When it was first announced, The Chinese Room’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was pitched to be an hour-long game that users would have to play multiple times to get the full picture. Not anymore, according to studio head Dan Pinchbeck.
“Yeah, that’s gone,” Pinchbeck told Eurogamer. “Originally, when we started the game off it was going to be an hour long for each playthrough. It would be almost like kind of a Groundhog Day or 12:01-type thing where you’ve got an hour. How far can you get? How much can you explore?
“Imagine reading a novel and you’re really into it, and 30 pages before the end someone comes up and takes it out of your hand and goes, ‘I’m afraid that’s it. Your time’s up.’ It’s an artificial conceit that doesn’t necessarily produce a good player experience.”
While time still plays a “fairly central role” in the game, it is no longer time-locked. Though, Pinchbeck isn’t sure if players will be able to experience the game to its “100 percent” during a single play-through.
“Whether we want the player to be able to likely hit 100 per cent of everything there is or if we want to do like 60-70 per cent, is still a little bit in flux as we’re putting stuff in,” Pinchbeck said.
Pinchbeck added that he’s not “hung up” on the notion of replay value in games, and generally has “no problem” going back to a game he really enjoys. But as much as he enjoys replaying games, he’s also not keen on forcing the user to replay a game to experience all it has to offer.
“I like the idea that a player can go back to a game and discover new things, but that’s not always the case if they’re stopped from experiencing everything the game has to offer,” Pinchbeck said. “It should be that the game is rich enough and interesting enough that you can understand it in a different way when you return to it, and certainly that has been our experience with [Dear Esther], and [Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs] as well.
“So it’s more about kind of going, ‘We want to tell a really good story, where we want the player to have a really engaging story-driven experience.’ That’s the target and the rest of the game will sort of mould and shape right up to the wire to try to make sure that’s happening.”
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is coming to PlayStation 4.
Read Eurogamer’s full interview with Pinchbeck here.