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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.[3] 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.[4] It was published by Sony Computer Entertainment and released for the PlayStation 4. The game was released for Windows on 14 April 2016.[5]

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Everybody's gone to the rapture logo.png
Official game logo
Developer(s) The Chinese Room
SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher(s) PlayStation 4
Sony Computer Entertainment
Microsoft Windows
PlayStation Mobile
Director(s) Jessica Curry
Designer(s) Andrew Crawshaw
Writer(s) Dan Pinchbeck
Composer(s) Jessica Curry
Engine CryEngine
Platform(s) PlayStation 4,[1] Microsoft Windows
Release PlayStation 4
  • WW: 11 August 2015[2]
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: 14 April 2016
Genre(s) Adventure, art game
Mode(s) Single-player

Contents

GameplayEdit

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.

PlotEdit

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 haemorrhaging; 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 Spanish 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.

DevelopmentEdit

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.[4] 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.[6] 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.[7][8] A Windows version of the game was released on 14 April 2016.

The game's soundtrack composed by Jessica Curry was published by Sony Classical as a 28-track album in Britain.

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic (PS4) 78/100[9]
(PC) 76/100[10]

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture received positive reviews, receiving an aggregated score of 78/100 on Metacritic based on 81 reviews.[9]

GamesRadar called the game "brave, [...] challenging, and [...] essential",[11] while IGN talked about "a beautiful, heart-breaking journey into the end of the world".[12] Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was also featured on several "Best games of the year" lists, such as Kirk Hamilton's from Kotaku,[13] Alexa Ray Corriea's from GameSpot[14] or Kill Screen's "Best Videogames of 2015" list.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

AccoladesEdit

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2015 12th British Academy Games Awards Audio Achievement Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Won [18]
Music Jessica Curry Won [18]
Performer Merle Dandridge Won [18]
Artistic Achievement Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [18]
Best Game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [18]
British Game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [18]
Original Property Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [18]
Performer Oliver Dimsdale Nominated [18]
Game Innovation Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [18]
Story Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [18]
2015 TIGA Games Industry Awards 2015 Creative UK Gameplay Award Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Won [19]
Casual Game - Large Studio Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [19]
Diversity Award Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [19]
Original Game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [19]
TIGA Audio Design Award Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [19]
TIGA Visual Design Award Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [19]
2016 Game Audio Network Guild Awards 2016 Best Original Soundtrack Album Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Won [20]
Best Dialogue Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Won [20]
Best Original Song: Choral "The Light We Cast" by Jessica Curry Won [20]
Best Original Song: Pop "The Mourning Tree" by Jessica Curry Won [20]
Audio of the Year Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [20]
Music of the Year Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [20]
Sound Design of the Year Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [20]
Best Mix Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [20]
Best Interactive Score Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [20]
2016 British Writers' Guild Awards 2016 Best Writing in a Video Game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture by Dan Pinchbeck Won [21]
2016 Develop Awards 2016 Audio Accomplishment Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Won [22]
New Games IP – PC/console Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [22]
Visual Arts Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [22]
Use of Narrative Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [22]
Independent Studio The Chinese Room Nominated [22]
2016 Emotional Games Awards 2016 Best Emotional Artistic Game Achievement Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Won [23]
Best Emotional Music Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Won [23]
Best Emotional Game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Nominated [23]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Davis, Justin (20 August 2013). "Gamescom 2013: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Announced for PS4". IGN. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Pinchbeck, Dan (11 June 2015). "Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Comes to PS4 August 11th, 2015". Playstation. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture". thechineseroom.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffery (30 July 2012). "Dear Esther's spiritual successor Everybody's Gone to the Rapture detailed". Eurogamer. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Morrison, Angus (1 April 2016). "Everybody's Gone To The Rapture confirmed for PC". PC Gamer. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  6. ^ McMullan, Thomas (27 July 2014). "Where literature and gaming collide". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Grayson, Nathan (22 August 2013). "Dear Esther Dev’s Rapture No Longer Coming To PC". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Carmichael, Stephanie (3 July 2012). "Interview: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs". GameZone. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  10. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/everybodys-gone-to-the-rapture
  11. ^ Sakuroaka-Gilman, Matthew. "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture review". GamesRadar. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Sliva, Martin. "Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Review". IGN. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Hamilton, Kirk. "Kirk Hamilton's Top 10 Games Of 2015". Kotaku. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  14. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray. "Alexa Ray Corriea's Top 5 Games of 2015". Gamespot. 
  15. ^ "High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2015". Kill Screen. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  16. ^ Sterling, Jim (17 August 2015). Walking Simulators (The Jimquisition). YouTube. 
  17. ^ Croshaw, Ben "Yahtzee" (6 January 2016). "Top 5 Games of 2015". The Escapist. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Games in 2016". BAFTA. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f "2015 TIGA Winners". TIGA. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i "2016 G.A.N.G. Awards Winners". G.A.N.G. 
  21. ^ "Writers’ Guild Award winners 2016". 
  22. ^ a b c d e "2016 Develop Awards". Develop. 
  23. ^ a b c "Emotional Games Awards 2016". 

External linksEdit