Oct 202011
 
Just Add Water will be present at GameCity6 in Nottingham, UK, next week to demonstrate and talk about the work they’ve put in to Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD. Members of the public will also be able to play the remastered game for the very first time. At 10pm BST on Thursday 27 October, Stewart Gilray will talk to and answer questions from an audience at Antenna, Beck Street. The following day, from 10am to 5pm, members of the public will be able to play Stranger’s Wrath HD on Old Market Square. Participation in both events is free. GameCity has a long history of cooperation with Oddworld. Lorne Lanning delivered the keynote speech at the inaugural GameCity in 2006, which included his announcing Citizen Siege, and designed the label for GameCity 3’s limited edition brew, Fine Ale Fantasy. Stewart more recently spoke to the audience at GameCityNights Season 2 Episode 4, while Lorne was interviewed by Iain Simons via Skype from Oddworld HQ in Berkeley, CA.
Oct 182011
 
Stewart Gilray appeared as a guest on episode 237 of the PSNation podcast, posted last Thursday. The podcast covered a wide variety of topics, with discussions several times turning to Just Add Water’s current and future projects. Continue reading »
Oct 012011
 
Following on from yesterday’s hands-on Stranger’s Wrath HD preview, The GameFreak Blog today posted an exclusive interview with Stewart Gilray, CEO of Just Add Water. The interview covers a huge array of Oddworld-related topics, ranging from discussion of the work being done on the Stranger’s Wrath HD remake to speculation on the future of the franchise and the Oddworld universe. The first section of the interview covers the work done on Stranger’s Wrath HD. Gilray details some of the changes made, including changing the resolution and the HUD, the processing power of an Xbox compared to modern gaming platforms, and the ultimate goal of getting the game running at a constant 60 frames per second. He also notes that there are very few bugs left to fix, and that the game “should be done in 3 weeks”, at which point the team will move onto development for Abe HD. Another point of interest is when Gilray describes his relationship with Lorne and Sherry. “I spent 3-4 days with them last year at their house in Berkeley and I came away from that with the feeling that, well, that they felt, knew, the game and the brand were in the right hands,” he says.He then goes on to discuss possible future projects, mentioning that both himself and Lanning want to see the Quintology finished, and that Squeak has been discussed. Overall, it seems as though the relationship between JAW and Oddworld is looking good. The discussion briefly touches on Abe HD, with Gilray mentioning how the source material will be respected:
we’re not 100% what we’re going to be doing with it yet, all we done know is that we are starting from scratch, in some respects, We’re not just taking Oddysee and making it higher res, the backdrops are now going to be full 3D environments, but the gameplay is still going to be 100% 2-dimensional. It’s going to be the game that Abe was originally, same sound, it’s going to look the same but more. So like, the environments will be living, not just like in the old games where you had an occasional background animation of a barrel going by or whatever.
A question about the negotiations with Microsoft reveals two things: firstly, that the main barrier appears to be Microsoft being unwilling to “commit” to a deal; and secondly, that the JAW team will happily publish on any gaming platforms: “Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Vita….and maybe Mac, other platforms” is the tentative line-up given for Abe HD. Speaking of future projects:
  • The Stranger engine will be reworked into a multiplatform game engine, and will possibly be used “to do one or two different games which we have not talked about yet in the Oddworld universe”.
  • Hand of Odd is briefly discussed, with Gilray dropping some clues that the game’s original design documents are being adapted to work in a modern gaming industry; differences in input devices is highlighted as a major consideration.
The interview is rounded off with Ferrol and Gilray talking about the Oddworld universe as a whole, particularly the sheer size of the world Oddworld Inhabitants have created and the potential scope of future stories set in that world.
SG- Yes. There’s a timeline of Oddworld document that covers around 2-3 thousand years of Oddworld time, and the games so far have covered two, maybe three hundred years, so you know, there’s around two and a half thousand years left to explore… GFB- Kind of like the Old Republic and then the Star Wars films, Middle earth…. SG- Yeah, you know…you play Strangers Wrath and you get to later on in the game, the Mungo Valley area, and there are roads there that have been demolished…where did they come from? All that kind of stuff, so you have to think, the Strangers Wrath version of Oddworld is like the second age effectively, in some respects. And again, Oddworld is an entire planet. The games so far have been based in two different parts of one continent of that planet, so there are other continents on Oddworld, other civilisations and stuff, there is stuff designed and written down, other characters created I mean, we found a document the other day that had, they aimed to have 300 different species. When Strangers Wrath came out they had a list of forty five species, Hand of Odd was ninety five species, so we have all of these species, well, not all of them, but most already designed and written. Yeah, you have Slogs, Slegs, Sligs, Baby slogs, so that’s four species there straight off. It’s all there! It’s this massive wonderful universe to work within. Some might say it doesn’t leave a lot of room to be creative, but I say that it’s easier to start off with a chessboard and design new pieces, than to start off with a blank board and have to design a game from the start. So yes, we have a whole universe that we get to play in.
If your appetite for Oddworld news isn’t fully satiated by these highlights, you can read the full interview over on The GameFreak Blog.
Sep 292011
 
