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Dear Esther update will be free for owners of the original

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BioShock isn't the only game that's about to be remastered for a new generation of hardware. The Chinese Room is updating its lovely, slightly spooky exploration-adventure game Dear Esther for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It's being badged as the Dear Esther: Landmark Edition, and will also be released to owners of the 2012 PC original as a free update. 

The Dear Esther Landmark Edition “is a faithful port of the Source engine original onto Unity 5,” the studio said, with remastered audio, a new developer commentary track, additional accessibility options including large subtitles and a crosshair, multi-language menus and subtitles, and trophies and achievements. 

The promise of achievements is bound to elicit a few snide giggles, as Dear Esther is widely considered to be the game that birthed the “walking simulator” genre—a supposedly pejorative description of first-person games that lack interactivity. And it's true to a point: Dear Esther is, if you look at it that way, about nothing more than wandering around a rocky, windswept island while some guy blubbers in your ear. But it's a beautiful journey, filled with questions and ambiguity, the sort of experience you really take in, rather than simply finish. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a great game, but it was absolutely groundbreaking in the way it challenged widely-held perceptions of what videogames are, and could be. 

(Yes, I liked it very much.) 

The Dear Esther: Landmark Edition update will be released “in a few months.” The console version comes out on September 20.
 

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.