Dear Esther looks to be one of the coolest indie experiences of 2012

In case you haven’t noticed, indie PC gaming is one of the most innovative and interesting gaming scenes out there. Even more so than that is the mod community, that often creates entirely new works from the same engines that are powering almost every major big budget release out there. You know – the ones that sell for six times the price of most indie games. These mods? Yeah, they’re usually free. Every once in a while a mod garners enough attention to warrant a proper release. Such is the case for the upcoming first person exploration game, Dear Esther.

Dear Esther originally started life in 2008 as a mod for Half-Life 2. The mod took on a life of its own on a multitude of message boards, with people discussing and dissecting its confusing and purposefully ambiguous story, everyone with their own interpretation of the events. When the team decided to give it upgraded visuals and tie-in some of the community insight, the developer-run Indie Fund noticed and has financially backed the remake for its commercial release.

As I mentioned before, Dear Esther is a first person exploration game. There are no bad guys to shoot, no puzzles to solve, and no race to be won. You simply wander around the beautifully detailed island picking up little pieces of story through conversation and objects found while roaming about. The story is randomized, tempting the player into multiple plays through the experience.

Dear Esther

Dear Esther

Dear Esther has already been nominated for a slew of awards at the 2012 Independent Games Festival. As its February 14th release date approaches, you should have plenty of reasons to keep this game near the top of your must buy list. For a paltry $9.99 on Steam, you’ll be able to get what is sure to be one of the most unique and intriguing gaming experiences this year.