The apocalypse can be quite a pressing event in video games, either pushing people to become something they never intended to be, or driving something out of them that they never really thought was possible. But with Everybody’s Gone To the Rapture, the developers at The Chinese Room have a rather different approach.
A spiritual successor to the 2012 PC release Dear Esther, the game follows in the footsteps of six unique characters as they explore a huge open-world environment, taking place in the village of Shropshire. The apocalypse has quite an effect on them, and players will explore with each of these people, watching as certain events affect them in emotional ways.
With the game, the focus isn’t so much on the destruction that’s surrounding these folks, but rather the folks themselves, as well as the story surrounding them. As time goes on, for instance, players are able to unlock clues that indicate just how this horrendous world came to be, as well as its inhabitants, whether they were peaceful and calm or problematic.
For the game, The Chinese Room opted to go for as realistic an approach as possible, with even the slightest conversations making a difference, whether it’s two townsfolk that break down just what happened with their families, or even smaller details, which could have quite an impact on the story. For instance, flicking on a radio (there are several scattered throughout the game world) could give you an idea of what’s happening, and maybe even trigger some form of older memory thought that could indicate how things came to be.
Image source: PlayStation Blog
Like Dear Esther, Everybody’s Gone doesn’t intend to hold back when it comes to gut-wrenching revelations – and that actually makes the game all the better for it, as players learn more about the harsh truth surrounding their world, without putting on a bold face as they would in any other action-oriented apocalyptic game. (Duke Nukem, it’s not.)
For the design of the game, the developers went for a realistic approach with Shropshire, focusing on smaller things like glowing memories in the environment, which fit right in with the daytime/nighttime dynamic and the somewhat innocent look of a neighborhood, with houses scattered throughout. It doesn’t look nearly as dismal as other games with “end of the world” themes, but that’s part of its emotional throw-off, especially as you dig deeper and find just how bad the situation can be. There’s also a musical score that drives the point home along with the acting, making the themes even heavier as you follow these six characters to wherever they head next.
Everybody’s Gone To the Rapture isn’t your typical game – and that’s exactly what The Chinese Room, working alongside Sony Santa Monica, is counting on. Players who experienced the greatness of Dear Esther will feel right at home here, while newcomers will want to dig in and see what the story has to offer, no matter how bad things may get.
The game will be available August 11th on PlayStation Network. The official trailer is below.
Feature Image source: PlayStation Blog