Dear Esther developer The Chinese Room acquired by Sumo
The Chinese Room – the studio responsible for Dear Esther, Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs – has been acquired by the Sumo Group, the company has announced.
“I am really pleased that Dan has chosen to join Sumo Group,” said CEO of the Sumo Group, Carl Cavers. “We believe Dan’s renowned creative abilities will add real value to Sumo Group.”
If you’re wondering why Cavers is referring to The Chinese Room as ‘Dan’, it’s because that’s basically all it is at the moment: creative director Dan Pinchbeck. His co-founder Jessica Curry will now work as an independent composer, and the other members of staff were let go following the release of Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture last year.
“It’s really expensive running a studio,” Pinchbeck told Eurogamer at the time. “We were 11 or 12 people at that point. You’re chewing through £35,000-£40,000 a month, which is pretty hefty.”
That same article name-checked another couple of games that the studio was continuing to work on: Little Orpheus and 13th Interior. It’s not clear whether these will take priority under the new ownership, or whether The Chinese Room will be encouraged to pursue new projects.
Sumo Digital, for its part, has plenty of projects on the go including Team Sonic Racing, Dead Island 2 and Crackdown 3.
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“I’m thrilled to be joining Sumo Digital, a network of studios I’ve a huge amount of respect for,” said Pinchbeck. “Sumo will provide the support and experience I’m looking for to take The Chinese Room to the next level.”
The studio is working on new concepts, according to Pinchbeck, and is continuing to discuss current projects with partners. “The future for the studio is incredibly exciting and being part of the Sumo family is absolutely central to that,” he added.
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