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 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.
Apr 292011
 
Speaking to Eurogamer, Stewart Gilray has mentioned that Abe HD is due to start production in August—once it’s decided what Abe HD will actually be. Despite Lorne Lanning’s original claim that Abe’s Oddysee would be remade in 2.5D—which Gilray confirmed at GameCityNights was not meant to be revealed until E3—Abe HD might actually be a remake of Abe’s Exoddus, a new adventure entirely, or a blend of the above. Gilray told Eurogamer, ‘If we do a brand new game it’s going to be two years away. If we do a remake it’s going to be a year away.’
Apr 292011
 
Stewart Gilray made a number of project announcements at Season 2, Episode 4 of GameCityNights last night, where he spoke about his history in the industry and his thoughts on formal videogame education and qualifications. Lorne Lanning spoke to attendees through the medium of Skype, summarizing the last few years of Oddworld and answering questions from the audience. OddBlog was present for the whole evening, which you can relive through its live tweeting. Gilray made four main announcements.
  1. Because of the time spent fixing bugs present in the Oddboxx’s original release, the release of Stranger’s Wrath HD has been pushed back until the summer. A small number of higher-resolution characters were showcased, but the delay has allowed Just Add Water to include additional features, such as support for PlayStation Move, 3DTV and automatic uploading of gameplay recordings to YouTube. A mysterious ‘Feature X’ was assured, although its reveal had to be censored last-minute. It is ten letters long, starting and ending with ‘s’. In addition, the game’s menus and HUD have been redesigned to more closely match Lorne’s original sketches for them.

  2. Munch’s Oddysee is also being given a HD treatment, with a number of higher-definition characters showcased at GameCityNights. Set to hit the PlayStation Network in October or November this year, this rerelease of MO will bring all four Oddworld titles to simultaneous availability on consoles, specifically the PlayStation 3. That being the case…

  3. The Oddboxx will be coming out on the PlayStation Network. Just like the PC equivalent, it will feature all four Oddworld games, including the HD remasters of Stranger’s Wrath and Munch’s Oddysee, at the same low price!

  4. Perhaps the most exciting announcement is the reveal of Oddworld: The Hand of Odd as a new title for release on platforms to be determined, although Eurogamer reports they are looking at iPad, Android tablets, Facebook, PC and Mac.

    Wielding a large bound copy of the game’s original design documentation (circa 1998), Gilray explained that the modern gaming landscape has encouraged them to imagine Hand of Odd less as a Command & Conquer-style Real-Time Strategy and more like Zynga’s brand of social games.

OddBlog will be publishing its own interview with Stewart Gilray in the coming days, to follow up on last night’s announcements and chase all the latest news from the re-emerging field of Oddworld videogame development.
Apr 142011
 
GameCity has today announced details of the next GameCityNights, the monthly after-dark exploration into videogames culture. Taking place in Nottingham on 28 April 2011, Season 2 Episode 4 will host Lorne Lanning and Stewart Gilray as they talk about bringing Oddworld back and developing Stranger’s Wrath HD. Just Add Water has confirmed on Twitter they will also be announcing a new Oddworld title. Widely regarded as the best-looking game to grace the Xbox, fans of Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath can rejoice that the long overdue update is complete and will be unveiled at Episode 4 of GameCityNights by Stewart Gilray, Managing Director of Just Add Water, the team responsible for reinvigorating the latest Oddworld title. From 6pm, Gilray will deliver this month’s Frontend section, delving into the life of a studio head, from his early beginnings to the daily challenge of leading a team of talented developers, and reassuring a vociferous fan base their beloved franchise is in safe hands. The main event of the evening follows at 8pm as Gilray presents the moment fans have been waiting more than six years for: Stranger’s Wrath with updated and remastered HD visuals and audio. Charting the process of adding shiny bells and whistles to an already brilliant looking game, fans will see the progression from start to finish. In a distinctly Orwellian moment, Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning will be the eye-in-the-sky as he casts a glance over his original creation as this month’s ‘From the Desk of’ guest, as well as discussing the series’ past, present and future. GameCity Director Iain Simons said, “Lorne headlined the first ever GameCity festival back in 2006, so it’s great to be welcoming him back. We look forward to hearing his views on the updated Stranger, learning about the weather in Berkeley and sharing in his anticipation of the forthcoming Union of Kate Middleton and Prince William, staunch royalist that he is.” As ever, GameCityNights will also feature the very best indie developers showcasing their work alongside the latest AAA titles, comedian Paul Butler’s Augmented Vision, A Winner Is You prize competition with generous contributions from Capcom and Square Enix, an impassioned My Game appearance and a well-stocked bar to round out the night. GameCityNights take place every month at Antenna in Nottingham, Beck Street, NG1 1EQ. Entry is strictly 18+ only, tickets £5 in advance and for students, £6 on the door for the general public. Due to limited capacity, pre-booking via GameCityNights’ website is advised. There is a Facebook Event. OddBlog will be present on the evening to cover information and happening as they develop. We will also be bringing you an exclusive interview with Stewart Gilray following the event.
Feb 282011
 
Stewart Gilray, CEO of Just Add Water recently announced that they were planning to release four projects this year. Stranger’s Warth‘s remastering is confirmed to be one of those four projects. On the other hand, Abe’s Oddysee HD isn’t one of those projects as JAW is aiming for a 2012 release. Shortly thereafter Stewart shared two pictures of Abe Speak (1 & 2) and revealed it is going to be a free app for the iOS. No mention of an Android version yet or when it will be released.