Apr 042014
 
“Competitive multiplayer” isn’t the first thing which springs to mind when one thinks about Oddworld. However if Eurogamer’s interview with Lorne Lanning is any proof, it seems that the original Oddworld Inhabitants team once had plans to make just that.
The game, given the working title “Stranger Arena”, was built on the same engine used for the original Xbox version of Stranger’s Wrath, and that the work on the game had begun shortly after production for Stranger’s Wrath had finished.
As well as the engine, Arena also incorporated many of the same gameplay elements as its predecessor, with players having the ability to sprint around at high speeds in third person or taking careful aim in first person. Lanning claims that this style of gameplay stands in contrast with the current multiplayer shooter conventions, and may have had a huge impact on the development of the genre:

“I was looking for more strategy in how I want to play the character. Like if I’m dealing with people who are obviously tougher than me, then I want to be more clever. I don’t want to be losing just because they’re faster on the draw,” he said of a game about reptilian cowboys who are fast on the draw.

“You’re not going to beat them by being clever. You’re going to beat them by playing as many hours as they do,” Lanning said of other shooters, name-checking Halo and Call of Duty. Instead, he wanted a more strategic method of play more akin to a real-time strategy game.”

Of course, in light of the poor retail reception of Strange’s Wrath, it doesn’t take much guessing to work out why the game never came to be. Nor would it surprise anyone familiar with Oddworld who Lanning believes is responsible – he accuses publisher EA of not marketing the game, resulting in poor sales which ultimately led to the closure of the original Inhabitants studio.
Feb 122014
 
The PlayStation 3 version of Stranger’s Wrath HD now has a free demo for prospective players to try, as detailed in a post on the Oddworld website. The demo is available in both Europe and North America.

The demo was released alongside a free update for American players, which patches in the following features (previously only available in the European version of the game):
  • Stereoscopic 3-D support (bundled into the main game)
  • PlayStation Move support (also now part of the main game)
  • All movies have been re-encoded in MP4 format (Install size reduced from 3.2GB to 1.6GB)
  • Various performance improvements
  • Leaderboards added, so you can challenge your Steef-mates
  • Brazilian Portuguese language added
To download the update players must first delete the current installation of the game and redownload it from the PlayStation Store.
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.
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.
Jun 102013
 
Official Xbox Magazine UK visited Just Add Water to talk about the studio’s plans for the future of Oddworld. Apparently action will be taking center-stage, as the studio is still deciding between making a Stranger’s Wrath sequel or The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klott for their next project after New ‘n’ Tasty.
The studio is already working on converting the Stranger engine into something modern and optimized for multiplatform use – no small task, considering the original engine was built only with the Xbox in mind and took no small effort to port to PC and PS3.
Strengthening the argument for Stranger 2 is Gilray’s revelation that a detailed premise for the hypothetical sequel has already been laid out by Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning:
Lorne and I spoke about it five, six months ago and nothing happened. And then in November we all said ‘what’s this Stranger’s Wrath 2 idea you had?’ and he sent me an email about a mile long and I’m like ‘oh my god!’ So I’ve read bits of it, he’s got a whole premise out for Stranger 2, and it is something we have considered doing.
As for new content, JAW are keeping quiet for now, but hint that Live Ammo types cut from the original game may make a comeback.
For Fangus, we know that the basic premise—cats vs dogs—has already been set out, and the team are already sitting on character models from the original Inhabitants’ work, but as with the Stranger engine anything made for Fangus was only ever built with the original Xbox in mind, so lot of work would still be needed to build the game.
JAW also shared a selection of concept art for Fangus, some of which has not been revealed before.
Some other tidbits of information revealed by the interview include the fact that Stranger’s Wrath was originally conceived as a sequel to Munch’s Oddysee, and in fact an early build of the game has Stranger and Munch occupying the same in-game environment; and apparently, there were also some early plans for “Abe karting” games, although the team at JAW isn’t too keen on taking these any further.
Mar 042013
 
You may have heard that Stranger’s Wrath Vita had a patch incoming. You may also have heard that the patch was delayed so that some issues could be fixed.
Well worry not, as Oddworld Inhabitants have now confirmed that the issues have been worked out and the patch is now live in Europe and North America. The patch adds an online leaderboard which allows players to compare completion times on bounties; alternative controls for those who dislike the Vita’s rear touchpad; and some bug fixes.
Mar 032013
 
Just Add Water have been featured in a Eurogamer article focusing on the development of PSVita games.
In the article programmer Peter Memmott and CEO Stewart Gilray get deep into the technical side of developing for Sony’s handheld console, discussing some of the challenges and constraints involved in getting Stranger’s Wrath HD working on the platform.
Be warned, the article features some tech-talk that may be a bit bewildering if you’re not particularly interested in game development.
Dec 132012
 
Oddworld Inhabitants have announced that they will be releasing two Oddworld titles on two platforms next week.
The first is Stranger’s Wrath HD, which will be coming to the PlayStation Vita, its third platform to date. The handheld port will be on sale starting 18 December (in North America; Europe on 19 December) for $14.99/€11.99/£9.99 on the PlayStation Network, and will feature some touch controls specifically designed for the Vita.
The second title is Munch’s Oddysee HD, which after a long time in development will finally be seeing a release on PlayStation 3. This will be soon after Stranger, releasing on 19 December (in Europe; “late December” for North America) on the PlayStation Network for $9.99/€8.99/£7.99.
Nov 202012
 
After enjoying over two months of Steam exclusivity, the PC version of Stranger’s Wrath HD is coming to more digital stores.
The announcement came in a post on the Oddworld.com blog, where the Inhabitants team announced that the game was now available on Gamefly, with Amazon soon to follow. Strangely, the patch is expected to reach GOG.com users sometime in January, another two months after other outlets.
To celebrate both the new(ish) release and Thanksgiving, Stranger’s Wrath HD will also be on sale until November 26, for less than $5 on Gamefly or Steam.
Oct 262012
 
A new patch for Stranger’s Wrath HD has made its way to Steam.
The patch, announced on Just Add Water’s Twitter earlier today, fixes a handful of issues still present after the HD patch, including a bug which made Stranger’s “sprint” unreliable and made Intel graphics incompatible with the game. There are also a number of optimizations, including better particles and a less resource-intensive anti-aliasing option.
We are unable to confirm if the patch has made its way to platforms other than Steam – so far Steam has been the only PC platform to receive the HD update, with JAW stating that the update would come early next week.