Everybody’s gone to the Rapture
Combining beautiful aesthetics with glorious orchestral music, Everybody’s gone to the Rapture (EGTTR) sets a brilliant example of storytelling in the gaming industry. If you find yourself fed up with games based on violence or repetitive storylines then The Chinese Room are fighting your corner.
Plot (An introduction)
EGTTR is based in the English county of Shropshire during the 1980s. A quaint, typically British village area, Shropshire is a brilliant setting for the peaceful jaunt that EGTTR is. However, something mysterious has occurred in Shropshire, every resident has disappeared and been replaced with a glowing entity that tells their side of the events that disrupted the area. Is it science, war, religion or something entirely new?
EGTTR is, more or less, an atmospheric audio tour or more officially a “first person adventure game”. This means there isn’t an objective in the typical sense, nor are there characters to chase or interact with. Instead you walk through the area, finding new glowing entities and classic Radios that offer more information in your search for the truth.
With standard controls and little interaction the gameplay of EGTTR has few flaws. A common complaint is the walking pace (even when holding R2 to sprint) is very slow; this can make wandering far and wide with no recent discoveries tiresome. It can also be frustrating when you come across a series of closed doors, trying each and every door until one finally opens.
The dialogue of the game can, at times, feel like an episode of the British soap The Archers as old country folk bicker amongst themselves. Although, one can’t complain of the accuracy this dialogue portrays for the county of Shropshire.
When writing about cinema I regularly mention a film’s success in sense of place, or the atmosphere achieved. EGTTR reaches the level of sense of place that cinema could never tread. The wonderful visuals and atmosphere created are so immersive your TV screen honestly feels like a window to another place; in this case, Shropshire.
As you progress through the game the lighting and time of day switches to the context you are witnessing. For example if you’re witnessing a discussion whilst two characters were out stargazing, the sun will drop and the stars bloom in the night sky. As the story progresses the visuals become hugely impactful and as the pacing of the game relies on the player, you’re welcome to stand and enjoy the view.
The soundtrack of EGTTR was composed by The Chinese Room co-founder and game composer, Jessica Curry. Jessica is an award winning composer for Chinese Room projects Dear Esther and Amnesia: A machine for Pigs.
The soundtrack is a beautiful orchestral collection that adds great suspense and emotion to the game. The music has been cleverly created around the narrative and progress of the story, fading in to give a real punch of emotion with excellent pacing.
Details on the upcoming vinyl of the soundtrack are available here, a beautiful clear vinyl in a delicately designed sleeve.
Without giving too much away, EGTTR is more of an experience than a traditional game. It could be argued where this form of gaming should be categorised to avoid disappointment. I believe EGTTR can best be described as a peaceful, relaxing escape from the often frustrations of modern gaming. An excellent chapter in the catalogue of The Chinese Room and digital art, Everybody’s gone to the rapture makes me proud to be a British digital artist.