[Editor’s Note: British spellings have been preserved upon request.]
Hey there, FemHype crew, and welcome back to “Leading the Pack.” Today, I want to discuss the protagonist from one of my very favourite games: Dr. Katherine Collins, or Kate for short. This post will contain spoilers for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture!
Discussing Kate is interesting because we never see or interact with her in the game. In fact, we never see or interact with any characters in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. All that we learn about the residents of the fictional (but incredibly realistic) town of Yaughton we learn from lingering fragments of conversations that inhabit the valley, despite the people who once spoke those words now being nowhere to be found.
Nonetheless, Rapture’s clever storytelling means that we learn much about Kate. She is an American scientist who moved to Britain when her husband Stephen decided to return to his childhood village. Kate takes a job in the valley’s observatory, working on astronomy. Hooray for ladies in STEM fields!
Things are not all good for Kate, though. She and Stephen argue frequently, and he ends up cheating on her with his ex-fiancé, Lizzie. Kate also dislikes the sleepy small town life, and small town life dislikes her right back. Her mother-in-law, Wendy, insists that she doesn’t fit in. She also insists this isn’t because Kate is black, but it seems to have an awful lot to do with the fact that Kate is black. Other characters are also not as enthusiastic as I am about women in STEM, and seem to think Kate should have some children rather than work. Whilst this would be a valid thing to do, it’s clearly not what Kate wants, and the villagers disrespect her choice.
All of this begins to pale into insignificance compared to “The Event” that is the primary concern of the game, however. Something called The Pattern comes down from the stars via the observatory where Kate works and begins to kill people, causing the “rapture” that is referenced in the game’s title.
Much of what happens next—and how or why any of it happened—is never fully explained, and left totally open to interpretation. We do know a fair amount about Kate’s reaction, however, which begins with a steely determination to stay in the observatory and try to figure out exactly what is going on. This comes in stark contrast to most of the village, who panic and try to flee.
Because of this, Kate manages to figure out how to communicate with The Pattern, and shares her memories and senses with it. In return, The Pattern protects her where it or other events killed the rest of the people in the valley. In fact, she has an almost romantic attachment to it, claiming that everybody has “the love that makes us whole … this pattern is mine.”
It also appears that she gains omniscience through her connection to The Pattern. Among other things, she becomes aware of Stephen’s affair with Kate and forgives him in some of her final words. She also speaks kindly of the rest of the villagers despite their dislike for her, and tells the player that they are happier now despite … whatever it is that happened to them.
What, exactly, all of this means is left up to the player. Is The Pattern an alien lifeform, and if so, is Kate, too? Some also think that the player character who walks through the valley to witness the emptiness left by The Event is also Kate revisiting the scene, but there is no confirmation either way on this. Ultimately, Kate’s fate is unknowable.
Kate is a fascinating character because her backstory—a smart and determined, but out-of-place woman—feels familiar to us. This contrasts strongly with the Kate that we hear in the later part of the game, who understands The Pattern in a way that the player could never hope to. As the game becomes more confusing and open to interpretation, so too does Kate herself.