Reaction: Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture Gamescom Announcement
Described by UK developers The Chinese Room as an open-world first-person adventure game, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture was the most intriguing game I saw at the Sony Gamescom press event. Further intrigue mounts when a look at The Chinese Room’s simple website reveals that after this announcement they have taken an immediate two week hiatus, as they put it “…up a mountain with no Internet or phone access…”, effectively doing a mic-drop. They kindly request to be left alone and that any attempt to contact them in any way will likely result in failure. Don’t even Tweet.
So what am I to think about this? We saw a vague announcement trailer that gives a few tantalizing clues about the game. Or are they misdirections? Is the trademark stamp after the word Rapture in the title a clue? Is the game actually about such a hot-button topic as the Biblical end of the world? Or is it a scientific advancement gone horribly wrong? And further, is there a difference?
Outside the mania that is every South Park narrative I cannot imagine any real value in investing one moment on creating a game where Jesus is chasing the player around in smite mode.
For anyone unfamiliar with the traditional belief among Christian religions, the Rapture is the sudden and much-anticipated ascension by them directly into Heaven and into the glorious presence of the trinity of God, Jesus and Holy Ghost. This ascension includes all those believers who have died before as well and whose bodies will be reconstituted for this purpose leaving many millions of graves open and empty. The recent comedy film This Is The End is also based on this Christian belief.
Would it be cool to explore this in a game? Well…yes and oh no. Perhaps if the game allowed the player to profess their own religious affiliation before play started then they could experience different branching gameplay. The interesting Catch-22 here would certainly be that any Christian who believes in the Rapture and proclaims it in the pre-game setup would then be denied being Raptured for the sin of pride. Full disclosure, I attended a Pentecostal church in Indiana for a few years as a teenager, just so you know.
Another clue to the nature of the game is the character played. According to Dan Pitchbeck and Jessica Curry, the co-directors of The Chinese Room, gamers play as a scientist trapped in the very moment of the apocalypse who is exploring this open world trying to find out what happened. Wait, sorry, “trapped in the moment of the apocalypse”? What does that even mean you beautiful obstreperous bastards!
So basically we are left with a game about the apocalypse which may have its genesis supernaturally, naturally or scientifically. Maybe.
Also the story is not linear.
Also there’s a big secret about how the game is played that effects the story and the environment but they aren’t sharing that information yet.
I will be keeping an eye on this game. The information about it, the clues, the way the reveal has carefully tapped into the Judeo-Christian psyche as a tease but not revealed enough to spark outrage is masterful marketing.
Now enjoy the announcement trailer without the terrible direction that made it hard to watch on the Gamescom stream: