Dan Pinchbeck

A short video on how to make videogame spaces for storytelling

How does a videogame introduce story to the player? Better yet, how does a game invoke emotion in the constrained physical world space of a game? We’ve seen it done in ham-fisted fashion: see the much maligned “Press F to Pay Your Respects” from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, or consider the traditional “fight the baddies now pause for some story” route that many other big-budget games go. “We’re creating an architecture for a story to exist in” In a video from the Future of Storytelling series, Dear Esther (2012) director Dan Pinchbeck talks about how games often take for granted one…


What’s going on over at The Chinese Room?

A lot is going on at The Chinese Room at the moment. Perhaps not as much as before Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was released, or necessarily more than any other studio out there, but what is going on is being documented in surprisingly personal and honest blogs. This is going to start off grim and then slowly get less grim, so stick with it. We begin with the studio’s co-founder Jessica Curry who had a “horribly hard post to write.” In short, she’s leaving (sort of), but will continue to compose music for the studio’s games.  “I was so…


Breaking: Walking simulator features a "run" button

We were keen on Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, the Chinese Room’s spiritual successor to Dear Esther and a furious, beautiful audio-visual experience. The game is literate, subtle, and adult, all qualities missing from a lot of the games we come across, even those that aspire to such descriptors. We (by which I mean I) also called it “the Gran Turismo of walking simulators,” in that it obstinately keeps the player moving at a fixed clip through a fairly sprawling world. While I enjoyed this restraint, many other critics thought it sullied the entire experience.  In a blog post, Chinese Room creative director…


Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture aims for "genuinely nonlinear narrative"

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture designer Dan Pinchbeck has written a long blog post detailing the game’s creative genesis. Peppered throughout are some hints on what the final game—which, after being shrouded in secrecy, is due to be released in early August—might contain.  He’s spoken before (to Kill Screen, among other places) about the “cosy catastrophe” branch of apocalyptic fiction, a distinctly British take on the end of the world focused as much on the quiet dissolution and retention of social norms as it is on, like, marauding bands of radioactive freaks. Here he pinpoints their appeal to the era:…