Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a mysterious, beautiful game about a post-apocalyptic English countryside. Wan steel and lemon skies and vivid, ruddy sunsets spread out over fields dotted with native plants, and players slowly, gently explore the resonances of those who have vanished to piece together its abstract story.
It's the latest game from Brighton, UK-based The Chinese Room, a studio run by a husband-and-wife team who, before they started making games, collaborated on projects like interactive "sound walks" and the Second Life debut of the Royal Opera House. Director Jessica Curry composed Everybody's Gone to the Rapture's delicate, unique soundtrack, and her music and sound design is essential to the experience of the game, synchronizing with procedural audio and ambient sound developed by the team's Adam Hay.
When I talked to The Chinese Room last year, Curry told me about some of the inspirations for the music she composed for the game:
"We don't just want to use traditional game aesthetics 'because it's a game,'" Curry explains. "And that's not saying we consider other art forms 'more highly,' but people who play games also all watch films, read books, listen to music, and we think it's important something doesn't just look and sound like a game for the sake of it. For me, the music isn't going to sound like other game soundtracks -- I really wanted a classic English pastoral sound, not from a 'game genre.'"
The Rapture soundtrack thrives on its own as atmospheric, listenable music. This week, the original classical score was likely to have hit number one on the UK official charts—but were removed for being an OST. It shows some conservative misunderstanding and prejudice on the part of the organization, as there have been movie tune compilations (including a Complete Harry Potter Film Music compilation) on the chart already. Before the removal, Curry was apparently the only woman composer in the top 50.
We salute the multi-talented Jessica Curry for her work, and agree with her that music created for visual media should be considered as classical music. Such compositions make classical music accessible to audiences that might not otherwise have a chance to appreciate it—the harmony of sound and experience created by Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, which you can download on a PlayStation 4, is an experience you mustn't miss if you have access to the platform.