Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture helped assure The Chinese Room’s place in the industry but its future is currently up in the air. Founder Dan Pinchbeck has announced in a blog post that there have been lay-offs and the studio plans to have a “pause” of sorts.
After development ended on So Let Us Melt, the studio’s next game, and the usual game pitches and so on were happening, Pinchbeck said a health issue in June motivated him to have a “serious think about things.”
“To cut a long story short, the situation – between financial pressures, trying to keep the lights on for the employed team, the stress of end-of-development, health issues – just wasn’t a tenable thing anymore. It was time to take a break, recharge, recover, and have a good think about the future.”
The result is that the development team has been laid off. “Layoffs are never pleasant, particularly when you’re all trying to wrap a game. We did our best to try and help the team secure new positions, and then we all – the whole team – threw everything we had at wrapping the game. It didn’t feel fair to anyone, least of all people who had spent a year working on a project, to have its completion and release overshadowed by news about the studio closing, so we’ve held off on the announcement until we felt we were clear of all of that.”
That being said, the studio isn’t shutting down. Its game will still be available to purchase and the developer will still be active on social media. Work is still on-going for 13th Interior with a larger team perhaps coming on if needed and the developer has also received funding for Little Orpheus. The former will be in the prototyping phase by 2017 end. Pinchbeck noted that, “We’ll still be about, just not a fully active development team for the time being.”
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