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The Chinese Room creative director and co-founder Dan Pinchbeck has left the studio

Pinchbeck is stepping down after 15 years to begin a new adventure.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 17, 2023

2 Min Read
A screenshot from Still Wakes the Deep showing a door illuminated by an ominous light

The Chinese Room co-founder and creative director, Dan Pinchbeck, is leaving the Dear Esther and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture developer after 15 years.

The news comes shortly after the UK studio pulled back the curtain on Still Wakes the Deep, a new horror title that was co-written by Pinchbeck.

Outlining his reasons for leaving, the long-serving boss explained he wants to "see what's out there in the world beyond the studio" after helping to grow the company from "two artists in a bedroom" to a "studio employing over a hundred developers."

"Like for so many other people, we lost friends and family during the pandemic and this has certainly played a part in my decision to see what’s out there in the world beyond the studio I’ve dedicated the last fifteen years to building. It’s been a time of taking stock and considering what ifs," wrote Pinchbeck on the studio blog.

"And so for me, all things have their season, and it’s time for something new. The Chinese Room isn’t two artists in a bedroom anymore, it’s a studio employing over a hundred developers working on multiple, great titles. It’s time to step back and focus on being an artist again–writing, travelling, making. It’s been a wonderful journey and now it’s the start of a new adventure.” 

Pinchbeck co-founded The Chinese Room with award-winning composer and Jessica Curry, who stepped away from the studio in 2015 to pursue new projects. In a lengthy open letter announcing her departure, the former co-head added that health issues, strained publisher relationships, and toxicity within the game industry also contributed to her decision.

The Chinese Room was acquired by Sumo Group for an undisclosed fee in 2018. In a blog post published today, the studio thanked both Curry and Pincbeck for their work and "outstanding legacy," but reassured fans that "operations are at full tilt."

"We’re crafting multiple titles, guided by their own project directors, all sharing the same vision - telling powerful, unexpected stories with utmost care and attention to detail," reads the blog. "There is a reason why we work at The Chinese Room–making thoughtful, rich video games with meaning is what motivates us, and that energy will be oozing through our future titles."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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