Everybody's Gone To The Rapture Studio The Chinese Room Lays Off Staff And Is "Going Dark"

by Elise Favis on Sep 24, 2017 at 03:16 PM

The Chinese Room, a British studio best known for first-person adventure games like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and Dear Esther, announced today that it has laid off its staff and that it's "going dark" for the next few months.

Co-founder Dan Pinchbeck wrote an extensive blog post that announces the news, explaining that this temporary closure was "in the cards since earlier this year." Pinchbeck says that this decision has to do with financial pressures following a health scare, and a pause is needed to recharge. He writes, "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 Chinese Room had two games in the works, The 13th Interior and Little Orpheus, but Pinchbeck assures fans that those titles are still releasing as planned. He explains that he will still be interacting with the community through social media, but that the studio is no longer in "fully active development." Pinchbeck says the team put their all into wrapping up these upcoming titles, and the studio's employees were helped in their search to secure positions elsewhere.

Pinchbeck ends the post on a more optimistic note, saying, "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."

For more on The Chinese Room, read our review of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture by heading here.

[Source: The Chinese Room]

Our Take
I really enjoyed both Dear Esther and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, and I'm sad about this news. Layoffs are always unfortunate, but it sounds like the studio was careful to help its employees secure other positions. The future is very uncertain for The Chinese Room, particularly following these layoffs. We'll see in a few months time where the studio is at.