In The Rapture Is Here And You Will Be Forcibly Removed From Your Home (shortened as TRIHAYWBFRFYH), players have only 20 minutes before the end of the world wipes out their existence.
The debut title from indie developer Connor Sherlock, TRIHAYWBFRFYH s a minimalist game that focuses heavily on exploration, visuals and auditory cues. The free-to-play game features haunting narrations taken directly from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, whose work has had a profound influence on its creator. Speaking with Polygon via email, Sherlock explained that even the game's long and confusing title is a nod to the late writer.
"Having a completely unpronounceable title helps with the Lovecraftian theme of wanting to know the unknowable, and solves the problem of the full title being too long to fit in a lot of places," Sherlock said.
But the game's full name comes directly from a story from Sherlock's childhood, when his father came home as a young boy and found himself completely alone. Assuming the rapture had taken place, Sherlock's father freaked out.
"Awe, loneliness and wonder are as important as horror for this."
"The final game has nothing to do with strict religious upbringings, or the Christian idea of the rapture, but the phrase stuck with me, and I feel it does a good job setting the mood for the game," Sherlock said.
Despite its short lifespan, TRIHAYWBFRFYH is meant to be more than alarming. Sherlock wants players to feel relaxed and introspective even as the game's world meets its end.
"In actuality, the game is really 22 minutes, but having 'The world ends in 20 minutes' puts the player into the correct frame of mind of exploring under a vague pressure," Sherlock said. "It also communicates that it is a short game that respects the player's time, which feels like a must in an industry where there are many, many more games to play than people have time, even if you only count free ones."
Sherlock's goal was to avoid a "cheesy gamification" of Lovecraft's work by combining the narration with the wandering nature of a Dear Esther-like title. In this way, Sherlock hoped to make TRIHAYWBFRFYH stand out from its Lovecraft-inspired peers.
"Lovecraft's stories hinge on trying to describe encountering something fundamentally unknowable to human beings," Sherlock said. "Awe, loneliness and wonder are as important as horror for this. Video games tend to focus entirely on horror, or worse yet, quickly give way to action and gore and use the terrible things Lovecraft describes as mere cannon fodder."
TRIHAYWBFRFYH is available as a free download for Mac and Windows PC. For more on the game, watch the launch trailer below.