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Video Game / Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

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"This is Doctor Katherine Collins. I don't know if anyone will ever hear this. It's over. I'm the only one left."
Opening lines of the game

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a 2015 Post Apocalyptic Environmental Narrative Game developed by The Chinese Room (developers of Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs) and released for the Play Station 4 (ported to PC in 2016). It focuses on an unknown survivor of an apocalyptic event in a (fictional) small English village in Shropshire, who appears to be the only person left in the town. Using audio logs, tape recorders, and images granted by floating balls of light, the character, and by extension, the player, try to piece together just what happened to the town.

The title of the game, however, means it doesn't exactly require a MENSA membership to guess.

Contains examples of:

  • The '80s: The game takes place in 1984.
  • Accidental Murder: After getting caught raiding a warehouse for supplies, Stephen ends up getting into a fight with Sam Baker; for most of the fight, Stephen is on the defensive and just trying to get away before he ends up spreading the Pattern further, only to lose his temper when Sam mentions "your fucking missus" and hit him in the head with a hammer. Cue My God, What Have I Done? response.
  • After the End: Everyone in the village and possibly the world has disappeared. The bulk of the game centers around figuring out why. Take a wild guess.
  • Alternate History: The events of the game take place in the year 1984 where the “Rapture” has happened and the human race has disappeared.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The titular "Rapture", and just how deadly or benign it really is.
  • Anachronic Order: The dialogues are uncovered in whatever order you explore them. However, given that the chapters themselves are in anachronic order, it is actually impossible to get them in proper chronological order. Averted with the radio recordings, which are played chronologically no matter which order you activate them.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0: everyone in the relatively small Yaughton Valley region of Shropshire has vanished. May have advanced to either Class 3a or 3b depending on how you interpret the Pattern and the method of its escape. Either way, Kate's dialogue near the end of the game heavily implies that it's spread all over the world.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Some radios and phones can be tapped for information regarding the townsfolk, such as their relationships with one another, and even some information about when and where they were "Raptured." The balls of light take this even further, constructing entire scenes of what happened before the events in question.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: It's suggested that this happens to those infected by the Pattern — their bodies disappear after death, and when Kate finally manages to communicate with it, it states that everyone who wanted to be together is together now.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Stephen's ultimate reaction to The Pattern.
  • Big Bad: Katherine Collins, whose experiments with the Pattern allowed it to broadcast beyond the valley and infect the entire world. She didn't know what she was doing at first, but it's implied she came to realize the consequences of her actions and no longer cared.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Pattern's motives are impossible to understand. Kate's logs claim that it's not malevolent and just trying to reach out to people, but it's strongly implied she's projecting her own loneliness and alienation onto its actions.
    • It's also implied the Pattern doesn't understand that its actions are killing the people it "infects."
    • Near the end, Kate describes it as "a collector of time", and compares it to a butterfly collector. It may see humans as lesser beings, worthy of "collection" but not life. Kate also espouses a philosophy which implies that no one ever really dies, because everyone leaves imprints on the universe. If that's how the Pattern views things, then perhaps it has no qualms about killing because it doesn't even have a concept of "death".
  • Britain Is Only London: Averted, London is never mentioned.
  • Butterfly Effect: Not directly mentioned, but the spiral on the game cover and some of the doors is a graph of Lorentz' attractor, which is an important concept in chaos theory. Also, butterflies are occasionally seen in the game.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: You can walk for quite a while without finding one of the autosave points.
  • Closed Circle: The village was apparently quarantined in the days leading up to the Rapture. Plenty of people still tried to escape, with varying results.
  • Close-Knit Community: The people in the valley are this. It is probably the reason they distrust the American Kate.
