Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is free to keep on Steam

Dear Esther is a milestone in the development of the modern exploration game, often pejoratively referred to as “walking simulators”. Originally a Half-Life 2 mod, Dear Esther has players wander a lonely island as a story unfolds via the landmarks they encounter. It can be completed in an hour. Its studio, The Chinese Room, went on to make Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, though before that, it worked on the Amnesia spin-off A Machine for Pigs—the latter a kind of blueprint for the modern pacifist horror game (see also Outlast, Visage).

It’s definitely worth playing if you’re interested in how games have evolved so far this century, and now’s a better time than ever, because it’s currently free on Steam. Specifically, Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is free, the 2017 Unity Engine remake which not only looks a whole lot better, but also has improved audio and a Directors’ Commentary mode.

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