After ten years and four full games, The Chinese Room is closing its doors, at least temporarily.
In a candid blog post, studio co-founder Dan Pinchbeck explained that the decision stems from a number of factors that made the continued operation unsustainable. Following a “health scare” in June as development was wrapping up on the team’s Google Daydream project So Let Us Melt, Pinchbeck made the decision to lay off the staff members and close the studio.
Despite the announcement, Pinchbeck, alongside fellow co-founder Jessica Curry and Lead Designer Andrew Crawshaw, continues to work on the RPG project The 13th Interior (formerly known as Total Dark) and is currently planning a prototyping period for Little Orpheus, which received funding from Creative Europe earlier this year. Furthermore, the post assures fans that The Chinese Room will return as a full-fledged studio at some point, but only once the founders feel comfortable in a situation whereby they do not need to act as studio managers and directors.
The time away is intended to give Pinchbeck and Curry a chance “to take a break, recharge, recover and have a good think about the future.”
Although the studio cut its teeth on Half-Life 2 mods, its first major success was 2012’s critically-acclaimed Dear Esther, which was followed by Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs and Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. The team’s most recent release, So Let Us Melt, is a sci-fi narrative game that launched last Thursday exclusively for Daydream VR.