The Chinese Room was founded by husband and wife duo, Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry. As writer and composer, Pinchbeck and Curry have led their studio to BAFTA wins for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and helped define a genre with Dear Esther, a title that started life as a Source Engine mod.
That latter title was in part a response to Pinchbeck’s frustration with games academia of the time, which he felt was too preoccupied with the theory of game design and not enough with the practical application of ideas. He’s kept a foot in the academic world thanks to his position as visiting lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, and ongoing discussions with PhD students.
And that’s where we kick off this week’s hour-long chat, with discussion of The Chinese Room’s ties to the world outside of the day-to-day running of a successful indie studio. Later in the episode we talk about the delivery of story through game play, the danger of deskilling over the course of a long project, and Pinchbeck’s frustration with the heavy focus on frame-rates and the technical minutiae of game creation.