Today we would like to share three more images of concept art painted for the Oddworld films, very kindly given to us by Oddworld Inhabitants. The first two are by Raymond Swanland, and the third is by Lorne Lanning. The thumbnails below link to the full-size images on TOGG.
We would like to remind fans and press that Oddworld Inhabitants will not be answering any questions about these images, they are simply gifts for the loyal fans. Any information we provide about the meaning of these images is our own speculation and interpretation, and should not be taken as absolute truth. The Oddworld films are almost certainly still in pre‐production.
The July edition of Game Informer is out, containing an interview with Lorne Lanning talking about the cancelled game The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot. The article includes several images of concept art by Silvio Aebischer and Raymond Swanland, only some of which have been available on TOGG.
It was Game Informer who first published the announcement of Fangus in their April 2005 edition, which was released just as Oddworld Inhabitants were ending their game production. The interview provides information for GI readers who were confused by the conflicting news.
Oddworld Inhabitants will soon be announcing the creation of the Oddworld Store, an online shopping centre where loyal fans can buy Oddworld merchandise and games. Although this may not seem like the greatest thing OWI could release at this time, the store puts an end to scouring eBay for rare whoopie cushions and baseball caps.
Although the Oddworld Store will not be opened for another few weeks, the Oddworld Library has been able to negotiate not only early news coverage but our very own preliminary TOLshop: a tiny preview of the eventual official site to help us celebrate the Library’s official third birthday.
Available now are a selection of five T-shirts in a range of sizes, one based on each Oddworld game and one based on the upcoming Citizen Siege film and games. Hopefully we will be permitted to add more items before the full range becomes available on the official Oddworld Store, but for now you have the option of lending your support for Oddworld Inhabitants with this nifty set of merchandise.
Lorne Lanning was amongst the big name participants in a panel discussion at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. ‘Stretching Beyond Entertainment: The Role of Games in Personal and Social Change’ was hosted by videogame author/analyst Rusel DeMaria (who wrote the official game guide to Abe’s Oddysee, as well as scores of other titles) with speakers Peter Molyneux, Bing Gordon, Will Wright, Ed Fries (who worked with Lorne during Oddworld Inhabitants’ time with Microsoft), and of course Lanning, and sought to address questions such as how games can be socially responsible and whether they should be.
Ballistic Publishing has announced that The Art of Oddworld Inhabitants—one of their most successful titles—has been reprinted in a limited Collector’s Folio Edition, which comes with a special padded/stitched cover with a weathered‐leather appearance and varnished title, a hand‐crafted presentation case with purple protective ribbon, and a numbered certificate of authenticity individually hand‐signed by Oddworld Inhabitants founders Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna. While it includes no new content, and despite its name is no larger than previous editions, everything in it has been re‐processed so that each page features the finest possible reproduction. The Collector’s Folio Edition costs U.S. $290 (not including shipping), and has a highly limited print run of just 100 copies. It has already started shipping.
To coincide with the announcement, Ballistic has spoken to Lorne Lanning about (DFA), its history and future.
GOG.com, which recently added Abe’s Oddysee to its catalogue, has interviewed Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning about the game’s production, some eleven years after its initial release. Lorne divulges the inspirations behind possession, GameSpeak, HUDlessness, and multiple endings. GOG.com has also added some extra bonus downloads that are free to all who purchase Abe’s Oddysee through them.
Although Lorne Lanning has described his advocacy of digital distribution and Valve’s Steam in the past, he continues to praise the platform in Gamasutra’s latest interview with him, which is possibly inspired by the recent appearance of Abe’s Oddysee on GOG.com.
Lorne points out that the porting of the titles to Steam has required virtually zero investment while allowing them to explore the mechanisms of the digital distribution business as a channel to publish their upcoming releases—which he lists as Citizen Siege,
something new for Oddworld, and a third
Hollywood meets gaming project. Lorne also vaguely describes the style of their future gameplay:
We’re open to exploring how to best maximize our existing library, but haven’t been focused on creating huge story games with 40 hours of linear gameplay recently.
We’ve been focused on a slightly different chemistry that we believe will prove appealing to gamers and Oddworld fans alike, but it’s a big risk because it’s way outside the box.
And that excites us. In some ways it will be very alien to Western gaming, but it’s in this direction that we believe the excitement will be. Hopefully, not too much longer.
