Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a first-person adventure art video game developed by The Chinese Room and SCE Santa Monica Studio. It is a story-based game, taking place in a small English village whose inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared. It is considered a spiritual successor to Dear Esther, also from The Chinese Room. It was published by Sony Computer Entertainment and released for the PlayStation 4. The game was released for Windows on 14 April 2016.
|Everybody's Gone to the Rapture|
Official game logo
The Chinese Room|
SCE Santa Monica Studio
Sony Computer Entertainment
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows|
|Genre(s)||Adventure, art game|
In Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, the player explores a small English town whose inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared. The player can interact with floating lights throughout the world, most of which can reveal parts of the story. The player can also interact with man-made objects, such as doors, radios, phones, fences, and power switches.
The game is set in 1984, in a fictional deserted village named Yaughton in Shropshire, England. The player's only objective is to explore and try to discover how and why everyone has disappeared. Mysterious floating orbs of light swim around the air and lead the player to scenes made up of other human-shaped lights, which re-enact various previously occurring events throughout the game. Following the orbs' evidence from scene-to-scene across the valley, as well as finding telephones and radios that replay conversations, recordings, and broadcasts from throughout the story, eventually provide all of the puzzle pieces to the game's main event (the 'rapture'.)
There are five areas in the game, each of which revolve around a different character, with the main protagonists being Dr Katherine Collins (Kate) and her husband, Stephen Appleton – both scientists at the observatory. During their work, Kate and Stephen encounter a ‘strange pattern’ of lights in the night sky which they quickly come to believe is an unknown form of life. They observe the pattern ‘infecting’ and sometimes killing other lifeforms such as birds and cows, before spreading to humans. Kate concludes that the pattern is attempting to communicate with humans, ignorant to the harm that it is causing them. She locks herself in the observatory and spends the vast majority of the story attempting to communicate with it. During this time, Stephen becomes convinced that the pattern is a deadly threat capable of destroying the human race.
Most of the valley's inhabitants begin to succumb to symptoms of unexplained hemorrhaging; pressure in the brain that is normally consistent with a brain tumour, as the local doctor notes in a left-behind recording. Other people simply disappear, leaving behind nothing more than a room full of odd specks of light and the lingering scent of unidentifiable ash. Convinced that this is connected to the pattern and that it will spread beyond the village if not contained, Stephen urges the local government to quarantine the area, blocking the roads and cutting the telephone lines. The locals are told that it is due to an outbreak of 1918 Influenza, though many are extremely sceptical of this and become even more so when the corpses of their dead begin to disappear into thin air.
As the town's population rapidly dwindles, Stephen realizes that the quarantine has failed and that the 'pattern', or simply 'it' as it is often referred to, has learned to adapt. He believes that it has learned to travel not just through direct human contact, but through the telephone lines, radio waves, and television sets. In light of this, he then desperately insists to the local government that they must gas the entire valley.
In the second to last chapter of the game, the player is led to a bunker where Stephen Appleton waited out the nerve gas bombings with the intention of killing himself once he ensured that every other infected person in the valley was dead. When he is unable to reach anyone at all outside the valley via telephone, he realizes that he has failed and that the pattern has spread, presumably to the entire planet as a whole. The pattern comes for him and he confronts it. He tells it that he has decided to set fire to himself, having doused himself in gasoline, to prevent being taken by it. However, before he can do so he sees the image of Kate in the pattern of light and stands in awe, reaching out to her. The scene then fades out as Stephen's lighter slips out of his hand and hits the ground, igniting the gasoline.
In the final part of the game the player is transported to the inside of the observatory's locked entrance gate. The player makes their way up the hill to the top-most observatory and upon entering sees the human light shape of Kate inside in the darkness making the last of the recordings heard throughout the game. She states that she is the last one left, and it is revealed that she did indeed finally achieve communication with 'the pattern'. Kate explains that when she told the pattern that what it did to everyone in the valley - the people, the birds, the bugs, the cows - was wrong, it countered that it was not wrong, because now everyone that wanted to be together was together, and that everyone had found their counterpart and was no longer alone. Kate explains how she finally understands and says that she has accepted her fate, and that she and 'the pattern' will soon join the others. She states that humanity can finally 'slip away, unafraid.' Kate turns and appears to reach out to the pattern coming down from above as it reaches out to meet her, her last words being her belief that the Pattern was her own counterpart.
