Our artist Alex takes you through the creation of our new company logo in this in-depth blog post!
Those of you who picked up Dear Esther: Landmark Edition on PS4 or Xbox One may have noticed something different... a new logo!
Last week, we welcomed the latest addition to The Chinese Room, the yin to our Stuart's yang (or is it the other way around?), the amazing programmer Gwen Raymond! In her own words, here's a quick intro - please give her a warm welcome!
As mentioned yesterday, we have two very talented industry veterans starting at The Chinese Room this month! You've met Steve, our new Lead Artist, yesterday, and it's time to introduce you to our very own Andrew' s new partner in crime, Senior Designer Catherine Woolley!
We have exciting news! This month, two fantastically talented new people are joining The Chinese Room to help us create our next games! The first one is our new Lead Artist, Steve Noake, who will be working closely with Alex and Rich, and who wrote a quick message to introduce himself...
UPDATE (22/03/2016): Applications for this position are now closed! Thanks to all that applied and shared!
The Chinese Room is looking for a Lead Artist to join us in our Brighton office. Interested, or know someone who might be? Get in touch and spread the word!
Have a look at the job ad:
Making games look incredible is your passion. You’re an artist – it’s not just a job description, it’s what you are. You love games and the opportunity to work collaboratively creating rich, beautiful worlds and everything they contain; you care deeply about the artistic and technical possibilities of this medium and understand that those two things are entirely the same and can’t be separated out. You combine world-class fine art ability with world-class technical skills and you’re constantly exploring: trying new things, making new stuff, connecting new ideas.
You love building and supporting a team, and the inherently collaborative, people-centred business of making games. You love to be involved in every aspect of art production, from concept and scheduling, iterations, design and greyboxing, asset creation, lighting and VFX, environments and characters, technical solutions and environmental storytelling. You’re committed to quality, and you want to grab the opportunity to make games with a studio that combines a small-team, indie attitude with AAA production values.
We like creating amazing things. If you do too, we'd love to hear from you.
- Work with the Creative Director to realise the artistic vision of the game to the highest possible quality
- Lead, inspire and mentor an exceptional team of artists
- Create, evaluate and iterate world-class visuals, assets, environments and all other art as required
- Drive art production, supporting the Lead Producer on scheduling, feedback and optimising workflow and pipelines.
- Work closely with design, code, audio and other disciplines to maximise the opportunities for player experience across the game.
Essential Qualities, Skills and Experience
- Minimum of at least one shipped title as a senior or above.
- World-class artistic and technical skills in all areas of art production from traditional fine art skills to high-end technology.
- Track record of managing and mentoring a team, with exceptional leadership and communication.
- Highly creative and independent thinker, always pushing for new challenges and opportunities to excel.
- Excellent understanding of production pipelines and experience ensuring scoping is accurate and art is delivered on time and to budget and quality.
- Strong skills with Unreal are essential, experience with Unity also a bonus.
Formed in 2010 by the composer Jessica Curry and writer/designer Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room are an award-winning, internationally acclaimed game studio based in Brighton, UK. Our debut title, Dear Esther, began life as a mod in 2007 and was launched as a commercial title in 2012, smashing the sales ceiling for art games and creating the FPX or walking simulator sub-genre. We followed this with 2013’s Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, a cult sequel to Frictional Games’ classic psychological horror. Unashamedly literary, Machine for Pigs once again gathered international praise and awards. In 2013, we announced a partnership with Sony to produce Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, the largest and most ambitious FPX to date – a fully open-world, non-linear drama that broke new ground in terms of storytelling in games. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, released in summer 2015, has featured on nearly all GOTY lists for 2015, and is already winning major awards. It was described by Edge as "one of the most affecting, and effectively delivered, videogame narratives in recent history“; “an extraordinary piece of work“, by The Telegraph and “brave, it’s challenging, and it’s essential... It has to be experienced to be believed“, by GamesRadar. USGamer praised it for “utter beauty, touching, desperate... gripping, involving and thoroughly rewarding. Brilliant”, and for Gamespot it was “one of the best narrative-driven games I have ever played... magnificently crafted”.
We love games, and exploring everything games can be. For us, it's not just about the games you make, it's the way you make them.
The role will be based in Brighton, UK. Please send CV, covering letter and link to online portfolio to email@example.com
Quite the year, really. It’s been a hell of a ride, with some pretty intense highs and lows, but we leave 2015 having shipped the best game we’ve made yet, with a terrific team, and a place not only on a whole string of Game of the Year lists but a place in Develop’s Top 100 studios. And although awards season hasn’t arrived in earnest quite yet, Rapture has already picked up one from TIGA for Best Creative Gameplay and been named Stuff's "Indie Game of the Year". So it’s been a pretty good end to the year all round.
How does it feel having your music from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture come to vinyl at the end of this month?
I’ve never had any of my music on vinyl before and it’s so unbelievably exciting – I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished product. So many people have asked about the Rapture soundtrack coming to vinyl and it’s just brilliant to be able to tell them that it’s happening, and in time for Christmas too (hint).
Since releasing the game and the CD, how has the response been from the community? Any stories to tell?