  • Cool Old Guy: Frank Appleton; a cheerfully irreverent old farmer and part-time handyman, he's one of the friendlier characters in the game. Quite apart from serving as a Parental Substitute to Rhys, he's also one of the few residents of the village who's willing to accept Kate without reservation. Towards the end of his chapter, it's revealed that he's secretly consumed with grief over the loss of his wife and his failure to be there for her when she died.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Despite the rest of humanity disappearing, the player is free to explore a beautiful small English village at their leisure without any threats (e.g. Zombies, robots or aliens)
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Robert Graves, whose truck was run off the road by Sean and Diana in their haste to escape the town. His body is gone like all the others, but Diana's horror and the damage to the truck suggests he was impaled to his seat by a broken tree branch.
  • Deadly Nosebleed: One of the symptoms of those about to be "Raptured." One audio log indicates that the same liquid light found in the various phenomena is found mingled in the blood of the victims. How deadly it actually is is up for debate.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Father Jeremy, one of the village's kindest residents, witnesses the slow disintegration of the town until he's the only one remaining.
  • Disappears into Light: People who get infected with the Pattern eventually turn into "liquid light".
  • Downer Ending: Mixed with Foregone Conclusion. Before the game even starts, the world's entire human population is most likely dead. Kate puts a hopeful spin on the events in her final logs, but it's left ambiguous how much of her hope is genuine and how much of it is justification for her actions.
  • Driving Question: What is the Rapture? A deadly disease? The actual, honest-to-God Rapture? Aliens?
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Rather than seeking cover from the air strike, Frank instead sits down wait by the windmill for the gas to reach him, having decided to face the end as he feels he should have done with Mary; however, the Pattern gets him before then.
    • Stephen, who was hiding in a bunker during the airstrike, lights himself on fire when he realizes that the Pattern has already spread to the rest of the world and is now closing in on him.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Pattern, an astronomical phenomenon with an unknown amount of sentience. It's also responsible for the disappearances, with a little help from Kate.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The game kicks off with Kate announcing that she's the only one left in the village, and one or two of the chapters conclude with the principal characters convinced that they are the sole survivors. By the end of the story, these survivors have also been assimilated by the Pattern.
  • Exposition Fairy: The balls of light. Activating them shows scenes related to the townsfolk and their doings just before the Rapture. They even seem to be intelligent, seeming to guide you to these moments and places at certain points. The game heavily implies these are the people the plot of each chapter is centered around.
  • Fallout Shelter Fail: During the penultimate chapter, Stephen Appleton is found to have holed up in an underground bomb shelter as he enacts a last-ditch plan to stop the Pattern from spreading outside Yaughton - an air strike. Unfortunately, it doesn't work, and the rest of the world soon goes silent. For a time, Stephen's left hiding in the shelter as he struggles to calculate the full scope of the disaster, trying to reach someone on the CB radio - without success... and then he finds out that the shelter does nothing to keep out the Pattern. He douses himself in petrol and sets himself alight rather than allow the Pattern to assimilate him.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The player character has no name, never speaks, and we never see their face or even their arms and legs.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Stephen convinces the government to bombard the valley with nerve gas in an attempt to stop the Pattern from spreading out of control. It doesn't work.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Kate's attempts to understand and strengthen The Pattern prove successful, and bring about the end of the world.
  • Guide Dang It!: There's a sprint button. The game never mentions it, even in the control screen, it's mapped to R2 of all buttons, and it takes 10 seconds to work. Nobody noticed this before The Chinese Room released a statement.
  • Headache of Doom: Headaches are among the earliest symptoms experienced by those affected by the Pattern, followed swiftly by nosebleeds, disorientation, and finally disintegration into light. This initially allows the government to claim that there's a flu epidemic in the region, justifying the quarantine of Yaughton - though later symptoms debunk this excuse. Eventually, the headaches grow so severe that Dr Wade initially suspects that he's suffering from a rapidly-expanding brain tumour, up until he notices the "liquid light" in his blood.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The balls of light emit garbled voices and other distorted noises that can be quite alarming, especially if one of them floats up behind you unexpectedly.
    • Bursts of static and radio distortion occasionally come booming across the horizon, which is quite eerie.
  • Holier Than Thou: Wendy. A mean-spirited, sanctimonious old bag who rarely has a kind word for anyone and always has a Bible verse ready to pass judgment on the other villagers.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: If this is connected to the religious idea of "rapture".
