The first trailer for Dear Esther, and an official Steam Store Page, are finally here.
Something very awesome is going to happen on Valentine's Day, and no, it's not the Mass Effect 3 demo. [Let's face it, at this point you've already decided whether or not you're going to buy Mass Effect 3. A demo is about as useful as a vestigial tail.] No, I'm talking about something entirely different, that's really different: the launch of Dear Esther on Steam.
Dear Esther is a commercial remake of the 2008 Source mod by the same name, being done by indie studio thechineseroom, which created the original Dear Esther, in collaboration with former DICE environment artist Robert Briscoe. As Lewis Denby noted a couple of years ago in "A New Horror," the original mod includes no combat and no puzzles to solve, but is instead a slow-burning, "interactive ghost story." It's been nominated for four Independent Games Festival 2012 awards: Excellence in Visual Arts, Excellence in Audio, the Nuovo Award ["to honor abstract, shortform and unconventional game development"] and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.
If you're expecting the trailer to provide some insight into what this game is actually about, however, you'd best prepare yourself for disappointment. "The focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here," according to a description of the game at dear-esther.com. "Fragments of story are randomly uncovered when exploring the various locations of the island, making every each journey a unique experience."
Dear Esther will come out on Steam on February 14 for a very reasonable $9.99. And since you already know you're going to be all over Mass Effect 3 on launch day anyway, why not do something different and give this a try instead?