Scheduled release date:
August 11, 2015
Publisher:
SCE Santa Monica
Developer:
The Chinese Room
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Adventure
Release Date:
August 11, 2015


Interactive storytelling still has a long ways to go but with developers like The Chinese Room exploring new ways to deliver virtual narratives, we continue to make strides. The Dear Esther team has a new, highly atmospheric and unsurprisingly sentimental adventure called Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture . It’s coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 in August and really, this game plays out more like a humanity case study as opposed to a post-apocalyptic survival tale. All we know is that the world has suffered a catastrophic blow and we’re forced to wander through the aftermath, desperate to find reasons for the collapse. In the end, we’re searching for stories of people, which is poignant in and of itself.

This is a non-linear, open-world experience that still manages to put a premium on the story and characters. How do people respond in the face of impossible odds? And is there any hope in solving the mystery? If you’re the only one left, how can there be any hope at all? You must persevere; you must discover the fate of your fellow man by exploring the fragmented memories of those who have disappeared. By locating traces of those lost memories, you can piece together entire lives. The designers are implementing something they’re calling “environmental storytelling,” in that paying close attention to your surroundings is actually a crucial part of the plot. You don’t run through this beautiful world; you absorb it.

One feature that hasn’t been explained is the role of time. We’ve heard it does have an impact on the gameplay and there are mysterious beams of golden light, which somehow affect our progress. We know there isn’t a time limit – which is a good thing – but there do appear to be day/night cycles and of course, when dealing with the concepts of mortality, time is always a factor. Another major part of the experience will be the music. We’ve heard wonderfully orchestrated classical pieces in the promo videos thus far, and Creative Director Dan Pinchbeck says it’s “one of the best game soundtracks ever created.” We have no doubt about that and we certainly don’t underestimate the importance of a great score in a sentimentally-charged, atmospheric production.