  • Idyllic English Village: The game is set in the peaceful town of Yaughton (located in the county of Shropshire in the West Midlands). However, it's become a little more peaceful than usual as the entire population has inexplicably vanished, leaving the player to explore the abandoned town and uncover the story behind this mass disappearance. As such, the usual picturesque staples of the country town are here played for horror as the apocalyptic circumstances of the story gradually become apparent.
  • Interspecies Romance: Shades of this between Kate and the Pattern, especially at the end.
  • Jerkass: Stephen may be well-intentioned in the context of the story, but he's also a huge asshole. He bites people's heads off for no reason, resents nearly everyone, and even though he does love Kate, he also snaps at her as much as at everyone else, and he blames her entirely for the Pattern's escape. Maybe he inherited it from his mother, Wendy.
  • Last of Their Kind: Kate appears to be the last human alive after the Pattern has taken everyone.
    • Both Father Jeremy (who returns to the church before being taken by the Pattern) and Stephen (who remained inside a bunker before the Pattern also reached him) think they are this after the disappearance of everyone else in the village.
  • Leitmotif: Most of the characters have a musical motif associated with their chapter in the game that plays at the start of their chapters, continues throughout, and plays at the conclusion of their stories. Jeremy the priest has Psalm 13 set to music, Wendy the bird lover has a folk song about birds, Frank the widower has a folk song about a lost love, Lizzie who is pregnant has a lullaby, Kate and the Pattern have Psalm 19.
  • Leitmotif upon Death: Almost every chapter ends with the principal character of that storyline being absorbed by the Pattern, usually while accompanied either by a snippet of their leitmotif or a complete remix. Lizzie's lullaby is remixed into a stirring orchestral farewell in "I Hope You Find Peace," while Frank's death theme "It's A Beautiful Morning" concludes with the final lyrics to "Carry Me Back To Her Arms: "And a-roving I'll go until death comes for me/to carry me back to her arms..."
  • Light Is Not Good: While the veracity of this trope varies on how benign or hostile you see them as, things undeniably went to hell for the village soon after the "liquid light" phenomena started showing up.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Kate, who spends all her time shut up in the observatory due to being a Fish out of Water in Stephen's pastoral hometown.
  • Mad Scientist: As strange things start to happen in Yaughton, some of its residents suspect Stephen's become this. Ironically, as the story progresses we find he's actually a subversion, becoming more rational and desperate in his attempts to contain and kill The Pattern. Played straight with Kate, who when left alone has clearly gone off the deep end in her attempts to strengthen and nurture The Pattern, resulting in her strange and crazy contraptions all over the observatory.
  • Mercy Kill: Eight months prior to the start of the story, Father Jeremy euthanizes Frank's terminally-ill wife Mary with an overdose of morphine. Frank didn't discover the truth until six weeks later - and has nothing but gratitude for Jeremy, especially given that Frank is still wracked with guilt over his failure to be there for Mary in her final moments. By sharp contrast, Wendy has nothing but contempt for Jeremy when she discovers the truth.
  • Mistaken for Disease: The effects of the Pattern on human beings are initially mistaken for an outbreak of flu, thanks in part to the military's pretext for the quarantine of Yaughton - which is really in place to prevent the Pattern from spreading to the rest of the world. Dr Wade soon recognizes that this explanation is nonsense, but still believes his symptoms to be the result of a disease, interpreting his crippling headaches and nosebleeds as the result of a rapidly-expanding tumour in his brain... until he notices the "liquid light" in the blood.
  • My Beloved Smother: Wendy, who badgers her son and his high school ex into cheating on their spouses.
  • My Greatest Failure: Frank Appleton has never forgiven himself for not being there when his wife died; as he later accounts, she specifically asked him to face the end with her, but Frank's fear got the better of him and he went down to the pub instead. This eventually becomes a major factor in his decision to wait for the bombs to fall rather than save himself.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If everyone in the village had tried to be more accepting of Kate, maybe she wouldn't have felt so isolated and become so obsessed with the Pattern. This is particularly true of Wendy, whose meddling encouraged Stephen and Lizzie's affair, further isolating Kate and making her less willing to listen.
