Dear Esther is one of the most fascinating interactive experiences to come in recent time. Developer thechineseroom was praised for creating a beautiful, atmospheric adventure--but many criticized the lack of "gameplay." Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, a "spiritual successor" to Dear Esther, promises to add a bit more gameplay into the mix.
Rapture is a CryEngine 3-powered open world adventure that takes place in a village in the English county of Shropshire. The world is big, which would take about 20 minutes to walk diagonally from one corner to the other. However, your time to explore is limited... because the world will end in one hour.
Like Dear Esther, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a "pure story game." However, this story is not a solitary one. You'll be introduced to six different characters as they live their lives before the end of the world. You can interact with them if you'd like, influencing their actions in the final hour of life. You could also just sit and watch, choosing not to interfere. "Do you become like a voyeur, just watching them live out the last day of their life, effectively?"
"I want to be able to allow the player to manipulate the world. I want the player to feel like, actually, this is a space that's evolving and changing," creative director Dan Pinchbeck told Beefjack in their exclusive preview. As such, Rapture is meant to be played over and over again. The time limitation means you'll only see a part of the world each time you play, and every hour you partake in will be a brand new story.
It reminds us a bit of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and that's a good thing. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture will be out on PC in 2013.