Tony Ferrol, owner and writer of The GameFreak Blog, today published his world-exclusive account of his hands-on preview of the Stranger’s Wrath HD remake. Ferrol was invited to visit to the offices of Just Add Water last Friday, where he was given the opportunity to play the beta build of the game. Overall, it sounds like Ferrol came away extremely impressed:
So basically guys, the game is great. Graphically it looks completely gorgeous, with amazing characters and environments, it sounds brilliant too (all the original sound samples and effects have been quadrupled in quality) and all in all Stewart and everyone at JAW has taken a fan favourite and improved it in almost every single way. I for one, cannot wait for it to be released, and i’m sure, no…I GUARANTEE that if you’re a fan of Stranger’s Wrath and the Oddworld series in general you’ll be more than happy that the series is in the hands of everybody at Just Add Water.
Also included alongside the article are a few new screenshots of in-game footage taken from the Xplosives McGee area of the game. Interestingly, at the end of the article Ferrol teases that he will be publishing an interview with Stewart Gilray tomorrow, in which “some EXCLUSIVE NEWS you won’t have heard ANYWHERE ELSE” will be revealed. You can read Ferrol’s full preview here.
Sep 062011
 
More good news for fans of Stranger’s Wrath—Just Add Water has announced via a Twitter post that the coming weeks will see Stranger’s Wrath content (such as avatars) being released on the PlayStation Store. The developer has also tweeted two photos of a PlayStation 3 home screen (first photo, second photo), showing what appears to be a Stranger-themed wallpaper or XMB theme. The two photos show the same scene—the background of the game’s main menu, the HD reworking of which was recently revealed—but with Stranger—but notably features differences in Stranger’s pose, suggesting that the theme will be animated in the same way as the original menu version.
Sep 032011
 
Just Add Water is in the process of making a trailer to promote the new Stranger’s Wrath HD update. In a series of Twitter posts, the games developer has announced that they have captured the raw data for the trailer, and are now in the process of editing that data down to a more manageable level. A tweet by Stewart Gilray seems to confirm that the trailer will be made up of ingame footage, not pre-rendered CGI. With the game previously being announced as close to Beta, the announcement of a new trailer may signify that the game is close to release, although at this point nothing has been confirmed.
Aug 292011
 
Just Add Water has been interviewed by gaming website GotGame. Speaking on behalf of the Yorkshire games developer, CEO Stewart Gilray discussed Gravity Crash, and divulged some information on the Stranger’s Wrath HD remake. Of note is that, while there is still no definite release date, JAW does have a planned deadline, and are close to moving into Beta testing:
Right now we’re just finishing up various PS3 specific elements, then we’ll be at Beta. During Beta we will be optimizing the heck out of the game. Currently it’s running at 60fps 90% of the time, we want to ensure that it’s 60fps ALL of the time. As to what can players expect… It IS the same game it was in 2005, we’ve just polished it, lots more polys, much more detailed textures. We’ve doubled resolutions most of the textures in the game, in some cases even more. We’ve pushed out the view distance in some places just to give a much better view of the vistas in the game.
Also, interviewed last week was Michael Taylor, a freelance audio composer and editor currently working with JAW on the Stranger’s Wrath and Munch’s Oddysee HD updates. In the interview with Nerd Vice, Taylor discussed his past experiences in the games industry (where he has previously worked on various Xbox Indie and iOS games), and talked about his work on the Oddworld HD remakes. His work includes converting and recreating the original audio files to the best possible quality (Taylor previously discussed his work on Stranger’s Wrath in a Dev Diary posted on JAW’s website). Taylor also discussed recording some previously lacking female dialogue, the lack of which was brought to the attention of Stewart Gilray by fans; and mentioned that his work was approved by Michael Bross, the original composer for Munch’s Oddysee and Stranger’s Wrath.
Aug 282011
 
In a recent article for GamesIndustry.biz, Just Add Water have released some new in-game screenshots of Stranger’s Wrath HD. The new images are juxtaposed with screenshots of the same scenes running on the original Xbox version of the game, to highlight the graphical upgrades. Oddworld Forums user lloyd has kindly put together a minisite where you can directly compare old and new by rolling over the images. This comparison highlights the larger field of view, higher resolution textures and higher poly-count character models. Three more screenshots can be found on Oddworld Inhabitants’ Facebook page, including an updated version of the game’s main menu background. Some posts from JAW team members on the Oddworld Forums elaborate on the changes made; tda confirms that all of the new character models have been built from scratch (with the exception of a small handful remade from the models used for pre-rendered cutscenes), while Glitch explains the process of ensuring the level of improvement is consistent throughout the game.
Aug 282011
 
Oddworld Inhabitants have released a series of images on their Facebook page showcasing the graphical improvements made to characters in the Munch’s Oddysee HD update, including Abe, Scrabs and Paramites. An interesting detail is that Abe now sports his original four fingers, rather than the three he has had since Abe’s Exoddus.

Higher resolution images of the new Abe, Scrab and Paramite models have also been posted on the blog of Tom Bramall, one of JAW’s 3D artists.

Jun 072011
 
Just Add Water has announced that three Oddworld titles will be released on the PlayStation Vita, the successor to the PlayStation Portable formerly known as the Next Generation Portable (or NGP). Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath will be released on the PSVita this holiday season. The developer tweeted and posted on Facebook immediately after Sony’s press conference at E3, which demonstrated the PSVita and its ability to synchronize save games between it and the PS3, allowing players to continue their progress on either device. This feature will be enabled for both Oddworld titles.
Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath coming to PS Vita this holiday season, with cross platform cloud saves #E3
The developer also confirmed that Abe HD will appear on Vita in the future. What’s more, since Vita is backward compatible with downloadable PSP games, it will also play Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exoddus. Discuss this story on the Oddworld Forums. Update: Speaking to Eurogamer, Stewart Gilray added that these ports will make use of Vita’s touchscreen.
“In a way that allows the player to play the same game as a full console title or as a handheld title. It’s also allowed us to improve on the design in terms of being able to affect things directly.” Elaborating on this, he added as an example: “Abe can pickup a fellow Mudokon by simply tapping the screen, and other gesture-based input”.