, that's got game bloggers and critics in a froth since it finally "launched" on Steam
last night. The game was originally an experimental Half-Life 2 "mod". Now, after winning Independent Game Developer Awards, the first-person ghost story has returned with overhauled visuals as a standalone, £7 title. And it's wonderful - but it's also just the latest indie game that's more interesting than Gears Of War 3.
Of course, this is the week that Tim Schafer and Double Fine not only managed to get their old-school adventure game crowdfunded on Kickstarter
(it's up to $1.8 million already - Schafer only asked for $400,000) but also managed to persuade the creator of Minecraft to potentially pony up for a sequel
to the legendary Psychonauts game. Both moves cutting out publishing middle-men.
To top independent news off, you can now get reviews and coverage of specifically cheap games at Hookshot Inc
- a site dedicated to games costing less than $15, staffed by games media legends Keith "The Guardian" Stuart, Christian Donlan, Simon Parkin and Will Porter. Not only has the site reviewed
Dear Esther, it also, in an interview with Schafer
, reveals that it costs $40,000 to patch a mainstream title (presumably over Xbox Live or Sony's Entertainment Network). For that much, you can make some independent games!
With the cost of mainstream games spiralling to produce, the money men are ever more wary of risk, of innovation. Instead, it's down to cheaply-priced titles to come up with new ideas. Where's been your most innovative game in the last year? Bet it's not on a console...
Dear Esther went into profit after a mere six hours
, selling over 16,000 copies in its first day of release. It was funded, fittingly, by "Indie Fund", a fund set up specifically to finance independent games.