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E3 2014: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Posted on June 13, 2014 AT 04:30pm

Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer The Chinese Room
Platform PS4
Release Date TBA.2015
You can read the rest of our Opinionated Guide to E3 2014 or head to our E3 hub for even more coverage.

The Rundown

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is set in a quiet English town in the aftermath of the disappearance of every single man, woman, and child—except you. With an near-total lack of conventional mechanics and structure, the game centers around exploring the open-world environments and uncovering the stories of the people who used to live there, all in hopes of eventually unravelling the core mystery.

The Verdict

Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs showed that The Chinese Room could craft engaging stories and elegant prose, but I think Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture will be when the studio finally proves they can make a story feel interactive in a meaningful way. By making the environments as non-linear as the narrative, the pacing and order of events—and even whether certain beats are encountered at all—will be entirely up to the player. Think Gone Home, but with a substantially larger scope, a bigger cast of characters, and higher stakes.If all that sounds a little bit pretentious, well, it might well prove to be. But you can’t deny that Rapture is doing the sort of important experimental narrative and design work the industry needs more of.

And judging by the hands-off gameplay presentation I saw, they’re doing so with an impressive level of polish and beauty. Despite the modest size of the team, the production values of the demo I saw were close to triple-A quality, with gorgeous lighting, haunting music, and an attention to detail that puts most major studios to shame. Plenty of games at E3 got my blood pumping, but I think the quiet mystery of Rapture has lingered with me more than anything else.

Josh Harmon, Associate Editor
Josh Harmon picked up a controller when he was 3 years old—and he hasn't looked back since. This has made him particularly vulnerable to attacks from behind. He joined EGM as an intern following a brief-but-storied career on a number of small gaming blogs across the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @jorshy. Meet the rest of the crew.

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