The Chinese Room, the developers behind games like Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, has laid off the grand majority of its employees. Not only that but the studio is preparing to “Go Dark” for the following months.
Company co-founder Dan Pinchbeck broke the news in a blog post, where he explained that a combination of financial, development, and health-related issues created an untenable, unsustainable situation.
“This has been on the cards since earlier this year. 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.” Says Dan in the blog post. “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.”
So he was forced to let the team go, a very hard decision on their behalf. However, while the studio Going dark might seem to many like the end of the road. Dan believed this is just a pit stop, 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.” Said Dan.
Dan made a few comments about what to expect from The Chinese Room in the future. “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.”
So, we’ll have a shortage of Walking Simulators. Oh well, we can only hope the development team comes back at full force as soon as possible.