FAQ/Walkthrough by SubSane

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 11/03/13 | Printable Version

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                                  DEAR ESTHER
                             FAQ/WALKTHROUGH, v1.0

                          For OSX, Windows, and Linux
                       Written and Maintained by SubSane
                            Last Updated 2013.11.03


Use Ctrl + F and the section numbers in the Table of Contents below to find
exactly what you need.


    1.01 Game Details
    1.02 Story
    1.03 System Requirements

    2.01 Game Start
    2.02 Saving/Loading
    2.03 Pause Menu
    2.04 On-Screen Display
    2.05 Controls

    3.01 The Lighthouse
    3.02 The Buoy
    3.03 The Caves
    3.04 The Beacon


    5.01 Version History
    5.02 Guide Credits
    5.03 Contact Information
    5.04 Legal Stuff


===== 1.0 GENERAL INFORMATION =================================================

                              1.01  Game Details

From the Steam description:

Two years in the making, the highly anticipated Indie remake of the cult mod
Dear Esther arrives on PC. Dear Esther immerses you in a stunningly realised
world, a remote and desolate island somewhere in the outer Hebrides. As you
step forwards, a voice begins to read fragments of a letter: "Dear Esther..." -
and so begins a journey through one of the most original first-person games of
recent years. Abandoning traditional gameplay for a pure story-driven
experience, Dear Esther fuses its beautiful environments with a breathtaking
soundtrack to tell a powerful story of love, loss, guilt and redemption.

Dear Esther is supported by Indie Fund, and developed by thechineseroom in
collaboration with Robert Briscoe. It was first released in February 2012.

                                  1.02  Story

From the Steam description:

"A deserted island... a lost man... memories of a fatal crash... a book written
by a dying explorer."

Forget the normal rules of play; if nothing seems real here, it's because it
may just be all a delusion. What is the significance of the aerial -- What
happened on the motorway -- is the island real or imagined -- who is Esther and
why has she chosen to summon you here? The answers are out there, on the lost
beach, the windswept cliffs and buried in the darkness of the tunnels beneath
the island... Or then again, they may just not be, after all...

                           1.03  System Requirements

OSX (similiar for Linux)

- OS: MAC OS X 10.6.7 or higher

- Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2GHz or better)

- Memory: 2GB

- Hard Disk Space: At least 2 GB of Space

- Video Card: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher / Intel HD
  Graphics 3000

Windows Minimum

- OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64

- Processor: Intel core 2 duo 2.4GHz or higher

- Memory: 1GB XP / 2GB Vista

- Graphics: DirectX 9 compliant video card with Shader model 3.0 support.
  NVidia 7600, ATI X1600 or better (Pre-Sandybridge Intel graphics chipsets not
  yet supported)

- DirectX¨: 9.0c

- Hard Drive: 2 GB HD space

- Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

Windows Recommended

- OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64

- Processor: Quad core 2.4GHz or higher

- Memory: 1GB XP / 2GB Vista

- Graphics: DirectX 9 compliant video card with Shader model 3.0 support.
  NVidia 8800, ATI Radeon 2900 pro or better (Pre-Sandybridge Intel graphic
  chipsets not supported)

- DirectX¨: 9.0c

- Hard Drive: 2 GB HD space

- Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card


===== 2.0 THE BASICS ==========================================================

                                2.01  Game Start

Select a Chapter in which to begin.

Adjust the game's Audio, Video, and control settings.

- Audio: Adjust volume, speaker config, sound quality, and subtitles.

- Video: Aspect ratio, resolution, window/full screen, power savings,
         detail foliage, draw distance and field of view, and advanced video

- Keyboard/Mouse: Key bindings, camera sensitivity, speed and acceleration,
                  developer console.

- Controller: Enable or disable, control sensitivity, look type, and

Close the application.

                              2.02  Saving/Loading

The game will automatically save unlocked Chapters as you progress. Settings
are also saved.

                                2.03  Pause Menu

Resume Game
Return to gameplay.

Access and adjust the same settings as those in the main menu.

Exit to Main Menu
Return to the main menu.

Close the application.

                            2.04  On-Screen Display

The zoom control allows you to zoom in and get a closer view of the

The flashlight flips on automatically in certain areas.

