_Art & Design

This section celebrates video games that have cultivated a unique art direction. Because of these games’ designs, Worlds that are familiar to us become exciting and worlds that are fantastical become real.

Return of the Obra Dinn
Penko Park
Before I Forget

Super Ubie Island 2


Return of the Obra Dinn

Lucas Pope

Return of the Obra Dinn is a first-person mystery adventure based on exploration and logical deduction.


An Insurance Adventure with Minimal Color

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.

Interview with Creator, Lucas Pope

What are some challenges that you faced when creating Return of the Obra Dinn?

“The rendering technology took some time and care to design, and the core mechanics were also a long time coming. At the start I didn't have a clear picture of how the game would play and it took a few years to iron things out.”

“As a solo developer it's always hard to stretch my limited resources far enough to cover all aspects of production and despite how much I enjoyed it, just about every part of development was a challenge.”

“there's still a sense of life and motion beyond what I expected”

What aspects of the game were you most excited for audiences to interact with?

“The game involves exploring static moments frozen in time and I worried that spending a long time in those scenes would feel lifeless and empty. Luckily, even though nothing actually moves, in the end there's still a sense of life and motion beyond what I expected. My hope is that players feel that too and build a vibrant picture of the people and events on the ship.”

What inspired you to create this game?

“I grew up playing games on a classic Mac and always felt the stark black and white visuals were particularly beautiful. With Obra Dinn I wanted to see if I could reproduce that style in a first-person adventure game. Things got a lot more complicated after this initial inspiration, but in the beginning I was just thinking about making a modern 3D game in 1-bit.”

Do you have any advice for artists interested in creating video games?

“Start small. Focus on finishing each game and putting it in front of players. It doesn't need to be perfect. There's so many challenges and complexities with just finishing a project that each one is a valuable learning process.”

Learn more here



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