Return of the Obra Dinn creator Lucas Pope reveals new playdate title


Panic’s Playdate Handheld held a big party today, updated the video, showed off the slate of the first game, and revealed the price / booking date. One of the most exciting announcements was the news that Lucas Pope, a highly regarded creator of Papers Please and Return of the Obra Dinn, is creating a new game specifically for bite-sized handhelds.

In the video, Pope showed off a short piece of the game called Mars After Midnight. He described the game as “less death and more laughter” and wanted kids to enjoy it. I am. The gameplay scene is set up in the Cyclopes Rage Management Conference, with a sign promoting the session taped to a letter slot-style door.

When something knocks on the slot, Pope turns the Playdate analog crank to open the slot, revealing a curious monster on the other side. Every time you open or close the door, a new monster appears, showing off a stupid design. Meanwhile, Pope uses the directional pad to pan the camera in different directions. The pan has a hint of 3D depth because the camera rotates slightly rather than moving up, down, left, and right on a plane. You can see the demonstration starting at the 7:35 mark in the video below.

Pope states that Mars After Midnight is still in the early stages of development, so there is no release timeline to publish at this time. “It’s not a big deal and I don’t know what I’m doing, but let’s see what happens,” he said in a video. The game certainly looks attractive, and the crank mechanism may seem simple on the surface, but it’s a fun touch to sell Playdate’s unique features.

Check out the Return of the Obra Dinn and Papers, Please reviews to find out why Lucas Pope is looking forward to what’s next.


What do you think about Mars After Midnight? Interested in buying a play date? Let us know in the comments!