Sometimes a game executes its audio so well that you overlook the simplicity of its gameplay. In August 2015, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture showed us the power and importance of this emphasis, despite the use of only one button to interact with your surrounding environment.
From the moment the title sequence transitions from monochrome landscape to full color, the work of Jessica Curry immediately sets an immersive, beautiful tone for an intriguing new world waiting for you to explore.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture places you in what appears to be a suddenly deserted rural town in Shropshire, England. Lit cigarettes, bags of groceries and other clutter are found scattered throughout, as if abandoned with little to no anticipation of the event that caused the sudden disappearance of all residents. Quarantine barriers block the roads that lead out of the village, and its railway system has been shut off.
The music and visuals connect in a way that creates such a compelling atmosphere. I often found myself stopping to listen and take in my surroundings without immediate thought of proceeding. Upon entering a chapel, hearing the voice of Elin Manahan Thomas accompanied by the string ensemble in “Liquid Light” struck me as one of those profound moments that reminded me what a powerful storytelling medium this is.
When you discover audio recordings of the town’s residents, you get a sense of the dynamics of their relationships with each other and how this looming crisis is affecting them as they try to figure out what was about to happen. “A Storm Over Yaughton” captures not just their sense of dread, but also the curiosity of something that manifests as otherworldly, simultaneously beautiful and horrifying.
Following the soundtracks of Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture meets and exceeds the mastery I have come to expect from the work of Jessica Curry. This game delivers a unique interactive experience, much like if you were a spectator navigating some kind of live museum. You play the game without any particular role in the story, which allows you to become immersed in the incredible atmosphere this game has to offer. I largely credit the effectiveness of this execution to its inspiring musical score. Though it is not a brand new title, it is worth mentioning that you can do a whole lot for creating a brand new, living world to explore when the music is handled as beautifully as it has in The Chinese Room’s latest work.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Original Soundtrack is available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Google Play.