The Chinese Room

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The Chinese Room Ltd
Industry Video game industry
Founded 2007; 10 years ago (2007)
Headquarters Brighton, England
Key people
Dan Pinchbeck
Jessica Curry
Products Dear Esther
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

The Chinese Room Ltd (formerly Thechineseroom Limited until 11 June 2013)[1] is a British independent video game development studio best known for working on experimental first-person games, such as the Half-Life 2 mod Dear Esther, and co-developing its full-fledged remake. The company originated as a mod team for Half-Life 2, based at the University of Portsmouth in 2007, and is named after John Searle's Chinese room thought experiment, however, the origami logo is a japanese symbol.

Development history[edit]


Thechineseroom's first three projects were two mods for Half-Life 2, named Antlion Soccer and Dear Esther, and a Doom 3 mod titled Conscientious Objector. The modding project was backed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Of these, Dear Esther became a cult hit. In 2009, Thechineseroom developed Korsakovia, which was a survival horror mod.[2][3]


After Korsakovia, Thechineseroom worked with Robert Briscoe to develop a remake of Dear Esther, this time as a full-fledged video game title, distributed through Valve Corporation's Steam distribution service. This stand-alone version of the mod received several IGF nominations, such as the Seamus McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Visual Arts and Audio, and the Nuovo Award.[4] It finally won for Excellence in Visual Art.[5] The remake featured improved graphics, but was based on the same engine as the previous mods, Source. The game was released in early 2012 and recouped its $55,000 investment in less than six hours of release, when 16,000 copies of the game were sold.[6] One week after launch, the game reached 50,000 copies sold.[7]

In February 2012, Thechineseroom announced that they began development on Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, a survival horror game and indirect sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This project was produced by the makers of the original game, Frictional Games.[8][9] It was later released on 10 September 2013.[10]

Thechineseroom also began work on their newest title, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture alongside the development of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.[11] During that time, on 12 July 2013, they renamed themselves from Thechineseroom to The Chinese Room. Initially developed on PC, the team was afraid it would not receive enough funding from fans. They instead partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica Studio to produce the game. It was re-revealed at Gamescom 2013 during Sony's conference as a PlayStation 4 exclusive. The title was finally released on 11 August 2015.[12]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title
2008 Conscientious Objector (mod)
Dear Esther (mod)
Antlion Soccer (mod)
2009 Korsakovia (mod)
2012 Dear Esther
2013 Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
2015 Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
2017 Dear Esther: Landmark Edition
TBA Total Dark[13]


  1. ^ Curry, Jessica (11 June 2013). "Welcome to the New Us". Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Burch, Anthony (25 September 2009). "Korsakovia is like the Silent Hill sequel that never was". Destructoid. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  3. ^ RPS (21 September 2009). "An Esther Binge: Korsakovia". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  4. ^ Polson, John. Procter, Lewie. (20 February 2012). "Road to the IGF: Thechineseroom's Dear Esther". Gamasutra. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  5. ^ Niedringhaus, Melissa (8 March 2012). "Independent Games Festival announces fourteenth annual awards winners". Warpzoned. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  6. ^ (18 February 2012). "Half-Life 2: Dear Esther Build Recoups Development Investment in Few Hours". Game Bandits. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  7. ^ Chapple, Craig (27 February 2012). "Dear Esther surpasses 50,000 sales". Develop Online. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  8. ^ Chalk, Andy (23 February 2012). "Frictional Confirms Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs". The Escapist. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  9. ^ Birch, Aaron (23 February 2012). "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs announced". Den of Geek. Retrieved on 9 March 2012.
  10. ^ "So, the secret is out- Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is set for...". Retrieved on 28 August 2013.
  11. ^ Pinchbeck, Dan (11 June 2013). "Welcome to the New Us". The Chinese Room. Retrieved on 31 August 2015.
  12. ^ Pinchbeck, Dan (11 June 2015). "Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Comes to PS4 August 11th, 2015". PlayStation. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Jarvis, Matthew (27 July 2016). "The Chinese Room working on 'most mechanically-focused' game to date". Develop. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 

External links[edit]