it.Congrats to thechineseroom on the release!

  • Anonymous

     It is still great that even though it is a failure for Destructoid, it is an interesting failure, that they consider worthy of checking out. So, is it an failur after all?
    I don’t like these numbers-ratings in general, and especially for Dear Esther this simply does not work.

    I doubt that there will ever be a videogame like Dear Esther again, but there does not have to be one. This is just one concept taken to the extreme. A high-concept game.
    And now that the industry and developers are seeing that it can work to such an extent, they can be inspired by it to put it into their own games. Not exactly like this, but maybe similiar.

    No one should regret paying these few bucks for it. Sure, in terms of videogames it is quite a lot for the hours the average person will get out of it. But gamers are spoiled. Sometimes it seems like they are not willing to pay even a single dollar for something, if it does not provide at least 100 hours of gameplay.
    And then they pay so much more money for stuff that won’t even last half an hour.

    • Anonymous

      but you also gotta consider the market size. yes, for something like dear esther and the number of people it can reach, i think the price is justified.
      but what if mainstream companies would start charging as much as they do for games that are only two hours long? raking in millions while giving the players a lot less for their money?
      or what if the interest in indie games was so big that a game like dear esther could sell 2 million times? do you think it would be justified when maybe 2-3 people invest a year of their life in a short and neat game, no matter how great it is, that they become millionaires?

  • Anonymous

    you know… i’ve enjoyed q.u.b.e. (i’m actually STILL enjoying it) very much and dear esther… well, i couldn’t leave it alone until i was through, even though i had other things to do.

    i was wondering whether the games that this organization will fund will be as unusual, interesting, beautiful, etc. as “braid” and while i find braid better than those two games (hell, braid is my favorite puzzle game of the last… possibly decade. and THE game that made me focus a LOT on indie games…), they are still very, very good and i can’t wait to see what future games that indie fund will fund will be like 🙂

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