Getting Some Play: The makers of “Dear Esther” take on the rapture

Dear Rapture

After the amazing Steam sales that started off the summer, I was lucky enough to clear out some time to play Dear Esther this weekend. It’s a decidedly unique experience, of course – an atmospheric first-person “story” with no violence or combat and an engaging, haunting narrative.

Developer thechineseroom is now hard at work on the title’s spiritual successor, this time exploring the idea of the rapture, called, aptly, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.


Like its predecessor, it’s being dubbed a “pure story game.” But unlike in Dear Esther, you’ll be able to do more than simply walk around. Rapture’s world is all about interactions, and the way these interactions can shape the environment and the story it tells.

“The concept of it is this almost ’60s-’70s Brit science fiction – this John Wyndham, John Christopher kind of thing – of how the end of the world would be responded to in a rural English location,’ explains creative director Dan Pinchbeck. ‘It’s kind of like that film that was made after the Second World War about what would have happened if the Nazis had invaded – and actually, the film was so controversial because not a lot would actually change for the vast majority of people, or they’d just accept it really, really easily.’

These ideas got Pinchbeck thinking about the apocalypse, and how ordinary people would respond to its coming. “So we had this idea of going, ‘Actually, if the world ended in a little village in Shropshire, it’d be inconvenient.'”

After the experience on Dear Esther’s island, I’m very much looking forward to the next story/exploration based piece from thechineseroom.


We’re in the downloadable dog days of summer now.  But don’t worry, that’s far from a bad thing. On Wednesday, August 8, Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade continues with Hybrid, a third person shooter with funky, futuristic tech. It’s developed by 5th Cell, the lovely folks who created Scribblenauts.

Also on the August 8, Hero Academy, the uber-addictive iOS tactical RPG, arrives on Steam. On August 14, the utterly delightful – and thematically deep – Papo and Yo is due out on PSN. On August 15, the gorgeous-looking Dust: An Elysian Tail arrives on XBLA.


By the middle of the month, AAA games will start trickling out. The party starts on August 14, with Darksiders II, the sequel to the best, most badass Zelda clone this side of Nintendo’s official series. Sleeping Dogs – a hard-boiled action title set in Hong Kong. On the same day, The Last Story arrives on Wii – it’s a hardcore RPG, and certainly one of the last “big” Wii games to hit the system. Finally, on August 19, the 3DS’ next big thing – New Super Mario Bros. 2, arrives, as does the super-sized 3DS XL.