Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

I'm hoping the world ends with that sunrise being obliterated by the moon from Zelda: Majora's Mask.

Dear Esther‘s brilliantly amorphous plot made me feel like I’d hit my head and – for the same reason that television’s left me deathly afraid of light flicks on the forehead or especially hard rainfall – acquired horribly debilitating amnesia. That, however, is probably where the similarities between Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs and Dear Esther end, so thechineseroom’s also giving its more experimental spirit room to breathe with Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. It is, of course, about the end of the world – as these things so often are. But this is far from typical videogame pre/post/postmodern apocalypse fare.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Last week, I ran the first half of my recent chat with Steve Gaynor, formerly of Irrational and 2K Marin, and now of indie studio The Fullbright Company – who are working on mysterious, ambitious, suburban-set non-combat first-person game Gone Home. Being as I am an investigative journalist par excellence>, I decided that it would be appropriate to spend the second half of the interview forgoing questioning entirely in favour of simply shouting the names of other games at him. Games like Myst, Amnesia, Jurassic Park: Trespasser, Journey and Dear Esther. Rather than hanging up in disgust, he offered fascinating, thoughtful replies on the limits of interactivity in games and the sort of scale Gone Home is intended to operate on. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Hip to be square-with-bits-on

Bundles, crowdsourcing – these are not the only ways to bring in suitable monies for an independently-developed videogame. Fascinatingly strange IGF Technical Excellence award-snatcher Antichamber – as experienced by one John Walker here - has been signed up as the seventh beneficiary of the Indie Fund. That’s the investment initiative arranged by the likes of 2D Boy, Jon Blow, Capy and thatgamecompany. It follows in the proud footsteps of Dear Esther, Qube, and Monaco, and is to receive the funding necessary to push it over the finish line for a PC and Mac release later in this year of our endless, ursine lord, 2012. If it works out as well as it did for Dear Esther, both developer Alexander Bruce and the Indie Fund team will be terribly happy. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Sweep up a Dustforce demoOnlive and the IGF are spooning for a fortnight. The sensual lovers are celebrating the Indie Gaming New Year by giving you access to 30 minute demos of 16 IGF finalists. The alphabetically sexy list of games is: Atom Zombie Smasher, Be Good, Botanicula, Dear Esther, Dustforce, English Country Tune, Frozen Synapse, FTL, Lume, Nitronic Rush, Once Upon a Spacetime, POP, SpaceChem, To the Moon, Toren, and WAY. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

This little piggy had none

As it was rumoured, so it shall be. Dear Esther’s lead writer, Dan Pinchbeck, has revealed to Joystiq that thechineseroom are working on A Machine For Pigs, set in Amnesia’s world, although it won’t be a direct sequel to the dimly lit descent. It will, however, star a wealthy industrialist called Daniel Plainview Oswald Mandus, who returns from an ill-fated trip to Mexico in 1899 and finds that his body is plagued with fever and his mind is plagued with nightmares that revolve around an ominous machine. Possibly for pigs. Probably not some sort of mechanical pig disco and daycare centre.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

It's only sleeping

Breaking news, if you were reading the internet a couple of days ago. Following a brief ARG, a tiny, hopeful squeak of detail has emerged for the next game from Amnesia devs Frictional. Frankly anything is more useful than ‘it might be set in China, possibly‘, but in this case we have a couple of pieces of creepy, bloody concept art and a possible title.

That title? ‘A Machine For Pigs.’ Which sounds ever so slightly like a change of direction for George R.R. Martin’s reader-mocking novels, but also appears to refer directly to the abbatoir-esque scenes in the concept art. But is that the real name, or just a codename? I’ve done some research into animal-slaughtering equipment and come up with some EXCITING ALTERNATIVES. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Aren't you glad to see this picture again?

They said it would never end. And then, on Saturday, it did. We’ve been posting our series of chats with the many splendid finalists in this year’s Independent Games Festival over the last couple of months, and, with the exception of English Country Tune (dev was worried about sounding boring), Mirage (dev didn’t reply) and Fez (dev wouldn’t confirm the possibility of a PC version) we managed to get mini-interviews with all the PC/Mac indie developers in the running for a gong.

In case you missed a few, didn’t understand what the hell it was all about or just like looking at neatly-ordered lists, here’s the complete series for your relaxed perusal. It’s a fascinating and diverse bunch of games in the finals this year, and if nothing else, it’s a rare chance to see what 18 different developers would say to the monsters in Doom if only they could talk to them.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

They'll be making boats out of tenners now.

Dear Esther, the minimalist first-person explorer, made its costs back in the first five and a half hours on sale. A quite remarkable achievement for an indie game, and a rather impressive vindication of The Indie Fund, the gathering of successful indies who are funding new projects. It has sold 16,000 copies in its first 24 hours, and made back all $55k they’d invested in the game before it was even six hours old. And by the rules of The Indie Fund, that means the developers thechineseroom are now making profit. You can read all about how it went down here. Alec adored Dear Esther, as he writes about here. I didn’t think it was nearly so good, as I explain here.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Not pictured: John Walker's soul. BECAUSE IT DOESN'T EXIST.

John’s already presented his verdict on thechineseroom’s first-person ghost-esque story Dear Esther, but I’ve a thing or two I’d like to say about it myself. And not just because I like to oppress John at any opportunity I get. It’s because Dear Esther really did work its dark, metaphysical magic upon me.

This write-up will contain spoilers unbound; do not read on if you haven’t played (and intend to play) Dear Esther.> (more…)

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