The response has been absolutely overwhelming- I had simply no idea that so many people would get in touch with me; they’ve written such beautiful and lyrical emails about their responses to the music. This morning I woke up to a tweet that said “Rapture is easily one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in 15 years of soundtrack-hunting. Aesthetically perfect.” It doesn’t get much better than that.
How does having your music released on CD, vinyl and played on radio, impact the way games are seen to an unfamiliar audience?
Having Rapture played extensively on Classic FM and on Radio 3 has definitely widened the audience and I love that. The music has defied expectations of what a game soundtrack is and should be and that was a deliberate choice on my part. Music is for everyone and I hope that Rapture has proved that games are widening their audience too.
During the development of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, do you have a favourite moment to share?
I remember one magical day where James our FX Artist had put something new together and we were all gathered round his computer. It was a pivotal scene in the game, on Frank’s hill, and it was one of the first times that the work in progress music and Adam’s audio had been integrated into the game. We all watched and listened and we were just completely still. The emotional power and punch of the scene hit us each and every one of us in that room and I think that was the moment when we knew the game was going to be something incredibly special.
And finally… Any hints or hidden messages in the music that the audience might have missed?
Each of the 6 main characters in the game has their own song and the lyrics are the story of their lives and experiences. Lots of people have written to us asking whom you play as in the game. If you listen to the end credit music then you will understand who you are. I’ve been surprised that more people haven’t made the link!
The Soundtrack is available to buy now on Vinyl, CD and digital download.
There's been a whole load of change here since Rapture shipped, not least with Jess' announcement a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to write and let you all know what's going on. Firstly, a huge thanks to all of our fans and friends in the industry and the community who wrote mails, tweets, comments of support. This means the world to us as a studio, and to me and Jess personally, so it's hugely appreciated.
So we're actually in a pretty good place right now. A couple of years ago we shifted from making Pigs to making Rapture. To be exact, we handed Pigs over to Frictional on Friday 1st February 2013 and we started work on Rapture on Monday 4th February 2013. This is the first time since we started we haven't jumped immediately from one project to another - we've never had any time to reflect and figure out what we want next for three or four years, so this is something we're relishing. We're (however) already working on a project that we hope we can share with you in a couple of months time, and prototyping a few different ideas for the next game, including Total Dark, which we're delighted to have got prototyping funds for from Creative Europe. That's going to be a pretty serious departure from our normal games, so it's very exciting. No news about that right now apart from some very cool concept art that was drawn for us by the mighty Jake Gumbleton.
Secondly, we moved! We're in amazing new offices just around the corner from the old ones, where we got born as a studio. It's bigger, with lots of space to grow and do exciting stuff. We're still moving in and making it our own, but it's already a great place to work and we're dead happy here...
Thirdly, we got a new producer - meet Martin, who's taking on all things production. We're really pleased to have him join us (actually he's been with us since September, but this is the first opportunity to say a proper hello). I harassed him into writing a bio:
A passionate gamer and industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience, Martin eked out the beginnings of a games career in 1995, within the savage confines of the Mindscape QA department. Drowning under a sea of edutainment titles too numerous to mention, he eventually made good his escape and moved to London to work as a Game Designer for interactive TV channel Playjam. Leaving the world of single-button games behind in 2001, he took a Senior/Lead Design position at fledgling studio Wide Games in Brighton, and dove into the murky world of ‘traditional’ game development. In early 2004 Martin was part of a small group of former Wide Games staffers that founded Kuju’s Brighton studio, later rebranded as Zoë Mode, where he made the transition from Design to Production. He has spent the last 10 years honing his management and agile development skills working as Producer, Executive Producer and Game Director on a variety of titles and platforms. Visions of Reader Rabbit haunt him to this day.
So what's next?
Well, we've got plenty to be getting on with. We spent a few hours playing with our shiny new Vive kit which arrived the other day, which was amazingly fast to get up and running. Everyone keeps telling us our games would be perfect for VR, so we've started looking at that (waiting for an Occulus kit right now). We've been continuing to work on porting Dear Esther from Source to Unity, which is getting closer and we're hoping might be ready sometime in Spring next year - and of course that's exciting as it makes a console release a viable option (and yes, it makes looking into a VR version of Dear Esther also something we can investigate fully). And yeah, that's pretty exciting....
So it's all go. We're not very good at taking it easy. What I'm hoping is that I'm going to get the opportunity to spend some time playing over the next few weeks as well, as I've not really had time to play that much in the last year. If you're following us on Twitter, you'll see I've been diving through old Tomb Raider games, which is lots of fun, and I'll try and assemble some thoughts on those fairly soon. Then I've got to hit the list: Tomb Raider reboot, Life is Strange, TLOU PS4 version, Bloodborne, finish Shadow of Mordor, Knock Knock, Sunset, sink more time into Sunless Sea... oh lord that's a lot. And that's all got to be done before the next Far Cry lands, or I'm scuppered, especially given Just Cause 3 isn't far off and then it really is game over.
Oh, and we played Until Dawn. A lot. And really, really liked it. So I'll try and get it together to write about that as well.
Like I said, not very good at taking it easy. More soon
The Chinese Room are now taking a well earned break and will return on the 27th August. Any emails sent in via the contact form will be dealt with on our return.
Thanks for your patience
The Chinese Room Team