Obra Dinn became one of the big success stories at this year’s BAFTA Games Awards, winning Game Design and Artistic Achievement awards against strong competition from the likes of God Of War, Red Dead Redemption II, Celeste, and Lucas’s personal favourite, the ‘fantastic’ Florence.
It took four years to develop Obra Dinn at Pope’s Japan-based studio 3909 LLC, and despite the success of Papers, Please, the game’s overwhelmingly positive reception still came as a surprise.
‘When I worked on this game, it’s very linear, it’s about a mystery, figuring out a story, and I wrote that so I know everything about it. So to understand how other people feel about the game was pretty difficult at the end.
‘By the time I released it I just wanted to finish it, just wanted to get it done with. So I didn’t really have any clear idea of how it’d be received.’
Nowadays, any successful indie titles are almost naturally assumed to be heading to Nintendo Switch but Lucas was coy as to whether Obra Dinn will end up on the platform.
‘A lot of people are asking for it,’ Lucas said. ‘Actually the first response when I released it for desktops was, ‘When is it coming to Switch?’ So the writing is on the wall on that I guess.
‘I haven’t figured anything out yet solid for it yet though.’
The arrival of streaming services like Google Stadia could spread Obra Dinn’s reach far beyond PCs and onto all tablets, phones and TV sets, but exactly how the game’s 1-bit monochromatic visuals will translate to a streaming platform is unclear.
‘It’s funny, Obra Dinn is in a slightly strange spot because it’s 1-bit and very high contrast, low resolution, and actually compressing and coding that into video is a little tough. It doesn’t look that good on YouTube videos for example.
‘So for something like Stadia when it’s all streaming technology, you think about, ‘Okay my game is going to look sh*t if I stream it.’ So it’s an interesting technical problem.’
The one area he’s particularly keen to explore is virtual reality, teasing that it could be a possible avenue for his next game.
‘I’m pretty bullish on VR,’ Lucas said. ‘I’m interested into looking at VR at some point, but I haven’t spent any time on it now.
‘It’s just one of those things in the back of my mind that seems interesting.’
Considering his track record so far with moral dilemmas and striking visuals, any reality Lucas concocts will surely be worth visiting.
Return Of The Obra Dinn is available on PC and Mac now.
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