Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Director Talks Next Game, Return to PC, Dear Esther on PS4/Xbox One

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Director Talks Next Game, Return to PC, Dear Esther on PS4/Xbox One

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture has finally been released today on PS4, and to celebrate the launch, Creative Director Dan Pinchbeck shared quite a lot of interesting info in an AMA on Reddit.

First of alll, we learn that a new game us already in concept development, and it’s a pretty different one:

“Yeah, we’re already in concept development for a new game. It’s going to be something pretty different for us.”

Pinchbeck responded in a tongue-in-cheek way to a user asking of the new game is actually going to have gameplay:

“That might actually be too much of a shock for some people to bear. We couldn’t have that on our consciences.”

The team is going straight into development after a quick holiday:

“A quick holiday then straight into the next game. No rest for the wicked.”

Apparently, the folks at The Chinese Room hope to return to PC Development soon:

“Hopefully, yeah, we will return to PC soon. We grew up on PC game development as a studio and it’s important to us.”

About a PC port of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, it’s not their decision, but Pinchbeck would like to do it:

“That’s not going to be our decision. I’ve love it to come onto PC, I think it’d fit really well.”

He also talked about the relationship with Sony Santa Monica as a publisher:

“We knew it was going to be a big complicated game and we were still ‘young’ as a studio – we needed production support as well as investment (it cost way more than we thought we could raise) – so we knew we’d need a publisher. Santa Monica win as the best publisher – they are really supportive of new types of games and had a great reputation for working with devs. Luckily they liked the concept and that was it”

Interestingly, seeing Dear Esther on PS4 and Xbox One is not outside the realm of possibility:

“Would love to. We’re still working on the port over from Source to Unity. Once that’s done, ports to PS4 and potentially other places becomes a real possibility.”

“Thank you – it’s something we’re going to try our hardest to make happen.”

He then talked about the future of indie development, and why many studios move from Steam to consoles:

“Wow, that’s a good one. I don’t know. It’s getting harder to get seen on Steam, the competition is much more intense. If the sums add up, I can see more indies hitting consoles to try and get visibility.

In terms of AAA games, I think the changes there are more about retail models and risk aversion, rather than what indies are doing. But there’s a lot of very very talented people leaving AAA development for smaller studios – that’s exciting.”

Looks like we can expect the studio to work only on its own IP from now on, with possible exceptions (which are most probably a joke based on Pinchbeck’s own taste anyway):

“Well, Amnesia was not always the easiest experience for us or for Frictional. I don’t think I’d want to touch anyone else’s IP again. Unless it was System Shock. Obviously. Or Stalker.”

We hear about the importance of surround sound in the game:

“Yeah, it’s one of the things that we really wanted to get right, to try and get that full sense of 360 immersion. Most you only get to play on headphones in an open plan office, so it was always a big treat firing it up on the big screen with surround for us”

Pinchbeck also talked about the transition from a horror game to Rapture:

“After the kind of stuff we were googling for research on Amnesia it was a welcome change. But it’s meant we can’t go for a walk without thinking about lods and polys. Looking forward to getting that back.

It took a look of research to get the feel right- thinking about things like seasonal vegetation, historical accuracy. We’ve been everywhere from world of pylons to the development of modern baling techniques.”

We also hear about the sources of inspiration for the game and its location:

“All over the place – books are a big one. Rapture came from 50s/60s/70s science-fiction like Wyndham and Christopher. Pigs I was reading a lot of steampunk stuff, like G.W. Dhalquist and Stephen Hunt. Esther was Burroughs… so not saying what I’m reading now, it’d be a giveaway”

“We spent quite a while looking at different counties and Shropshire just felt right. Sometimes it’s quite an instinctive thing. I read a lot of Shropshire dialect, listened to the accent, looked at photos and thought – you know what, that looks right”

Finally, Pinchbeck commented on the game’s length, and on whether he would have liked to make it longer:

“Nah, I think we’ve probably reached the limit of how long a game like this could be. I think if it was much longer it would start to lose focus and drag. It’s a good length for us, because it means we can focus on the quality of the experience that is there, rather than spreading ourselves too thin”