Mar 252014
 
In an interview with VG247, Lorne Lanning declared that the upcoming New ‘n’ Tasty is “not a HD remake”, denouncing the term “HD remake” as it is currently used in the games industry on the grounds that it is usually used to describe older games being ported over and adjusted to work on new platforms.
In the interview, Lanning also had some harsh words for the industry’s publisher-developer system:
“Fuck that business. I don’t want to play with that business, because it was a losing business,” he lamented. “I just don’t want to go back and play the old [publisher] game. I’d rather not make games than go fucking be a slave for public companies who care more about their shareholders than they do about their customers.
The interview also covers Oddworld Inhabitants’ relationship with Sony; the studio’s willingness to ask fans what game they would like to see made; and the resurgence in popularity of 2D platformers.
Jan 312014
 
Oddworld Inhabitants are running a competition for fans to (once again) name a part of the upcoming Abe’s Oddysee remake.
The competition, which was posted on the official Oddworld site, asks fans to submit names for some of the Trophies that will appear in the game.
The trophies to be named are:
  • Kill a Boombat with a rock
  • Escape from RuptureFarms without Abe being spotted by any Slig
  • Have Abe die in 15 unique ways
  • Kill Sligs in 15 unique ways
  • Finish the game with the Good Ending faster than our best developer time
The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 5th February, and all entries are to be submitted by email (alf@oddworld.com). Oddworld staff will then pick five finalists for each Trophy from the submissions, and the winner will be voted by fans.

Prizes

In addition to their submission being used in the game, winners will also have their names featured in the game credits and will also be given a download code for a copy of New ‘n’ Tasty on the PlayStation platform of their choice. Runners-up will receive a download code for the Oddboxx.
Dec 152013
 
Oddworld Inhabitants have begun posting Developer Roundtables over on their official blog, where questions asked by fans are tackled by some of the developers working on the game. So far two Developer Roundtables have been posted to the site.
The first Roundtable focused on the potential inclusion of a map editor and multiplayer modes; with producer Craig Spiers, game designer Matt Glanville and environment artist Brett Lewis discussing the topic. While the group were immediately able to confirm that the original turn-based co-op multiplayer from Abe’s Oddysee would be returning (noting it was a favored game mode for parents playing with their children), the group’s discussion about alternative multiplayer modes concluded that while the team had some ideas, the amount of work required in redesigning levels to accommodate two simultaneous players means it wasn’t really feasible to do. Similarly, while the group discussed the possibility of including a map editor in the game, their limited time and budget wouldn’t allow them to develop something satisfactory.
The second Roundtable focused on the game’s art assets; with animator Maya Oruba, environment artist Colin Stewart and character artist Tom Bramall talking about their areas of expertise. The trio discussed the tools used to build the game’s art assets, their specific workflows, and how many of the assets they use are pulled from previous Oddworld games – the model used for Abe, for example, is a retouched version of the model used in the original Abe’s Oddysee’s pre-rendered cutscenes.
Oct 222013
 

Edge published an article in their new series “Lost” covering the inception and ultimate halt of two Oddworld Inhabitants projects that never made it into production: Hand of Odd and Citizen Siege.
“The Hand of Odd was aiming to have an industrial class that followed the prevailing RTS paradigm, but while competing against an opposition indigenous class that harnessed its power not from the depletion of the environment, but from nurturing its growth, then harnessing its life force as a means to power an offense/defense system. Metaphorically speaking, a classic war zone that allows a Rupert Sheldrake vs Richard Dawkins war of ideologies.”

“Citizen Siege was based in a near future where the policies of recent White House administrations continued onward unabated; ultimately landing us in a dark totalitarian landscape where people have been reduced to pure commodity. In this world, your healthy tissue is used as collateral against financial debt, and if you sink low enough, you can be ‘re-possessed’ piece by piece.”