                                2.05  Controls

Default keyboard and mouse settings:

Command           |  Action
W                 |  Move forward
S                 |  Move back
A                 |  Strafe left
D                 |  Strafe right
Q                 |  Swim up
Left-click        |  Zoom camera
Mouse             |  Move camera
F6                |  Quick save
F7                |  Quick load
F5                |  Screenshot
ESC               |  Pause menu

Default controller settings:

Command           |  Action
Left stick        |  Move protagonist
Right stick       |  Move camera
Any button        |  Zoom
R3                |  Pause menu


===== 3.0 WALKTHROUGH =========================================================

                             3.01  The Lighthouse

Dear Esther.

I emerged from unconsciousness. The waves sulked alongside the shore. I dared
to return to the sea, afraid of what I would discover on this island. Darkness
engulfed me. A voice.

"Come back..."

Before me there was a lighthouse, into which I ventured to discover a state of
decay. Furniture lay strewn about as if hurled in a fit of some distant
madness. On the right, the remains of an office, and beyond that the remains
of the base of the lighthouse. A can of phosphorescent paint in the corner.
Someone, whose identity is beyond my faith in memory, used the paint to cover
the wall in a strange... formula. Scientific notation? I gazed at the
connections of elements as if time itself would whisper the answer to me.

I looked into the bathroom across from the entrance before I returned to the
air outside. Music notes, beneath old green folders. The storage shack next to
the lighthouse contained no answers either. More paint cans and silence.

What was my purpose, Esther? I looked into the distance along the shoreline.
There, on a seaside peak, emerged a red light. It glowed, vanished, and then
glowed again--consistently, repeatedly. A beacon. Laughter in the distance.
I turned toward it and took but a few steps before discovering two paths. I
chose that which led me to the shore. The eternal embrace of the ocean.

The sands were as barren as the rock cliffs beside them. A few crab traps lay
long abandoned. A black rock threatened to stop my progress, but the rift to
the right allowed me to continue to the other side. The remaining beach would
not take me far. Islands along the horizon barely shown through the mist, but
my path led me to the crag in the cliffs to the right. Before I could walk
further, a design in the sand emerged. A strange arrow... a map? I could no
make no sense of it. Then the realization that someone else had been here, but
far more recently than I had imagined.

I continued into the crag. There, on the polished granite surface, I found a
marking. Another arrow pointing past the top of the surrounding cliffs. Someone
else realized that this place would lead nowhere.

Back to the path that led inland. I followed steps carved into the side of the
cliff until it turned at a switchback, toward the beacon. It felt almost too
easy, didn't it? There it is; go forth. The path, however, was not so simple.
It turned right again into a field of obelisks. Stone spirits scattered among
the island's sparse and withered vegetation. I followed the path nonetheless.

What was that? A cave? Shelter from the storms. A wrecked boat lent little
hope to the cause. I waded across the water, noting the lighthouse again. It
felt like I'd traveled nowhere, slowly.

I discovered bizarre paintings on the walls of the sea cave. More of the
strange, cellular designs. Some semblance of coherence, but it disturbed me.
To whom did these designs make sense? As I walked out to follow a slow stream,
I thought it was a riddle. Pieces of a grand design beyond my field of view.

The new path led up again, to a cluster of obelisks and tombstones. I did not
feel well, surrounded as I was by their gazing faces. There was a book on
chemistry among them. Next to it, another carving of white chalk. A purposeful
pairing. Strange that the book's bindings showed none of the weathering of
its surroundings.

I continued up toward the high ground. Perhaps there I would glean some new
insight, or at least find the red beacon once again. My heart fell as the
ground descended. I conceded to the darkness.

                                3.02  The Buoy

Dear Esther.

The dead on this island remain here, locked away in its coves and caverns. The
sight at the end of trail confirmed as much. A fork awaited me, and I followed
the path on the left, above the wrecks, as if lured by the scent of memory.
A yellow light awaited me in the ocean. A false beacon, nothing more. I then
descended upon the beach. The rust and rot roiled through my sight, and though
curiosity bade me to proceed into the wreckage, it frightened me. Would I end
up another pile of bones among the rocks?

The path around the cove led nowhere. My only option was to proceed inland
again, and hope for a sign of purpose. As I headed into the hills I came
across a large sinkhole, black and bottomless. It seemed apt, to encounter
a path deeper into the island, but this would only end my search. Instead, I
turned west again toward a slope where I discovered the ruined foundations of
what must have once been a shepherd's village.

