Nov 082013
 
Lorne Lanning’s full talk at DICE Europe 2013 titled “Properties for the Apocalypse” has just been posted online.
In this massive speech, Lanning shares amongst many other things, his perspectives on the world while growing up, how George Lucas, Dr. Suess and Jim Henson inspired him, how developers have the ability to talk about controversial issues without disengaging their audience (Trojan Horse Pop), Oddworld’s recent comeback and how involvement with their audience will shape its future.

The full talk can be viewed on DICE’s youtube channel.
 Posted by at 2·01 pm
Nov 062013
 
As Oddworld Inhabitants announced on their website yesterday, the Oddboxx is now available on Playstation Network for countries in European territories. The Oddboxx (the collection of rereleased Oddworld games including Stranger’s Wrath HD and Munch’s Oddysee HD) is priced at £15.99 GBP or €19.99 EUR.
However, the developer notes that US Playstation owners will not be able to buy the bundle, at least for the time being. According to the blogpost, Oddworld Inhabitants cannot release the games as a set because they are not listed as a publisher for two of the games in the US. As to whether they will be able to work around the problem? “We’ll have to see” is all they can say for now.
UPDATE: A new post just went up on the Oddworld site which clarifies a few details about the Oddboxx, which we thought we’d outline here for your convenience:
  • The versions of Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exoddus included are playable on PS3 and PSVita.
  • Munch’s Oddysee HD included (PS3, no Vita version currently) has not yet been updated with multi-language support, so non-English-speaking customers will not be able to play it in their chosen language on release. A patch is currently in QA.
  • Stranger’s Wrath HD has been updated with Playstation Move and stereoscopic 3D support, as well as taking up less hard drive space.
  • A bonus PSN avatar is also included as part of the bundle.
The developer has also re-clarified its stance on a US version, sounding a little more optimistic:
Sadly, a little red tape is currently holding us back just now from pushing the pack out to the United States, but we’re hoping to overcome that as soon as we’re able.
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
Jun 272013
 
Just Add Water have penned an open letter to Hideo Kojima expressing their interest in working on a remake of the original Metal Gear Solid game.
The letter comes about from a recent interview in which Kojima was asked about working on a remake using Kojima Productions’ new Fox Engine (which powers the upcoming Metal gear Solid 5). Although Kojima’s comments were mistranslated (Kojima is not actively looking for a developer), he has since stated that he is keen on the idea.
JAW’s open letter highlights their work with the Oddworld IP, especially their work on the upcoming New ‘n’ Tasty, as proof that they would be a good fit for the project. We’ll be looking out for Kojima’s response.

UPDATE: JAW have since removed the letter from their website. Stewart Gilray took to Twitter to clarify the studio did not intend for the letter to be considered as a proposal to work on the MGS series.
Jun 112013
 
The day before the New ‘n’ Tasty E3 announcements started rolling in, Lorne Lanning couldn’t resist dropping a teaser for another Oddworld project: Stranger’s Wrath will be coming to mobile phones.
Lanning showed an early version of the game running on an iPhone to TheSixthAxis.com, who commented that it was unfinished but “very playable”. The mobile port uses the original Xbox assets, but some assets from the HD version may make their way into the final version. Although the version demoed was running on an iPhone, Lanning also mentioned Android support, and that controller pairing should also be possible.
The port is being handled by Square One Games, as the Just Add Water team currently have their hands full with other projects.
Encouragingly, the demo was originally menat to be “off-the-record”, but the team are so proud of the project as it stands that they were willing to allow TheSixthAxis to publish the news.