Dear Esther began its life as a Half-Life 2 mod back in 2008, written and produced by Dan Pinchbeck. It was very well-received by most of those who played it, and praised for its non-linear narrative structure.
In 2009, artist Robert Briscoe–who worked on Mirror’s Edge as well as a number of Source projects–got involved to help the project realize its full potential.
After spending a good deal of time working on improving the visuals and level design, Valve granted the project a license to to make the game as an independent release. Now, most recent build of the game has been submitted to IGF 2011, and while the final product has slipped from a summer release until “the end of the year” (largely due to porting the game to the Portal 2 engine), there are already a couple of absolutely gorgeous trailers showing off the new level of polish.
Dear Esther is ostensibly a first-person ghost story, in which clips of the narrative are revealed based on exploration. This basically means that the story unfolds differently, based on where the player chooses to explore. The trailer above shows off some updated footage of the game’s foliage, and the following clip shows off a revamped cave area.
Just to put things in perspective, you can also check out the last trailer here, which shows off the pre-redux version of the game.
The Dear Esther remake isn’t very far away, but if you can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about, you can download the original Half-Life 2 mod from ModDB.
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