The Chinese Room has not officially closed, but it no longer has any staff aside from husband and wife directors Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry. The studio – perhaps best known for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture – has decided to “go dark” for the immediate future, as it figures out what it’s going to do next. All of its staff – a team of eight people – were laid off all the way back in June, and have now found work elsewhere.
A long and fascinating interview with Eurogamer.net reveals the motive behind the hibernation, but it essentially amounts to financial pressures and serious burn-out. Rapture doesn’t sound like it was the easiest project in the world to complete – a combination of business challenges and development headaches – and Pinchbeck reckons that it’s time to “take a break, recharge, recover, and have a good think about the future”.
So is it the end of the road for The Chinese Room? Not quite, as all of its titles will remain on sale, and it’s continuing to beaver away on other projects at its own pace. But maybe don’t expect “the next big thing” from the studio anytime soon – it doesn’t really have any staff, after all. In the meantime, you should definitely read this Eurogamer.net interview for some fascinating insights – some of the bits about Rapture are insane.