Papers, Please dev reveals next game: first-person mystery Return of the Obra Dinn

Papers, Please developer Lucas Pope has announced his next project - and from the sounds of things, it's quite a departure from his award-winning checkpoint simulator. Return of the Obra Dinn is a "3D first-person mystery game set on an East Indiaman merchant ship in 1808", words which can be only responded to with seventeen exclamation marks. Here are mine: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There aren't too many details yet, but I've gathered the evidence, sleuthlike, from Pope's TIGSource post - you'll find it below.

There are no images of the game yet, aside from that mocked-up title image at the top of this post, but expect a first-person game featuring the same "1-bit" black-and-white rendering style you see up there. It's a stark choice, and it will be interesting to see it in action.

Graphics aside, the focus with Obra Dinn will be more on the narrative and technical side of things. Don't expect to be gathering items and searching for clues - Pope promises a "slightly cool gameplay hook", but he's saving details of that for later.

Lastly, here's the setup, which to me is the most interesting part:

"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."

That's right: it's Event Horizon, but on a boat.

...OK, probably not. Either way, Obra Dinn is one we'll be keeping an eye on. If you're wondering why, have of a read of our review of Papers, Please.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.