Papers, Please creator's new game invokes Mac Plus era

Return of the Obra Dinn

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It's safe to say I loved Papers, Please. I recommend the game incessantly whenever I come across someone who hasn't played through the pseudo-Eastern Bloc immigration agent simulator. It even won PCWorld's 2013 Game of the Year award.

So when I heard Papers, Please creator Lucas Pope had put out a demo of his new project? I might've rubbed my hands together and grinned with all the fervor I typically reserve for eating a juicy strip steak.

The new game is titled Return of the Obra Dinn, and you can download the demo (Windows or Mac) here.  Fair warning from Pope himself: "This is a very early playable build. There's not much content and it hasn't been tested."

Still, it gives you an idea of what Obra Dinn is aiming for. The year is 1808, and you're an insurance adjustor for the East India Company. The Obra Dinn was a merchant ship that set sail in 1802 and was thought to be lost at sea. That is, they thought it was lost until it came drifting back into port six years later. Your task is to figure out what happened in the intervening time.

Return of the Obra Dinn

I don't really want to spoil anything about the game this early in development, especially when there's a demo you could go play. Suffice it to say there's a bit of the supernatural involved.

What's immediately striking is the game's visual style. "My first computer was a Mac Plus. I've always had a nostalgia-softened spot in my heart for 1-bit graphics. I'd like to capture the detailed black & white look of old Mac games in a realtime 1st person game," writes Pope in a post on the TIGSource Forums. It's definitely interesting, though at times a bit hard to decipher. Incredibly, Pope is using Unity for the project—I'm constantly amazed what that engine can do.

No release date has been annoounced yet, but I assume we'll hear more about this project around the time of the IGF (which co-locates with GDC) in March.

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