I explored the ruins aimlessly. The stable, now near fallen to pieces, was
so rotten it was black. Old surgical tools and dark blood stains lay in a
corner. I imagined the braying sheep and shepherd's steady hands. Strange to
think that anything could give birth on the windy hills of this foreboding
place. The bothy at the peak of the slope contained a sleeping bag and camping
equipment. Could this have been my site? I exited the structure through the
back and was reminded, again, that the red beacon in the distance was my only
recourse. The path led down again, toward the shore. On the right I found
another goat stable. More phosphorescent nonsense.

The path led to the shore, which led to a rocky cove and the entrance to the
caves on the right. This would be my entry to the island's interior, where I
have suspected it all to lead. Although the shore was once again safer than the
alternative, it ended suddenly in the water. I waded back to the right, toward
the mast in the sand. Ship's ribs nestled me until I passed and ventured into
the entrance. A single candle goaded me forward, to a gaping maw lit by a
phosphorescent aura.

My soul grows weary, Esther. This place shall end me, but not before I tear
its secrets from its grasp. I leapt into the hole. Dreamt of childhood,
the sun.

                                3.03  The Caves

Dear Esther.

It is not surprising that it is in the depth of these caves that I found the
brightest light. The glow surrounded me, reflecting off the surface of the
water, the walls. There was a void in the distance--a tunnel. I proceeded into
the depths of the island.

The phosphorescence of the lichen reflected the chemistry notations from
elsewhere on the island. Which came first, I wondered. Further on I encountered
a fork in the path. Ascendance to the left, and an eerie orange light to the
right. Though I suspected the light to be merely an illusion, I followed,
like a sailor to the siren. The chamber was a round path, and in the center
a single orange light. There were more strange designs on the walls and
ceilings. Biology, chemistry, electrical engineering... what man painted these?
What men?

My mind spun. I retreated to the ascending path. Stalactites slowed my
progress as the cave swallowed me further into its depths. A serene convergence
of water met me at the end, but its burbling did little to assuage my despair.
I had nowhere left to go but down. Into a pool I went, and remained, thinking
on my history. Here I was.

I was strangely untroubled by the many minutes I spent underwater. Air meant
nothing to my lungs, my blood. I floated up and saw water scurrying down the
protrusions all around me. A single tunnel waited at the other end of the
pool. I plodded upward, away from the pool. One stream led to another stream
until at last I emerged in the central water chamber once again. The path
circled around to another glowing candle. It flickered defiantly in the face
of overwhelming moisture.

What is sanity, if not a caged mind? The tunnel led up to an underground
river flowing along as it had for millennia. The path seemed clear, but the
banks on either side could not be ignored. I explored them, like a child at
the river during the thaw. The first signs of life, but whose life? I found
more of the same paintings. Electrical schematics. Signs pointing to nowhere.
Blue crystals dotted the walls in the distance. A single bird's nest lay on
accumulations of sand, near... footprints? Misdirection.

I decided to move on. I looked down on the river as it moved out of sight along
the rock bridge. I was to the river as a microbe is to a mountain.

The next pool, with its ceiling far above and out of sight, exuded the weight
of finality. I jumped into its calm water and felt not rejuvenated, but renewed
for another trek across a desert. An empty land lay ahead. I emerged and
followed the candle into the mouth of madness.

It was dizzying. Amplified insanity. The scrawls were all familiar and yet so
tightly bound as to give them an even more alien feel. Bundled nerves in the
brain of the island. 

"Away from being a city."

"And I shall be a ruinous heap."

I followed the words up and out to the deep pool. With no path left to me, I
jumped in, and followed the lagoon under the rock wall. I flung myself into the
next pit, too tired to care where it led.

The water took me to a special place. I swam toward the light and waited.

The path that remained led up through a sea of skulls. The men who came before
and those who would follow. I ascended to the light at the end of the tunnel.

                                3.04  The Beacon

Dear Esther.

A full moon has long served as a marker in the sky. "Come here," sometimes, or
"Go there." A guiding light. But for me it was simply another arrow. Another
phosphorescent blot of paint, leading me astray. The only beacon I wanted
was the great red eye in the distance. It would tell me what to do. It would

Into the full moon's light.

