The Chinese Room’s Next Title Revealed as Total Dark; “An Isometric Adventure” with RPG Roots
Coming from their most recent venture with last year’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture on PS4 (and which has been confirmed for an impending release on PC), developer The Chinese Room has given a small taste of what’s to come from their upcoming new project that will blend the studio’s immersive, narrative experiences with a more traditional gaming experience, called Total Dark.
Speaking in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, The Chinese Room studio director Dan Pinchbeck shared details on the studio’s next project, which was previously teased by the studio with an impending announcement, which is officially called Total Dark, which was described as “a systems-driven isometric adventure,” with the title taking inspiration from tabletop and strategy titles.
Pinchbeck described Total Dark as being “a much more traditional game,” with the game to feature an isometric perspective “with a free-floating camera and lots of mechanics,” adding that the new title “will make some people happy while other people are going to wonder if we have the right experience to make that sort of game,” given the studio’s previous experience in making games that were driven more heavily by narrative and story, such as Dear Esther and last year’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
Despite some of that doubt, Pinchbeck added that “we absolutely do,” stating that even though “it’s easy to assume that’s the kind of game we will always make and have always made,” he added that the studios previous experience in mods and more experimental work (such as the “Antlion Soccer” mod from Half-Life 2) led to the creation of many of their own titles, such as Dear Esther.’
Specifically on Total Dark however, Pinchbeck stated that the game “started off as an RPG boardgame,” with the game taking inspiration from more traditional pen-and-paper role-playing experiences like Traveller, Paranoia, and Twilight 2000. Since then, the title has been fleshed out to a working game, with the title (so far) confirmed for PC and that the title will be self-published by the studio, with Pinchbeck adding “we’re aiming to have a playable prototype by the end of April.”
As a final note, Pinchbeck detailed that the game “has a lighter tone,” coming from the studio’s three previous games being of a heavier, darker nature, while adding “it’s no less weird but it’s not quite as bleak.”
Total Dark is currently in development for PC.