During the development of Dear Esther, the team wanted to introduce interactive elements. When this proved to be impractical, the concept of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was born. The developers were inspired by "the very British apocalyptic sci-fi of the 60s and 70", like John Christopher's The Death of Grass and Charles Eric Maine's The Tide Went Out. The team made the decision to partner with Sony as they felt they could not raise enough money for the project through crowdfunding sources or through sales of alpha versions. A Windows version of the game was released on 14 April 2016.
GamesRadar called the game "brave, [...] challenging, and [...] essential", while IGN talked about "a beautiful, heart-breaking journey into the end of the world". Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was also featured on several "Best games of the year" lists, such as Kirk Hamilton's from Kotaku, Alexa Ray Corriea's from GameSpot or Kill Screen's "Best Videogames of 2015" list.
Some reviewers criticized what was perceived as too little interactivity from the player. Jim Sterling, while analysing games often derided as "walking simulators", said that Rapture is a model of what not to do in this genre, such as by not shifting the tone of the game as it progresses, and by making the back-story more interesting than the game itself. He also unfavourably compared it to Gone Home and The Stanley Parable. Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of The Escapist called it the 4th blandest game of 2015, saying that it deserves the title of "walking simulator", and for how little it did to evolve the interactive story genre, comparing it unfavourably to The Stanley Parable as well.
|2015||12th British Academy Games Awards||Audio Achievement||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Won|||
|Artistic Achievement||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Best Game||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|British Game||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Original Property||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Game Innovation||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Story||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|2015||TIGA Games Industry Awards 2015||Creative UK Gameplay Award||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Won|||
|Casual Game - Large Studio||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Diversity Award||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Original Game||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|TIGA Audio Design Award||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|TIGA Visual Design Award||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|2016||Game Audio Network Guild Awards 2016||Best Original Soundtrack Album||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Won|||
|Best Dialogue||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Won|||
|Best Original Song: Choral||"The Light We Cast" by Jessica Curry||Won|||
|Best Original Song: Pop||"The Mourning Tree" by Jessica Curry||Won|||
|Audio of the Year||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Music of the Year||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Sound Design of the Year||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Best Mix||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Best Interactive Score||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|2016||British Writers' Guild Awards 2016||Best Writing in a Video Game||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture by Dan Pinchbeck||Won|||
|2016||Develop Awards 2016||Audio Accomplishment||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Won|||
|New Games IP – PC/console||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Visual Arts||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Use of Narrative||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
|Independent Studio||The Chinese Room||Nominated|||
|2016||Emotional Games Awards 2016||Best Emotional Artistic Game Achievement||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Won|||
|Best Emotional Music||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Won|||
|Best Emotional Game||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Nominated|||
- Davis, Justin (20 August 2013). "Gamescom 2013: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Announced for PS4". IGN. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Pinchbeck, Dan (11 June 2015). "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Comes to PS4 August 11th, 2015". Playstation. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture". thechineseroom.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Matulef, Jeffery (30 July 2012). "Dear Esther's spiritual successor Everybody's Gone to the Rapture detailed". Eurogamer. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- Morrison, Angus (1 April 2016). "Everybody's Gone To The Rapture confirmed for PC". PC Gamer. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- McMullan, Thomas (27 July 2014). "Where literature and gaming collide". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- Grayson, Nathan (22 August 2013). "Dear Esther Dev's Rapture No Longer Coming To PC". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- Carmichael, Stephanie (3 July 2012). "Interview: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs". GameZone. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Sakuroaka-Gilman, Matthew. "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture review". GamesRadar. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Sliva, Martin. "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Review". IGN. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Hamilton, Kirk. "Kirk Hamilton's Top 10 Games Of 2015". Kotaku. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Corriea, Alexa Ray. "Alexa Ray Corriea's Top 5 Games of 2015". Gamespot.
- "High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2015". Kill Screen. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- Sterling, Jim (17 August 2015). Walking Simulators (The Jimquisition). YouTube.
- Croshaw, Ben "Yahtzee" (6 January 2016). "Top 5 Games of 2015". The Escapist.
- "Games in 2016". BAFTA. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- "2015 TIGA Winners". TIGA. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- "2016 G.A.N.G. Awards Winners". G.A.N.G.
- "Writers' Guild Award winners 2016".
- "2016 Develop Awards". Develop.
- "Emotional Games Awards 2016".