The cove led me toward more candles along its muddy shore, but lines on a
cliff to the left drew me in. More electrical schematics, but larger, visible
to all who would visit. The painter's final, desperate communiques? I followed
the shore but could not see the beacon. Candles appeared to lead the way in
place of the great light. They led along from one to the next, from shore to
cliff, each seeming to hold some holy place on the ground as stars do in the
sky. The further they led, the more lost I became. Finally, in a moment of
doubt, when I was far along the mud and rotted timbers, I turned back. The
beacon had been here all along, watching. Testing me. It looked on as I
continued along the path before me.

There was a cave carved into the side of cliff by ancient waters. A shrine
inside. Radio, surgical tools. More photographs. The picture was there, but
I could not see it. I had yet to gain perspective. The end was near. What does
it mean, Esther, to reach the end?

It was inevitable that you would find me. The candles ended at the shore. Your
paper boats floated in place, held there like a photograph. I swam among them
but was stopped from venturing further than a few feet out. Some invisible
barrier. When I turned to shore I found a boat shack and ominous glow. Gull
eggs in a nest and more ravings. I tired of the secret message. The world
lacked clarity.

Frustrated, alone. I turned to the cliffside path toward the aerial and its
single point in the sky. A narrow mine cart track led me to the left where
a strange sign appeared below a candle. Signs from another time. The path to
the aerial called to me and I turned back. A figure in the distance waited
by a candle, but when I arrived I remained alone. Behind me, across the side of
the cliff, a message:

"And he was proceeding on his journey."

My passage to the aerial narrated on every rock.

"And was come near to Damascus."

"And he was three days without sight."

"And neither did he eat nor drink."

A machine gun nest was no surprise in the midst of this island's many
mysteries. I entered. A single candle and more scrawls. When I cocked my head
it became a laughing clown, and I, too, laughed. I glanced at the aerial, now
larger and more ominous. I was near enough that I could make out individual
cross bars. Insight from the future.

The climb ahead promised familiarity.

"And it came to pass that as I made my journey and was come high unto

A solitary walk.


To the only star in sight.

"Suddenly thee shone from heaven a great light round about me..."

"And could not see for the glory..."

"That light..."

"Being led by the hand of them..."

Here another switchback, higher still, farther than the distance of all
experience in life. I heard yelling though I did not recognize it as my own.
A howling despair on the wind. Concrete and a chain link fence.

"That were with me..."

"I came into..."


What they don't tell you about journeys, Esther, is they lead you back to
where you started. As I climbed the final steps toward the beacon I saw my
every experience laid bare, and I knew that I would be here again.


===== 4.0 GHOSTS ==============================================================

Dear Esther.

The ghosts are faint mirages on the periphery of my mind. I can see them from
a distance, but only then. The locations of these apparitions require a keen
eye and patience.

The Lighthouse

  #1 - In the window next to the doorway. It is fast and easy to miss.
  #2 - At the top of the spiral staircase in the lighthouse.
  #3 - A flickering light in the mouth of a cave.

The Buoy

  #1 - Walking along the cliff path to the left of the wrecked boat.
  #2 - Walking toward the bothy (shepherd's house) at the top of the hill.
  #3 - Inside the cave behind the bothy.

The Caves

  #1 - Walking behind a waterfall just before jumping into the pool that
  leads to the vision on the highway.

The Beacon

  #1 - Visible as a reflection underneath a candle sitting in a pool of water.
  Near a cave shrine.
  #2 - Standing next to a candle on a cliff above the beach. Easiest to see
  when following the path toward the candle.
  #3 - In a corner of the fence around the aerial at the top of the mountain.


===== 5.0 LEGAL / MISC. =======================================================

                             5.01  Version History

2013.11.03 - Version 1.0: The guide is complete.

                              5.02  Guide Credits

Thanks to...

1. thechineseroom and Robert Briscoe for making the game.

2. Wilson Lau for his excellent guide for 'Bart vs. the Space Mutants'. It
   inspired the over 70 guides I've written to date.

3. You for reading.

                           5.03  Contact Information

subsane at gmail dot com

                              5.04  Legal Stuff

1. "Dear Esther" Copyright (C) 2013 thechineseroom - All Rights Reserved.
    Made in collaboration with Robert.Briscoe (C) littlelostpoly.co.uk.
    Supported by Indie Fund.

2. This guide copyright (C) 2013 SubSane. This guide may be distributed freely
   as long as it remains in its ORIGINAL and UNALTERED form. It is only for
   private use and may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

   If I discover that this guide has been altered in any way and is being
   displayed publicly, I reserve the right to have the guide removed from that