By now you’ll have eagerly lapped up all the information from the Sony PlayStation announcement. You’ll have seen our name in the list of confirmed developers. We’re delighted to finally be able to tell you that JAW are developing for the Sony PlayStation 4. We can’t talk about what we’re working on just yet. Just be assured it’ll be worth the wait.
It’s entirely possible that the mystery project has nothing to do with Oddworld — the studio has hinted that they have some non-Oddworld plans in the works in the past — but with the amount of Oddworld titles already announced, it’s a safe bet we’ll be seeing Abe and friends on the next generation of consoles.
The team over at Just Add Water have asked Oddworld fans an interesting question: “what would you like to see next?” Posted as a poll on official Oddworld Inhabitants blog, the question has a number of preset choices, including Abe’s Exoddus HD, The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klott, a Stranger’s Wrath sequel, Squeek’s Oddysee, and Munch’s Exoddus. Some of these titles will no doubt be recognized as previously shelved Oddworld projects, while others (like a Stranger follow-up) are new ideas, at least officially. The team are quick to stress that the poll won’t be the only factor that decides their next project, but it’s still interesting to see a games developer asking exactly what people want to see. As of this writing there are just over one and a half thousand votes, with Abe’s Exoddus HD leading with over 400 votes.
Oddworld Inhabitants and Just Add Water finally revealed their new game to the world on September 30, during their live panel at Eurogamer Expo. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee: New ‘n’ Tasty (named by fans via a competition held by OWI) was officially announced after the team showed off a short video demonstrating pre-alpha gameplay footage. Stewart Gilray delivered the announcement of the game, revealing its official title and detailing some of the changes made (and what will be left alone). New ‘n’ Tasty has been given a tentative release date of Autumn 2013 and initial release platforms of PlayStation 3, PSVita, PC and Xbox Live Arcade, with other platforms being considered as possibilities. The full panel lasted around 37 minutes, with Lorne Lanning taking center-stage to discuss why he started Oddworld, what Oddworld means and what the Oddworld team plans to do in the future – including approaching the games industry from the perspective of a small independent studio and micropublisher. After the announcement of New ‘n’ Tasty, a short Q&A session was held before the end of the panel. After the panel came MudoCon, Oddworld’s very own fan meetup. Fans who attended Eurogamer Expo had the opportunity to meet Lorne Lanning, Stewart Gilray and other members of the JAW team (including Oddworld Library’s own Wil, pictured here with his #1 fan). Attendees were also given limited edition minicards, signed by Lorne with links to exclusive downloads. You can read the full overview over on the Oddworld.com blog.
Earlier today game developer Just Add Water posted the first screenshot of the upcoming game Abe HD to their Twitter account. The screenshot, which you can see below, appears to feature an area which appeared very early in the original Abe’s Oddysee – the second “screen” that players visited in RuptureFarms, in fact. Just like in the original area there is a Directory (which were used as maps in the original game) and a ledge. Abe himself also appears in the screenshot. It appears that in this game Abe will be realistically rendered and colored, rather than having his skin tone simplified outside cutscenes (as happened in Oddysee and Exoddus).
The first screenshot of Abe HD (click for full size).
Stewart Gilray of Just Add Water has been discussing his team’s work on the Oddworld series in an article posted on IGN today.
The article focuses on two things: firstly, the issues surrounding the PC port of Stranger’s Wrath from last December, and its subsequent HD re-release. According to the article, the backlash from the initial PC port’s issues caused Gilray no small amount of worry:
“Rightfully so, we had our arses ripped a new one,” Gilray says. It got under his skin. He didn’t sleep for two weeks.
“I was terrified I’d killed Oddworld.”
The second part reiterates some of the previously-discussed difficulties the JAW team has had with getting the game published on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, including the limitations of the Xbox Live Arcade platform and the requirements of Games on Demand.
A teaser website for Oddworld: Hand of Odd has been put online. According to the page footer, the website was created by Just Add Water. A Whois search confirms that the domain name was registered by someone working at JAW.
The page is currently light on content, featuring only the Hand of Odd logo and some copyright information.
The official Oddworld Inhabitants Facebook page continues to be a great source of Oddworld content, with photographs of two different games running on the PlayStation Vita having been posted last week.
The first photo shows a rather thrilling gameplay scene from Stranger’s Wrath. Unfortunately, the lack of detail prevents any in-depth analysis.
The second image is a little more interesting, as it doubles as the first look at Munch’s Oddysee HD running in real time. The improved textures and higher-detail Abe model can be seen despite the low image resolution, and changes have been made to in-game signs to display controller buttons for the PlayStation.
The photographs were taken around the same time as the games were previewed on the Just Add Water office livestream. It appears that the team are making good progress on porting the games to the handheld platform.
In a press release posted today, Just Add Water Ltd have announced that they have licensed the Bitsquid technology and game engine to use in future Oddworld titles, including Abe’s Oddysee HD.
The choice to use Bitsquid tech was discussed in the press release:
The Bitsquid engine is designed to have some of the same core functionality and attributes, while being more lightweight and functional for digital download game development.
“The ability to scale and iterate quickly without sacrificing quality is a key component to creating quality games that live up to the Oddworld name and reputation,” said Stewart Gilray, CEO of Just Add Water. “After a good deal of shopping around, we found the Bitsquid engine to have the perfect combination of power and flexibility for our needs.”
The Bitsquid engine is described as “a new high-end game engine, built from the ground up to focus on excellent multicore performance, cache friendly data layouts and advanced rendering techniques.”
There’s a new interview with Stewart Gilray, CEO of Just Add Water, by Christian Donlan at HookShootInc.com
He talks about 3D and Move support for Stranger HD, continuing struggles with the Xbox port, and what’s next for Munch’s Oddysee HD.
Read about it here.
In an interview with the website Near Vita, Stewart Gilray has revealed the first details of Stranger’s Wrath on the PlayStation Vita.
The handheld version of the game will make use of the Vita’s back touch panel, may feature exclusive achievements and will possibly run at 30 frames per second (lower than the 60fps console version).
Munch’s Oddysee for Vita was also mentioned briefly, with Gilray saying that touch controls were being implemented in a similar way to Stranger.