First things first with this, thechineseroom’s follow-up to Dear Esther – there’s that oddly ambiguous title. If it has more than a touch of Enid Blyton about it (“May we go to the Rapture too, Mummy? Yes, let’s!”) that’s probably by design – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a game which relocates the end of the world from its usual haunt in the New York skyline to a tiny Shropshire village.
The set-up sees the player plonked amongst the wheat fields of the West Midlands during Earth’s final hour – played out in real time – and left to watch what promises to be a most esoteric response to the end-times. As creative director Dan Pinchbeck notes: “If the world ended in a little village in Shropshire, it’d be inconvenient.”
We’ll be able to do more than watch, however. While Dear Esther stripped back the FPS to a mechanic-less husk, Rapture will allow the player enough agency to interact with and influence the stories of six characters.
“I want to be able to allow the player to manipulate the world,” Pinckbeck told BeefJack. “I want the player to feel like, actually, this is a space that’s evolving and changing.
“I think with Esther you generated most of that sense of foreboding pretty much by yourself, and I really wanted a world where you actively feel like something is going on, because it actively is going on.”