Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs developer The Chinese Room has revealed that its next game will be an isometric RPG called Total Dark. That's a far cry from its previous work that's all more or less fallen under the dreadful "walking simulator" moniker.
Studio director Dan Pinchbeck teased the project in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun wherein he said it was inspired by his love of pen-and-paper RPGs and wargames such as Traveller, Paranoia, and Twilight 2000.
"It's a much more traditional game, an isometric adventure with a free-floating camera and lots of mechanics," Pinchbeck said of this upcoming project. "That will make some people happy while other people are going to wonder if we have the right experience to make that sort of game. But we absolutely do. Because most people know us because of Dear Esther and now Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, it's easy to assume that's the kind of game we will always make and have always made. What they may not realise is that we were developing other mods alongside Dear Esther. One of them was Antlion Soccer."
Indeed Pinchbeck released this arthropod-based spin on soccer as a Half-Life 2 mod in 2008 alongside Dear Esther. Yet it was his more experimental narrative project that went viral.
While Pinchbeck was cagey on specific details, he noted that despite its grim title Total Dark will actually have a "lighter tone" than the developer's previous efforts. "It's no less weird but it's not quite as bleak," he said.
Total Dark began as a board game and The Chinese Room may even adapt it into that at a later date. But for now it's targeting a PC release and is hoping to have a playable prototype by the end of April.
In related The Chinese Room news, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture has been announced for PC, though no release window has been set.