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Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Dev Discusses Mysterious Ending, Increasing Run Speed, and More

Running may be on the way.

Dan Pinchbeck, creative director and co-studio head at The Chinese Room, held a reddit AMA today to discuss the studio’s new game, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. With the game’s launch came quite a few questions, ranging from sound design to the game’s slow walking speed.

Mysterious Ending

Of course, the game’s ending was discussed (minor spoilers), and Pinchbeck says there’s much more explanation to be found if you’ve ended the game feeling empty.


crippled_squid: This is a narrative game but it seems like the story never develops and nothing is really answered by the end… was that a conscious decision or what? It felt like a lot of depth was missing from the story and that there was no satisfying development of it.

thechineseroom: Really? That depends I think on how much you explored and found. There’s a little scope for your own interpretation of what happens right at the end but the rest of it is all there if you go looking for it

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Indie gaming

Pinchbeck also spoke about the state of the indie market and the role of games that aim outside of the box in terms of their design and gameplay.

SuperMrMonocle: With the level of experimentation and coverage in indie studios/games found in today’s gaming industry, where do you see the future of the indie market? Do you see the things that studios like you guys are doing affect the AAA market in the near future?

thechineseroom: Wow, that’s a good one. I don’t know. It’s getting harder to get seen on Steam, the competition is much more intense. If the sums add up, I can see more indies hitting consoles to try and get visibility.

In terms of AAA games, I think the changes there are more about retail models and risk aversion, rather than what indies are doing. But there’s a lot of very very talented people leaving AAA development for smaller studios – that’s exciting

TheGroomOfTheStool: I literally just finished the game and really enjoyed it, loved the setting and atmosphere, I also liked Dear Esther a lot so I suppose I’m sucker for these kinds of games which some people say can barely be called video games what would you say to those people?

thechineseroom: What’s cool about games is how diverse they are. There’s something for everyone. That’s something to be celebrated. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like every type of game getting made, what matters is it’s a really amazing scene with loads of different stuff being made.

Frogloggers: How would you sell this game to someone who usually doesn’t/wouldn’t take an interest in something perceived as a “walking simulator”?

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Development

Dan answered a ton of development-focused questions, giving us insight into the creation of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’s sound design, world layout, and promotional trailers.

paulg2000: Having played (and loved) Dear Esther, does it ever crush you to think some players will never experience certain story/conversation elements in their first playthrough, may assume it’s the same every time, and not replay it – missing it forever? More broadly, do you find yourselves torn between implementing more authored elements instead of procedural to avoid these scenarios?

thechineseroom: Yeah, but I think that also part of the fun of it. If you write for games, you give up control, you are collaborating with the player in making a story. I love that, it makes it really interesting for me. And that means yeah, sometimes not everyone can get everything, but that’s way better than ramming everything down people’s throats because you are overly precious about YOUR story

obi5683: Thought of a question: Was surround sound a big part of the audio design?

LifelessAnimator: Were you worried what effect it would have when you found out the release date for your game would be so close to the date for Ethan Carter? From the outside they do look incredibly similar.

How did you guys go about making your trailers. After I pre-ordered the game I tried to show the game to my wife via trailers on youtube and after each one all I could say was “Well… that didnt really explain anything, but I hear its gonna be good!”

thechineseroom: two good question – 1) nope. EC is a great game, and I hope Rapture is a great game. Great games don’t need to compete with each other, so it’s no problem for us. 2) How do you sell a game that’s all about the mystery and has thin gameplay without wrecking the mystery. It’s a complete nightmare

MrTravesty: How was your experience developing for the PS4 and partnering with Sony? Do you see yourselves doing it again? Also, have you ever thought of porting your other games to PS4?

thechineseroom: loved working on the PS4, lovely bit of hardware that. yep, all good, yep, would do it again, but also keen to not leave PC – we’d definitely like to be working on both console and PC in the future

texasman208: Oh hi there guys, bought the game and I’m enjoying the first bit I’ve played. What was the hardest/trickiest part of developing this game?

thechineseroom: All of it. Never try and make an open world game with 15 people. It’s madness and it will kill you. Trying to keep track of the possible variations is like trying to wrestle a swimming pool full of greased squid

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Possible Ports

And of course, we can’t help but wonder whether we’ll be seeing ports of Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture, Dear Esther, and even Amnesia.

Yosonimbored: Could we possibly see Dear Esther on ps4 one day?

thechineseroom: Would love to. We’re still working on the port over from Source to Unity. Once that’s done, ports to PS4 and potentially other places becomes a real possibility

Yosonimbored: I and the Ps4/Xbox one community would love a port of Dear Esther

thechineseroom: Thank you – it’s something we’re going to try our hardest to make happen

HawtSkhot: Any chance the Amnesia games may be ported to PS4? Now seems like the perfect time to make a whole new audience crap themselves.

thechineseroom: That’d be Frictional’s call – they’ve been pretty busy with SOMA – I don’t know what their plans are. It would be awesome though

FuzzyPuffin: 1. I was a bit bummed to learn that this is a PS4 exclusive. (I plan on commandeering a friend’s PS4 to play it.) Do you plan on returning to the PC in the future, or are you comfortable with your current arrangements with Sony?2. From what I’ve read, the motion controls seem a bit superfluous to me. What was the thought process in including them?

thechineseroom: I don’t think they are superfluous – and there’s a reason they are there and why they are the way they are, but it’s tied into the story so I’m not gonna trample over the spoiler tape 🙂

Hopefully, yeah, we will return to PC soon. We grew up on PC game development as a studio and it’s important to us.

Kaladinar: Any chance to see the game on PC?

thechineseroom: That’s not going to be our decision. I’ve love it to come onto PC, I think it’d fit really well

New Project

Pinchbeck revealed the studio is working on a new game concept that’s going to differ substantially from their previous projects.

dandev6: Do you have any unannounced planned projects after “Everybody’s gone to rapture”?

thechineseroom: Yeah, we’re already in concept development for a new game. It’s going to be something pretty different for us.

TheFinchmeister: Any details, even the vaguest on your next project? What’s something you’re looking to accomplish or explore on it?

thechineseroom: No! NO! CANNOT! (want to) CANNOT

Slow Run Speed

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture‘s run speed has been a hot topic among new players. While holding R2 will speed up the walking pace, some believe movement is still too slow. Pinchbeck says the studio is considering adding faster strides in a patch, but only if it doesn’t harm the pacing of the game.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Nighthawk1199: My colleagues and I are currently testing out the “run” button, and it’s still slow. Any chance that there might be an even more significant boost to the run speed? We love this game, we’d just love to have the ability to explore quicker.

thechineseroom: It’s a hard one. If you put too much more pace into it, then you’d have to start cutting content and the feel of the game would change completely. We’re patching things right now, so we’ll have a look a cheating it up slightly, but only if it doesn’t start messing with the pacing or compromising content.

DarthGrabass: Let me just chime in with an opposing vote on the run button. I love the pace that you set, and it actually feels like a realistic walking speed. I’m finding it to be really immersive, and I wouldn’t want to go zipping around everywhere like a sprinter.

thechineseroom: It’ll always be optional – and tbh, the increase for me was only ever to help out if you needed to backtrack. I think it works best at the normal speed (and look down! you’re actually zipping already!)

You can read the full AMA over on Reddit, and if you haven’t picked up Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture yet, you can download it for PS4 from the PlayStation Store.

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