Dear Esther is free on Steam to celebrate its 10th anniversary


Celebrating a classic

Video games have changed a lot since their inception in the 1970s. For a long time, it seemed like it was impossible to divorce games from combat, but as the medium continued to mature, developers began experimenting with the form in ways we hadn’t seen before. Although games that put story first had been around for a good while, Dear Esther was one of the first games to bring the walking simulator genre to the forefront of the games industry. Without this title, we likely wouldn’t have titles like Firewatch or What Remains of Edith Finch — or at least, not in the same capacity. Its influence on narrative games is still seen to this day, and now, on Dear Esther‘s 10th anniversary, developer The Chinese Room is ready to celebrate!

In honor of the special occasion, Dear Esther is free on Steam from February 14–15, 2022.

Dear Esther places players on a remote island somewhere in the Outer Hebrides, a chain of islands off the west coast of mainland Scotland. Through an exploration and story-driven experience, players then must uncover the details of a woman named Esther’s mysterious death. The game was revolutionary back when it was released in 2012, and changed the landscape of how the games industry thought about storytelling, becoming a modern classic.

The 10th anniversary of Dear Esther comes just two weeks before the release of their newest game, Little Orpheusa side-scrolling narrative adventure to the center of the Earth, inspired by old movies like Sinbad and The Land that Time Forgot. The game shows just how far the studio has come in terms of its visual style, but will remain true to the love of storytelling that turned Dear Esther into an award-winning title. Little Orpheus hits PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Steam, Epic Games Store, and Nintendo Switch on March 1, 2022.

Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is available for free until 7:00 a.m. Pacific on Feb. 16.