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.