Why you should love Lucas Pope.
and play all of his games, right now.
Welcome everyone to the latest issue of Lukather’s Trove. A warm welcome to new subscribers, as of today you will find a new section that will briefly present the most important indie developers or those who have in some way left their mark on the gaming industry and market and, consequently, on gamers.
Let's start with Lucas Pope, one of my favourite if not my favourite designer, developer, and artist (he does everything himself :D).
Lucas Pope is a highly acclaimed game developer and designer who has garnered critical and commercial success with his unique and innovative games.
He began his career as a programmer at Naughty Dog, working on the Uncharted series. In 2010, he moved to Japan with his wife Keiko Ishizaka, also a game designer.
He first came to prominence in the gaming world with his hit game "Papers, Please," released in 2013. The game puts players in the role of a border checkpoint officer in a dystopian world, where they must make difficult decisions about who to let in or out of their country, all while dealing with corrupt officials, terrorists, and emotional turmoil. The game received numerous awards, including the prestigious Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival.
I think the graphics in Papers, Please are very effective in creating a dark and oppressive atmosphere. The game uses a pixel art style with dull, dark colours reminiscent of old computer games. The graphics help to convey the sense of monotony and frustration of the protagonist's work, but also highlight the details and differences between the different papers and characters.
Following the success of "Papers, Please," Pope went on to create "Return of the Obra Dinn," a puzzle-adventure game released in 2018 that received widespread critical acclaim for its innovative gameplay mechanics and unique visual style.
In the game, players take on the role of an insurance adjuster in the early 1800s who is tasked with investigating the disappearance of the merchant ship Obra Dinn. The ship was believed to be lost at sea, but it mysteriously reappears with all its crew members missing. Players are given a magical pocket watch that allows them to see the moment of each crew member's death and must use this information to determine the cause of their demise and the identity of each crew member.
What sets "Return of the Obra Dinn" apart from other games is its distinctive black-and-white visual style, inspired by classic Macintosh computer games. The game's graphics are rendered in a low-resolution, monochrome style, which adds to the game's eerie and atmospheric mood. The audio design, which includes creaking wood, groaning metal, and other sound effects, also adds to the immersive and haunting atmosphere of the game.
Another unique aspect of the game is its non-linear narrative structure. Players are given the freedom to explore the ship and its surroundings at their own pace, uncovering clues and piecing together the story of the Obra Dinn and its crew. The game's puzzles are challenging and require careful observation and deduction, as players must use the information they gather to make connections and solve the mystery.
One of the reasons for Pope's success is his ability to create games that are not only entertaining but also thought-provoking and emotionally engaging. Pope draws inspiration from a variety of genres and media, including Agatha Christie novels, David Fincher films and graphic adventure games and his games tackle complex themes and issues, from immigration to colonialism, and challenge players to think about their own beliefs and values.
Mars After Midnight is the new game by Lucas Pope that will be available exclusively on the Playdate console. The game is set on Mars, where the player controls a facial scanner that must identify the various alien visitors that arrive at his station12. The game is divided into four phases: preparation, reception, assistance and evaluation.
In addition to his game development work, Pope has also been a strong advocate for the indie game development community, often sharing his insights and experiences with other developers and offering advice and support. Check his latest devlog about Mars After Midnight where Lucas described how he got the idea for the game and how he iterate on that idea to find out the best gameplay loop for the enjoyment of the players.
Releases and news.
Mortal Sin - is an intense action-horror roguelike where you must hack and slash your way through an endless nightmare.
Vernal Edge - a 2D action-packed Metroidvania featuring an intense combat system, tight platforming sequences and a powerful story of rivalry, revenge and growth.
Barotrauma - After being in EA for years, Barotrauma reached the 1.0 version. Is a 2D co-op submarine simulator – in space, with survival horror and RPG elements. Steer your submarine, complete missions, fight monsters, fix leaks, operate machinery, man the guns and craft items, and stay alert.
Sun Haven - is a multiplayer fantasy farming sim with dragons, magic, a main questline, RPG-style skill progression, and even a final boss.
The Last Spell - is a tactical RPG with rogue-lite elements in which you have to defend a city against hordes of deadly enemies.
Ghostwire: Tokio will be on Game Pass on April 12th with a new major update that will bring new missions, a whole new roguelike mode, additional areas and much more.
There is a lot of discussion around the age-old issue of credit transparency within video games. This article from Gameindustry attempts to clarify the situation and tries to suggest a solution.
This is the end, beautiful friend(s), the end… of this issue. If you like or don’t like it, please share your comments. It took me from 4 to 6 hours a week to produce it and it would be immensely helpful if you could comment on how to improve.
That said, until next time!