Whether you loved it or hated it, Dear Esther was one of the most creative and controversial games of 2012. And while it was many years in development, Dan Pinchbeck and his studio thechineseroom has just announced a "spiritual successor" to Esther should be in our hands by the end of next year.
Everyone's Gone to the Rapture is - again - a first-person exploration game, but rather than a series of dark caves, you find yourself in the village of Shropshire. It's an hour before the end of the world, and the game plays out in real-time.
While Esther was frightening because you didn't necessarily know what was going on, the overwhelming sense of foreboding was undeniable. Pinchbeck and his team acknowledge that this was part of the game's success, making dread a key part of Rapture.
I really wanted a world where you actively feel like something is going on, because it actively is going on.
But just what is actively going on for you in those 60 minutes is undefined. Take note: The map is large enough that it'll take around 20 minutes to cross diagonally from one corner to the other, so chances are you won't be able to see the whole playing field in any one game.
You're not alone in this new world, either. Non-human beings dot the landscape, and your interactions with them - and the environment - will affect, shape and change the way the game plays out, including the actions of other characters.
They're almost kind of memory traces of people that were there. How we represent them, and whether we do full-on character builds or whether we do something more symbolic, we're still kind of chewing around with.
Headed exclusively to PC, and using CryEngine 3, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture will hit (virtual) shelves in 2013.
Jimmy the Geek