The Island (or the Hebridean Island) is the geological location where Dear Esther is taking place. It is located in Scotland and is inspired by real Hebridean Islands. Whether players are truly on an island or just in a fantasy of The Narrator is unclear, although it is suggested that half of the island (Chapters one and two) could be taking place on a real location, and the other half are just delusions.
More than often the narrator comments on landmarks and relate them to history and the car crash that possibly caused the death of Esther and Paul (or the Narrator, or even possibly Donnelly or Jakobson). The environments contain at least half of context-related sources and objects, making it one of the most valuable assets to make up your own theory of the story. The entire island can be considered as a representative of the narrators (or Esthers) body, especially chapters three and four.
It is generally assumed that the island, just like the script, intentionally confuses players by varying items on each new playthrough. It purposely doesn't build up to a specific canon story ending so that players are forced to make up their own and have a unique experience on each new visit. Should players attempt to suicide, drown to sea or otherwise kill themselves, they will be returned to the nearest spot they last went off-course.
The level design was conducted and developed by Robert Briscoe.
Inspired by real Hebridean islands, it features lots of dry grass foliage, flowers, vines, rocks with the occasional landslides, rivers, deeply curved cliffs, shafts, fossiles, caves and much more. It notably lacks any kind of trees or urban presence. At most there's the bothy with the stall, the Lighthouse and some shipwrecks.
- The Lighthouse
- Start of the island. Players always start a new journey here (unless the player forcibly takes a different level).
- The Buoy
- The buoy who mainly features beaches, shipwrecks and the bothy.
- The Caves
- Takes place entirely under the island. Believed to be the stomach or body representatitve of the Narrator or Esther.
- The Beacon
- Final level taking place at night with a full moon and the Radio Mast. Features candles, exotic colours and the ending of the island.