Return of the Obra Dinn, from the maker of Papers, Please, comes out next week

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More than four years after it was first revealed to the world, Return of the Obra Dinn, "an insurance adventure with minimal color" being developed by the maker of Papers, Please, will be out next week—October 18.   

The subtitle is odd but accurate: The game tells the tale of the merchant ship Obra Dinn, which was declared lost in 1802 but reappeared five years later, drifting, with damaged sails and no crew. You, an insurance investigator for the East India Company, must get aboard the ship, assess the damages, and figure out what went wrong. Its first-person exploration is rendered entirely in 1-bit color—that is, monochrome—with core rendering resolution locked to 800x450.   

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That's not exactly a deep insight into what it's all about, but Shaun took it for a test sail a couple of years ago and declared it "scarier and more adventurous than it looks": It's minimalist and clerical, but "the whole package carries the ineffable weirdness of some long buried silent movie, deemed too dreadful and frightening for its time."   

It's the sort of description that immediately grabs my attention, but if you need more convincing you can take the GDC 2016 build of Return of the Obra Dinn for a spin courtesy of Bear in mind that it's far from final: "This is a slightly tweaked and optimized version of the build shown at GDC 2016. It's not meant to be a proper demo of the final product but it's probably safe to extrapolate from here," the page states. "Barely tested and possibly full of bugs. Progress is not saved." 

Return of the Obra Dinn will be available on Steam, Humble (opens in new tab), and GOG, although it's not listed there yet. A website that currently contains no more information than what you've already got is up at

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.