Hi there, we’re Dan and Jessica, Co-Directors of The Chinese Room. We’re based in Brighton, on the south coast of the UK. We made a game called Dear Esther for PC last year that was a first-person story-driven exploration and mystery title. It was all about immersion and emotion, rather than having lots of complex gameplay, and was slow and poetic, with a really strong emphasis on the quality of the production – music, art, writing, voice-over.
It was one of the breakout indie hits of 2012, gathering up a whole bag of international awards and shifting over three quarters of a million copies. We were left thinking “how do you follow that?”
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, our new game, is our attempt to answer that question, and I want to tell you a little about it.
Like Dear Esther, the new game is all about the story. It uses simple gameplay – basic exploration of a first-person world – so it’s very friendly to people without a lot of game experience. But it’s not casual in the classic sense – this is a deep and immersive game.
It’s all about the end of the world. You play the role of a scientist, trapped in the very second of the apocalypse, and the game is about discovering what has happened. You do this by exploring a large open-world environment, and interacting with the objects, places and people you find to gradually unlock and put together the story.
There’s also a really cool thing you can do which makes the game really different and makes this process of exploring the story something you could only do in a game, but we’re keeping that secret for now. Expect a reveal about that in due course, but we’re very excited about it and can’t wait to show it off.
When we started making Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, we knew we wanted to make a console title. We also knew that Sony were committed to pushing really interesting indie and experimental work, and figured they’d be into the ideas we were putting together. In a completely idealistic and high risk move, we forgot about the idea of a Plan B, put together a prototype and approached Sony Santa Monica. They were just shipping Journey and Unfinished Swan and we thought we’d have a lot in common in terms of ideas about story, gameplay, player experience.
So what can you expect? Well, we can promise you that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture will be powerful and deep, highly immersive and with an absolute focus on your emotional journey through the world. It’s non-linear, with a dynamic and adaptive environment, so this is about your story, a really individual experience that breaks away from the on-rails nature of lots of story-driven games into something that you have a visible impact on.
We’ve got a brilliant team of developers here, most of whom have come straight from AAA production and have worked on some of the best games to come out of the UK in recent years. As studio heads, it’s inspiring to look at the talent and experience on the team and more than anything, it makes us confident we’re making a really great game for you.
We’ll be introducing them over on the studio blog at www.thechineseroom.co.uk/blog over the next few weeks as we really kick into full production, and sharing more information about the game with you here as things develop. For now, we just want to say “hello” and let you know how unbelievably excited we are to be here, making this thing for you. It’s going to be a lot of fun.