is a British independent video game development studio best known for working on experimental first-person games, such as the Half-Life 2 mod Dear Esther, and co-developing its full-fledged remake. The company originated as a mod team for Half-Life 2, based at the University of Portsmouth in 2007, and is named after John Searle's Chinese room thought experiment.
The Chinese Room's first three projects were two mods for Half-Life 2, named Antlion Soccer and Dear Esther, and a Doom 3 mod titledConscientious Objector. The modding project was backed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Of these, Dear Esther became a cult hit. In 2009, The Chinese Room developed Korsakovia, which was a survival horror mod.
After Korsakovia, The Chinese Room worked with Robert Briscoe to develop a remake of Dear Esther, this time as a full-fledged video game title, distributed through Valve Corporation's Steam distribution service. This stand-alone version of the mod received several IGF nominations, such as the Seamus McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Visual Arts and Audio, and the Nuovo Award. It finally won for Excellence in Visual Art. The remake featured improved graphics, but was based on the same engine as the previous mods, Source. The game was released in early 2012 and recouped its $55,000 investment in less than six hours of release, when 16,000 copies of the game were sold. One week after launch, the game reached 50,000 copies sold.
In February 2012, The Chinese Room announced that they began development on Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, a survival horror game and indirect sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This project was produced by the makers of the original game, Frictional Games. It was later released on 10 September 2013.
The Chinese Room also began work on their newest title, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture alongside the development of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Initially developed on PC, the team was afraid it would not receive enough funding from fans. They instead partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica Studio to produce the game. It was re-revealed at gamescom 2013 during Sony's conference as a PlayStation 4 exclusive. The title was finally released on 11 August 2015.
Conscientious Objector (mod)
Dear Esther (mod)
Antlion Soccer (mod)
Dear Esther (remake)
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Curve Digital Confirms the Launch Date for Dear Esther: Landmark Editionю Award-winning Masterpiece from Heralded Developer, The Chinese Room, Heads...