Lucas Pope, the creator of the highly acclaimed bureaucracy simulator Papers, Please, is releasing a new game this fall. Titled Return of the Obra Dinn, the game is an homage to 1980’s computer games that tasks players with exploring a derelict ship.
The Steam page describes the game and the player’s job:
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, 1807, the Obra Dinn drifted into port at Falmouth with damaged sails and no visible crew. As insurance investigator for the East India Company’s London Office, dispatch immediately to Falmouth, find means to board the ship, and prepare an assessment of damages.
Return of the Obra Dinn is a first-person mystery adventure based on exploration and logical deduction.
As the trailer shows, it would seem like something nasty happened aboard the titular ship. As an insurance agent, it’s your character’s job to explore the ship and gauge the damages. Fortunately, the insurance investigator seems to have some minor time traveling abilities from a pocket watch that allows him to see into the ship’s past and the grisly fates of the crew. It also looks like there’ll be some paperwork involved in this game, just like in Papers, Please, as you’ll have to determine the identities and deaths (and in some cases the murderer) of various crew members.
The trailer says that Return of the Obra Dinn will be released ‘Autumn 1818.’ The actual date is probably about 200 years later than what it gives us. You can learn more about the game at the official website or check out the GDC 2016 official demo. Lucas Pope warns that it’s “not meant to be a proper demo of the final product, but it’s probably safe to extrapolate from.”