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Papers, Please Dev's Obra Dinn Returns In New Demo

Supernatural seafaring

"Say," you say in that odd tone you affect, "what ever did happen to that new game from the Papers, Please chap? First-person mystery doodad, set about a lost ship, had some kind of magic watch? Quite a nice weird dithered look going on?" You are a godsend, you, always stumbling along with rambling questions at convenient times.

You can see for yourself how Return of the Obra Dinn [official site] is going, as creator Lucas Pope has released the new work-in-progress demo he showed at GDC in March.

Return of the Obra Dinn, to refresh your memory, is a first-person mystery set in 1807, investigating a ship which has been lost at sea for years but now drifted into sight. With a magical pocketwatch in hand, the player can step back in time to see frozen scenes revealing what happened.

You can grab the new demo free from Itch for Windows and Mac. If you played the early prototype Pope released free in October 2014, you might be suprised by how familiar this is. As Pope explains in his TIGForums devlog, switching to a new version of Unity, trouble with tools, and rebuilding things all took a fair while, so this slice is essentially that but fancier.

"That build was a pretty nice vertical slice of the game; stuff was missing but for the first ~20 minutes of gameplay it turns out to be fairly representative. This is something I've experienced before - kicking out a solid vertical slice in X months, then breaking everything badly while scaling up the tools/pipeline/systems for the full game. Years later you look back and wonder, based on the quality of the initial slice, wtf took so long."

This new build is "not meant to be a proper demo of the final product," Pope says, "but it's probably safe to extrapolate from here." I am keen to see more of this.

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About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.

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