Dear Esther developer experiencing “writer’s block”
The developer of Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs has reported on their official twitter that they are currently experiencing “writer’s block”.
Developer The Chinese Room is currently working on their latest title, named Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. The game was first announced in August 2013, with gameplay footage released in June last year. The game takes place during an apocalypse where everybody has disappeared. Players will assume the role of 6 different player-characters who must uncover what has happened. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a spiritual successor to the Half-Life 2 mod Dear Esther and attempts to push the boundaries of narrative in games. According to the developer, the game is inspired by “the fiction of John Wyndham, J. G. Ballard, John Christopher and other authors who deal with ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.”
The Chinese Room have posed lofty narrative ambitions for their most recent project. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture promises the opportunity for players to explore areas in any order that they like, whilst still receiving a “strong dramatic experience”. Additionally, the developer is boasting a “type of storytelling that is completely unique to games” where the “choices you make as a player have a direct impact on how you understand the story”.
Although a noble ideal, none of this is necessarily new. Games like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter allow the player to investigate in any order that they wish, while Telltale’s The Walking Dead frames the player’s understanding of survival and pragmatism in response to the choices that they make.
Regardless, the developer’s narrative ambitions appear to have hit an obstacle. Their official twitter account has reported a “writer’s block”, with the developer admitting that they are “Attempting to clear writer’s block by playing Faith No More very loudly. Doesn’t help at all, but Introduce Yourself is an awesome album.” Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is slated for a PS4 only release, and does not currently have an announced release date.