  • Nom de Mom: A subtle one. Stephen and his uncle Frank are both Appletons, but Frank is his maternal uncle, and his mother is Wendy Boyles. Ordinarily, Frank and Stephen would have different surnames. But there's a rock at the Appleton farm where couples carved their names in youth - including Stephen and Lizzie, Frank and Mary, and W.A. and E.B. - most probably Wendy Appleton and Eddie Boyles, since Wendy refers to "my Eddie" in one scene. Which means Stephen has purposefully taken his mother's maiden name, despite the fact that even she doesn't use it. A tumultuous relationship with a now dead father might explain some of Stephen's issues and why he's only now consented to return.
    • Stephen's doctoral diploma can be found in his bedroom, giving his full name as "Stephen Edward Appleton Boyles"; perhaps his middle name also came from his father.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: You're only given bits and pieces of the whole story, leaving your imagination to do the rest. Some entries in the Apocalyptic Log imply that things got pretty terrible in the days leading up to the Rapture, and certain findings (like an unexploded VX gas missile in the river, or puddles of blood and bloody tissues from the villagers' nosebleeds) seem to verify this idea, but you're never given anything concrete.
    • The emptiness of the areas you travel through can be unsettling at times despite how bright and sunny most of the game is.
  • Oh, Crap!: Every new revelation for Stephen comes across as one of these. "It's in the phones! GET OFF THE PHONES!"
    • Frank gets a big one of these when he overhears Stephen getting Clive to order an airstrike on the village.
    No! NO! You stupid, stupid bastards!
  • One-Woman Wail: Prominently featured on the soundtrack, especially in death scenes - "Liquid Light", "All The Earth," and "A Beautiful Morning" being the most prominent.
  • Outside-Context Problem: 'The Pattern.' Although its intentions (if it indeed has any) are mostly a complete mystery, Kate and Stephen point out it defies both known physics and human understanding from the outset. it all ends as well as you might expect.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The balls of light, both in-universe and out. They don't seem to do much but show you images, but given that they seem to be the source of whatever happened, it's hard not to be at least a little nervous around them. Made worse by the fact that they sometimes hover outside buildings the player is in, waiting for them to come out.
  • Scenery Porn: Oh yes! From quaint little towns to lush green forests to enchanting lakesides, Everybody's Gone To The Rapture is quite possibly the most beautiful post-apocalyptic game ever released. The best part is the map is extremely large and open ended with plenty of houses and buildings to explore, all with an impressive attention to detail.
  • Shipper on Deck: Wendy for Stephen and Lizzie.
  • Shout-Out: The radio telescope is named after the Philip K. Dick novel VALIS.
  • Sole Survivor: The player character, for reasons unknown. Some speculate that the player character is Kate, who lived because she was the initial point of contact for the Pattern and merged with it just before the bombs fell.
  • Spoiler Title: Where's everybody gone? To the Rapture, of course! It's hardly what you'd call a twist.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: At first the residents of Yaughton react quite calmly to the army quarantining the village, seemingly more put out at the inconvenience than how dire the situation must actually be to warrant it. Played straight with the doctor's calm and sardonic tape message, where he concludes he is dying, and it's certainly not from the flu.
    • Horribly averted, as the game progresses it becomes increasingly clear that many of Yaughton's residents are actually putting on an act of behaving normally, in a effort to ignore the Rapture. The story's most moving moments often coming about when we witness characters lose their composure.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: You piece together the story from dialogues triggered as you walk around, or from various radio and telephone recordings.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: Much the same as with Dear Esther.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Wendy Boyle. Her ill-advised matchmaking between Stephen and Lizzie was the breaking point for Kate, which led to her obsession with the Pattern and all the disasters that followed.
  • Wham Line: "It doesn't understand it's hurting us."