Lucas Pope, the creator of last’s years indie game hit Papers, Please, has announced his next game entitled Return of the Obra Dinn. Instead of the crude human faces he was credited for in his previous hit, this latest game will be entirely rendered in classic monochrome like the ancient Mac games you used to play in computer class at school.
Pope announced his game at The Independent Gaming Forums, signalling his intention to use Unity 3D to create a 1-bit game.
“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. I plan to push it grittier and less cartoon-like than those old games; the hard part will be keeping everything legible without it becoming an unreadable mess of dithered pixels.”
Pope stresses that the game is not for a pure gameplay experience, but rather he will use it as “an experiment with the rendering, story, and a few technical features.” His narrative occurs shortly after the change into the 19th century on an East Indiaman merchant ship.
“In 1802, the merchant ship “Obra Dinn” set out from London for the Orient with over 200 tons of trade goods. Six months later it hadn’t met its rendezvous point at the Cape of Good Hope and was declared lost at sea. Early this morning of October 14th, 1808, the Obra Dinn drifted into port with sails damaged and no visible crew. As insurance adjustor for the East India Company’s London Office, find means to board the ship and recover the captain’s logbook for assessment.”
Beyond the reveal of the story, Pope wouldn’t dive into the game’s “slightly cool gameplay hook,” but he does promise mystery and suspense that is free from the “collect items and look for clues” routine of the graphic adventure genre.
What do you think? That animation is pretty sweet, and I remember our first computer at school had these black and white games before the gift of color came through Number Munchers and Oregon Trail. This faint nostalgia now has me excited for Pope’s next venture into indie gaming development. I’m interested in what this gaming hook really is.