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Student stories – Abertay’s Gone to the Rapture

15 October 2015

A team of Abertay students worked on the recent hit game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, a story which begins with the world ending…

The team – students Katie Bell, Ellen Brown, Peter Danskin, Ryan Johnson, Jack Lemmon, Pip Snaith, Stuart Tait and lecturer Ryan Locke – worked with The Chinese Room on the title for Sony’s PlayStation 4, creating art that evokes life in rural England in 1984.

We spoke to Dan Pinchbeck, Creative Director of The Chinese Room, to learn more.

How would you describe Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture?

“Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is an open-world science-fiction mystery game. It sits in this new genre, the First Person Explorer, which we kicked off with our 2012 game Dear Esther, but pushes it much further.”


How did Abertay students get involved with the project?

“We hired an Abertay graduate, Alex Grahame, partway through the game as an environment artist and she's incredibly talented.

“We wanted to offer students a chance to contribute assets to the game as having a professional credit is so important to getting your foot in the door for your first job, and we figured if other Abertay students had half of Alex's talent, they'd be perfect.”

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture - web 2

What skills did the students bring to the game?

“They made 2D assets – posters, leaflets, magazine covers, product labels. You have to produce a huge number of these kinds of things in a game, and they needed proper research to hit the very specific time and place we were setting the game.

“So really we were asking them to perform exactly as they would have to do in any professional art team in a game production studio.”

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture - web 3

Why is gaining industry experience like this so important for students?

“The market is flooded with graduates right now, and industry experience of any kind is really important in standing out from the crowd. They also got feedback on their work and processes from Alex and our Art Director.

“That's invaluable, because you get a window into how one studio organise their work, and that can be quite different from other studios or the way you are being taught, so it's important to help broaden your horizons.”

Can you tell us what’s next for The Chinese Room?

“We're already working on a brand new title – we can't say anything more about it than that, but it's very exciting and quite different for us. And we're recovering from Rapture, which was a three year development, so there's a lot of pick up and evaluate as we go forwards.”

For more information about studying at Abertay, please see the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games course pages.

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