The Chinese Room, the developer behind Death Esther and the recent game, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, has revealed that they’ve ‘gone dark’.
This news comes via a lengthy interview with Eurogamer where the developer revealed tat they’ve had to let go of staff due to financial pressures, trying to keep the lights on for employees, and health issues. As a result the developer has “gone dark” so that they can reassess the situation and come back once things are looking a little better.
“Back in June, I had a health scare – nothing life-threatening, but enough to pull me up short and make us have a serious think about things,” said co-founder and studio director Dan Pinchbeck. “This was right at the tail end of development on So Let Us Melt, following a long period of ongoing pitches and negotiations to secure the follow-up project for the studio. To cut a long story short, the situation – between financial pressures, trying to keep the lights on for the employed team, the stress of end-of-development, health issues – just wasn’t a tenable thing anymore. It was time to take a break, recharge, recover and have a good think about the future.”
As a result Pinchbeck and co-founder / composer / his wife Jessica Curry decided to lay off staff at the studio. While this isn’t necessarily good news, especially for those affected (Pinchbeck did add that they worked on securing other jobs for employees before wrapping up development) the studio isn’t shutting down or disappearing completely.
“Firstly, it’s not the end, just a pause. The games are still on sale, merch, soundtracks, the Dear Esther tour, all of that. We’ll keep things gently ticking over: talking to fans, being on twitter, the usual stuff, just… less,” he reveals. “We’re still making The 13th Interior (formerly Total Dark) – me and Andrew and Jess, pushing that forwards until it’s ready to throw a whole team at – and we’ve got plans (and funding) to go into a prototype period on Little Orpheus at the end of the year. So we’ll still be about, just not a fully active development team for the time being.”