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What is Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn?

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Lucas Pope’s Papers, Please was an incredible game that surprised many, including myself, with its interesting concept. It effortlessly tied emotion, story, and gameplay together, and has stuck in the minds of many who’ve played it. Still, how do you follow that up? Apparently, you do so by making a game about solving the mysteries of an abandoned ship during the 1800’s.

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Pope just released a playable build of Return of the Obra Dinn on itch.io, letting players try out what he’s been working on lately. The build isn’t quite finished and won’t allow saving, but it’s finished enough that you get a taste of the 1 bit graphics. Pope is emulating the style of old Mac games with the visuals of Obra Dinn, but is doing so in realtime first person. It gives the game a gritty look, one that is beautiful, but strange, to see in motion.

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As for the game itself, the Obra Dinn left port with 200 tons of trade goods and 86 crew members, but has only now just floated back into port, its sails tattered and its hold, empty. As an insurance adjustor for the East India Company, you’ll be looking to figure out what happened to the ship. While that sounds like a good setup for point-and-click puzzles, in his initial announcement of the game on the tigscource.com forums, Pope stated that he wants to move away from that style of game. He’s not looking to do puzzles and item finding, mentioning a different gameplay hook he wishes to use instead. He’s mum on what that hook is, but after Papers, Please, I have faith it will be something unique.

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Anyone interested in the setting, look, and premise of the game can head on down to itch.io and try out the playable build right now. It’s in a rough, but playable state, and the visuals really do need to be seen in motion. To keep up on the project, you can follow Pope on Twitter, or keep up with the game on his personal site and the tigsource.com forums.



Fiction writer, indie lover, and horror game fanatic. If it's strange, personal, terrifying, or a combination thereof, he wants to play it.