“If the world ended in a little village in Shropshire, it’d be inconvenient.”
That was the pitch for thechineseroom’s hour-long apocalypse sim, which has the player wander about the West Midlands in search of purpose or somebody worth dying with. You can still do that when it arrives in a few months’ time – but you’ll need to be holding a controller, and sat opposite a console that hasn’t been released yet.
The reason? It’d never get made otherwise.
“It’ll be a PS4 exclusive,” studio head Dan Pinchbeck told RPS.
explain yuself, Pinchbeck
wha u mean
when yu say
“So the thinking went like this,” he obligingly explained. “We don’t have enough money or production expertise to make this game without help. We don’t think we can raise enough through Kickstarter or public alpha to make this happen. We could do with production support on a game this scale.
“We’ve always wanted to make a console game. Publishers have bad reputations all too often. Hey, [Journey/Unfinished Swan ‘incubators’] Sony Santa Monica are great though. We’ve met them a few times and really like them and their attitude. Also, PS4 is starting to look very cool as a platform. All eggs thrown into singular basket, Sony Santa Monica contacted, everybody likes each other, lots of love for the project.”
After a “long dark night of the soul mulling over implications of shifting across to console”, says Pinchbeck, a “mix of pragmatism and excitement about the possibilities [won] out”.
thechineseroom haven’t forgotten their PC contingent, though – the same contingent that spread the word on Dear Esther when it was naught but a Half-Life mod, and pushed sales via Steam and the Humble Bundle to “well over” 750,000 copies.
“Dear Esther fans were very much in our thoughts, but enough of us are multi-platform gamers to make this work for us,” said Pinchbeck. “And we’re in this for the long game, so I can’t see us not returning to PC, or doing whatever we can to keep that fan base as we owe them a great deal.
“But part of that is following our instincts about how we develop and find stability as a studio and this is going to be part of the process. And without sounding like a bought man, the PS4 is genuinely a really, really cool platform, and if people have never bought into console gaming before, this is the time.”
thechineseroom will be returning to the PC in no time at all, actually, with the wee-inducing, Nine Inch Nails-ishly titled Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs on September 10. But after that, it’ll be all sadfaces for a good while round our way.
Are you getting one of these newfangled PS4s, then? C’mon, own up: we never talk about this stuff.
*’00s GCSE English cheat-sheet found here.