The developer behind the critically acclaimed games Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture has announced it’s going to close its doors for at least the next few months.
Dan Pinchbeck, a studio head at The Chinese Room, said in a blog post on the studio’s website that:
“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”
“We did our best to try and help the team secure new positions.”
He continued to detail further that the studio was letting staff go, adding that “Lay-offs are never pleasant”, and that the studio “[…] did our best to try and help the team secure new positions.”
Pinchbeck goes on to say that the companies games will remain on sale, as well as associated merchandise including soundtracks, and that a handful of key members will continue working on their unreleased games as and when they can find time to do so, citing that being managing director “just led to stress and burn-out” for him.
Throughout the post Pinchbeck is clear that this is not a definitive end to The Chinese Room as a functioning development studio, but rather a hiatus that came about out of necessity, as opposed to the team actively seeking to end their collaboration and day-to-day work.
At the end of his post, he frankly summarises the intent behind the blog post and lay-offs;
“Is it the end of The Chinese Room? No, I don’t think so. But it’s the end of a chapter, and we hope you can all be patient with us whilst we figure out what happens next.”