Indie developer Thechineseroom announced that its remake of Dear Esther, which began its life as a story-driven mod for Half Life 2, will see a standalone commercial release on Valve's PC downloadable game store Steam this summer.

Originally created by games/interactive media instructor Dan Pinchbeck and a team at University of Portsmouth, the original Dear Esther was released in 2007. The game went on to win several awards, and Valve even granted Pinchbeck a Source license for a full independent release two years ago after seeing the rebuilt mod.

Pinchbeck has since teamed up with Mirror's Edge 3D environment artist Robert Briscoe to re-develop the mod.

They've worked on the project for over a year now, and promise that the remake will offer "a totally new experience that will keep the soul of the original whilst pushing the game to a completely different level."

The original Dear Esther mod was "a ghost story told using first-person gaming technologies", focusing on the exploration of a mysterious, desolate island instead of on FPS action.

The remake adds a re-orchestrated soundtrack by original composer Jessica Curry, new areas, and an expanded story.

"The new version of Dear Esther will take the game to a completely new level and we're confident it will be one of the stand-out indie titles of 2011," says Pinchbeck. "Once again, this shows that games are probably the most exciting and innovative medium on the planet right now, and we're really happy to be right at the cutting edge of that."