The Writer's Cohort was a group creative writing graduates from Full Sail University who came together to bring the latest reports in video games, television, film, and literature. The Cohort remains a tight knit group, but the site disbanded in 2016.
Relativity of Conflicts
by Grady Jane Woodfin
It honestly took a few days for The Chinese Room’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture adventure game to sink in.
I mean really sink in.
You see, I think sometimes when we finish playing/watching/reading something, we expect to have an immediate reaction to it. The message and theme and plot -- Everything clicks right at the end. Everything makes sense. That was not how it worked with Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. At least for me.
But that’s what I liked so much about it.
The game takes place in a cozy, English village. But what’s so off-putting about this all-too-charming town? All of the people are gone. They’ve mysteriously vanished. Have they gone to the rapture? Did they evacuate? Were they murdered? Who knows?
You see, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture starts after the world has already ended.
There is no one left. But you, of course.
In the game, you travel through the different parts of the village. A scientist named Kate somewhat guides you towards the end of the end, if you will. You get to explore and interact with certain objects like radios, doors, hidden passages, etc. Sometimes, entering a certain area will trigger a story scene. In a brief moment, the player gets to see a memory. It is, essentially, a snippet of what life was like leading up to the end of the world.
Left behind are memories and recordings of a village that feels so real -- so lived in, and now so blatantly empty.
The job of the player is to kind of uncover what happened to these people.
But, what really blew my mind about the game was the relativity of the conflicts I confronted in my playthrough.
Good stories are all about conflict, yes? And it’s safe to say that the world ending is a pretty huge conflict, right?
But the world ending wasn’t what was most important to me.
What I cared about most, were the villagers. Watching the story unfold, the player realizes that all of the people involved in the story share large amounts of history with each other. There is a lot of drama in this small town, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture throws the player headfirst into the deep end of a vicious whirlpool of commotion.
My favorite part of the game was thinking I was going to be figuring out what happened to the people -- when I was honestly more curious about why a certain relationship didn’t work out with two of the main characters.
That’s what makes this game so important.
Relativity of conflicts.
The thought of the world ending is overwhelming to say the least, but the thought of a relationship ending is something people can relate to. It creates this sense of, “Hey, the world may be ending, but I’m, honestly, just really sad because my favorite character is heartbroken, and I know why because I’ve felt that, too.”
I think a lot of people look for clarity in games. They want a good ending or a bad ending. They want black or white. What was so intriguing about this game is the way it leaves the player feeling. It left me with more questions than answers, but not about what happened in the game. It made me question things about my own relationships and myself.
This visually spectacular, non-linear journey captivated me until the very end, and then days after. While I enjoyed my first play through, I know the game still holds many more mysteries to uncover and quite a few more trophies to earn.
The Chinese Room launched Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture on August 11, 2015, and it is available to purchase on the PlayStation store.