Robert Briscoe

Dear Esther review

Chris Thursten at

You wander the cliffs, caves and sheep-pens of a windswept Hebridean island. A single voice reads out fragments of letters, and through these you gain snatches of information about the island and other people who took a walk similar to yours.

Their stories bleed into each other: the travel writer who visited the island in pursuit of a legendary hermit. The shepherd stranded here without friends or family, whose situation reflects the hermit’s. Dear Esther is about heavy subjects: isolation and tragedy tie the island’s visitors together.

Dear Esther revealed: an indie Source Engine game

Lewis Denby at

"Grief, loss, guilt, faith, illness... But it's also about love and hope and redemption" That's how Dear Esther's designer describes his game.

Imagine a Source Engine title without any guns or physics puzzles. Dear Esther emerged from a research question proposed by Dr Dan Pinchbeck in Portsmouth University: "What would happen if a game was to focus purely on storytelling, to the exclusion of more traditional interactive elements? The project has gone from humble mod to commercial release on Steam, redesigned by one of the team behind the stark environments of Mirror's Edge. It's got potential to change how you think about games forever.

Issue 224 of PC Gamer UK has an in-depth feature on innovative title, but we like you so much that we're giving away our interviews with the designer, developer and sound designer for free. Click more to get the scoop.

New screenshots of Dear Esther remake

Jaz McDougall at

Dear Esther, the sombre Half Life 2 mod where you steer a tortured man around an abandoned island listening to his internal monologues, diary entries, or whatever that constant talking is, has been quietly polished up by Robert Briscoe. He's released a ton of screens and a little walk-about trailer, showcasing his rendition subterranean world where you spend a significant portion in the middle of the game. It's gorgeous.