The maker of Papers, Please, Lucas Pope, is returning with his new nautical affair, Return of the Obra Dinn, next week.
The game is positing itself as a maritime mystery on board the Obra Dinn, an ill-fated ghost ship that is part of the East India Company. Following the ship’s disappearance in 1802, it docks in Falmouth five years later, sending onlookers into a panic. Players assume the role of an insurance investigator in 1807, who must piece together the events that led to the ship’s destruction.
Visually, Return of the Obra Dinn is gloriously idiosyncratic, harkening back to the visual style of older Macintosh adventure titles. Pope posited the project as “an insurance adventure with minimal color,” blending its referential art style with his usual geopolitical undertones.
Much of the game’s mechanics is based upon “logical deduction,” wherein players are expected to discover the fate of each crewmember. Pope has gone on record to say the game has two endings: one bad ending which can be achieved in 3 or so hours, and a good ending which can take players anywhere from 6 to 40 hours.