'Everybody's Gone to the Rapture' studio goes dark, staff already laid off

The Chinese Room, the developer behind BAFTA award-winning 'Everybody's Gone to the Rapture' and other well-known games such as 'Dear Esther' and 'Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs', has announced that it is "going dark as a studio."

The announcement came through a blog post by the studio founder, Dan Pinchbeck, who said a health scare earlier in June made him "have a serious think about things."

"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," said Pinchbeck. "It was time to take a break, recharge, recover and have a good think about the future."

According to a lengthy interview conducted by Eurogamer that goes into detail regarding the situation, except for Pinchbeck and his wife Jessica Curry, The Chinese Room's entire staff had been laid off back in July. The layoffs had occurred right when the studio's new VR title, So Let Us Melt, was finishing up its development, and the studio had tried its best to secure its employees' new positions:

Lay-offs are never pleasant, particularly when you’re all trying to wrap a game. We did our best to try and help the team secure new positions, and then we all – the whole team – threw everything we had at wrapping the game. It didn’t feel fair to anyone, least of all people who had spent a year working on a project, to have its completion and release overshadowed by news about the studio closing, so we’ve held off on the announcement until we felt we were clear of all of that.

Even with the loss of the studio's almost entire workforce, Pinchbeck went on to say that this is not the end of The Chinese Room, and that it is "just a pause". The remaining personnel, Pinchbeck and Curry, will continue working on the studio's upcoming title 'The 13th Interior', with a prototype period for its other game 'Little Orpheus' planned to commence before the end of the year.

"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", Pinchbeck said wrapping up.

Source: The Chinese Room

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