Read the full article and look at some new never-before seen concept art for both properties at Edge-Online.
Oct 212013
 
In a recent interview with Polygon, Lorne Lanning talked about the obstacles larger game developers face when striving to inject their games with more meaningful content, who are prohibited by the current market push towards big budgeted games.
Marketing and sales departments that are focused on sizable returns for their huge product investments are less concerned with meaning and more concerned with sales results. So the least likely place we should expect to see more subtly influential, deeper content is from those products with the highest budgets and greatest focus on ‘must have massive audience consumption results.’
“When content is deeper and more meaningful, then you can still create highly digestible and widely consumable entertainment products. Or, you can make Britney Spears albums. The games industry has more Britney Spears-class content than Pink Floyd. We just always aimed to deliver more of the later.
Polygon

This analogy was echoed from earlier last month in DICE 2013 London, during Lanning’s presentation “Properties for the Apocalypse”.
Aug 272013
 
Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning is set to host a keynote at next month’s DICE Europe 2013 summit. The event, hosted in London from 24 – 25 September, features a lineup of various big names in the gaming industry, including 22 Cans’ Peter Molyneux, EA Chief Creative Director Richard Hilleman, and Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli.
Lanning’s keynote, titled “Properties for the Apocalypse”, is described on the Oddworld.com blog as:
[taking] attendees on a journey across the macro intent of his studios historic design ambitions, their experiments in resonating with an increasingly disillusioned audience, why it’s a blessing that retail is dying, how increasingly fractured leisure time is changing the studios design focus, and why self-published indies have faith in embracing a new messiah model
The blogpost also mentions that the event will be streamed and will also be recorded, so don’t panic if you won’t be in London next month.
Jul 262013
 
Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat managed to grab a hold of Lorne Lanning at Siggraph 2013 for an interview:
Why Lorne Lanning went from triple-A games to indie — and loudly loves it

Topics covered include Lorne’s recent comments on Xbox One, future plans for Oddworld, larger involvement with the fan community, crowdfunding and much more.
Jul 172013
 
GameSpeak was always a major part of the original Abe’s Oddysee, and it seems that New ‘n’ Tasty will only up the ante. In a post on the Oddworld.com blog, Oddworld Inhabitants have asked for fans to send in their audio recordings of Mudokon GameSpeak dialogue for a chance to have their voice included in the upcoming Oddysee remake.
The studio are asking for very specific set of lines:
  • Hello / Hi
  • OK
  • Laughing
  • Giggling
  • Angry hissing
  • Pain grunts (oof, ow, eugh, etc) x5
  • Death screams x3
  • Bonus points for providing some sound effects for the wildlife of Mudos (birds, Scrabs, Elums, etc.)
The requirements for the audio files are at they must be 24bit/96kHz WAV format files, and they must be made available to download on SoundCloud and shared with the Oddworld Inhabitants SoundCloud account. The studio notes that there is no guarantee they will use submissions, but any that do make it in will have their names included in the game’s credits.
The deadline to get your audio in is Friday 26th July, which gives you just over a week to work with as of this writing.
Jul 152013
 

Lorne Lanning appeared at a Game Design Panel hosted by the San Francisco Academy of Art University back in 2010. A fully recorded video of the panel was uploaded at their website earlier this year and can be seen here: https://speakers.academyart.edu/content/guest-speakers/game-design/first-annual-game-design-panel.html

The panel was aimed towards students planning to enter the game development field and in it Lorne discusses together with four other game developers, what game designers, in particular graphical artists, need to prepare themselves for as they enter the games industry.
 Posted by at 12·03 am
Apr 022013
 
At the start of February, The Electronic Playground invited Lorne Lanning to be a guest on their podcast Vic’s Basement to talk about Oddworld (Lorne’s section begins around the 4:25 mark).

When asked how he has endured in the industry for so long compared to other developers, Lanning explains that he first became interested in the industry because of the possibilities it held; and those possibilities still interest him even now.
 
At several points Lanning talks about how “Oddworld 2.0” (as he calls the franchise’s current incarnation) is approaching the market:
  • Lanning believes that digital shelf space is infinite, and is positive about digital distribution; sel-publishing means they don’t have to work with big publishers and make huge returns.
  • When designing games, Oddworld takes less of a direct “you are in the story” approach common to other games, and instead allows the player to sit back and watch the story while still allowing their influence to be felt.
  • Lanning talks about wanting to engage with audience more directly, saying he wants to “make our audience feel heard” and that Oddworld listens to its fans
  • There has been no advertising for digital rereleases, instead relying on guerrilla marketing and pre-existing brand visibility
Lanning also rides motorcycles, apparently. Interesting.