PC Gamer’s Steven T. Wright interviews Lucas Pope on the process of creating Return of the Obra Dinn:
“When you’re developing a game as one person, you have a lot of advantages and a lot of disadvantages,” he says. “One of the advantages is that you can afford to make a game for two years without even really knowing what it is, which is exactly what I did. One of the disadvantages is that you have to do something different visually to stand out. This means I have to solve all sorts of problems that nobody else has solved, at least recently. But I think that can be fun in its own right.”
The game’s development seems to have been more of a process of discovery and improvisation than one of decisive creativity. That explains a lot.