Lorne Lanning is amongst the judges of the fourth NVArt art & design competition. For Surreal: In the Style of Jacek Yerka, candidates are asked to submit surrealist compositions in the style of Polish Jacek Yerka.
Sources: The CGSociety
Digital distribution site GOG.com has today released Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (compatible with Windows XP and Vista) for download, with Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus expected to follow shortly on 23 December. OddBlog has the full press release. Praising the Oddworld games, GOG.com Managing Director Adam Oldakowski had this to say:
Oddworld Inhabitants created an unbelievable world and fascinating characters that remind us about the pure joys of gaming. It’s amazing how the game holds up to today’s games and we’re not surprised that many consider these some of the best platform games of all time
Both Abe titles games were released on Steam earlier in the year, with the promise that the Xbox‐exclusive titles would be available on Steam ‘in the not too distant future.’ While there has been no word yet of Munch’s Oddysee or Stranger’s Wrath on Good Old Games, GOG.com does have two advantages over Steam.
Firstly, to download and run the games requires no special launcher application like Steam’s client software. Secondly, for the same price, GOG.com provides bonus materials that are listed on their website as follows:
- manual (28 pages)
- map (series)
- mp3 soundtrack
- hi‐res wallpaper
- hi‐res wallpapers pack (6)
And thirdly, GOG.com comes with a reassuring statement by Oddworld Inhabitants’ new president, Larry Shapiro, who says:
We are happy to add the Oddworld series to the GOG.com catalogue. It’s a great chance for anyone who’s already played the games to remember why they were so much fun, and also to introduce Abe and his fellow Mudokons to a new generation of gamers. We believe that digital distribution is the future of gaming for both developers and gamers, making GOG.com an ideal fit for Oddworld.
Despite what was suggested by Variety’s videogame blogger earlier in the week, Sherry McKenna has confirmed that the project is still in development, albeit not with originally‐announced partner Vanguard Animation.
Ben Fritz originally wrote on The Cute Scene:
It’ll be a while until we find out exactly what Oddworld’s up to now. But I do know it won’t be the ‘Citizen Siege’ animated movie that it was previously working on with Vanguard Entertainment. McKenna told me there were ‘creative differences’ and the rights are reverting back to Oddworld.
But speaking to GamesIndustry.biz’s Matt Martin, Sherry has denied the multi‐media sci‐fi story has been dropped:
Citizen Siege is a project near and dear to our hearts so while we are no longer developing it with Vanguard due to the famous ‘creative differences’, it is still in development.
The Citizen Siege feature film was announced by Lorne at the first GameCity two years ago as being in development by a partnership between Oddworld Inhabitants and John H. Williams’ Vanguard Animation. Since then, little news has been reported on the project, except that it will have two videogame accompaniments including the online multiplayer Wage Wars.
Sherry has also commented on the previous day’s news that Larry Shapiro is the new president of Oddworld Inhabitants:
Lorne has always had the title of president but now with our new model he is going to concentrate on what he loves most and that of course is the creative. Larry will get to deal with all the ‘stuff’ presidents of companies have to deal with. The good news is that we all see the future in a similar vein so that makes it very exciting.’
Larry Shapiro, formerly Chief Creative Officer at Brash Entertainment, has been named the new president of Oddworld Inhabitants. Shapiro was Oddworld’s agent when he was co‐head of CAA’s videogame department, and joins the company having left Brash—the game publisher recently turned into a skeleton crew during financial hardship—in July. OWI’s previous president, Lorne Lanning, will step down to focus more on the company’s creative side.
Speaking to Variety weblog The Cut Scene, Lorne says:
No one is more in stride with us than Larry. We both see the same future landscape. It’s a petty radical departure from the contemporary landscape. While we think there’s a number of barriers to break through, we think there are tremendous opportunities on the other side of the barrier.
Shapiro has similar high hopes that the new partnership will aid Oddworld’s new business model:
I have a great opportunity to add value to a company and to work with people who I am inspired by and who look to where the industry is going and not where its been. We intend to break the model of where games are today in a unique and entertaining way.
Considering Oddworld Inhabitants’ next release, The Cut Scene reporter Ben Fritz supposes it won’t be the Citizen Siege feature film produced in partnership with Vanguard Animation, having been told by Sherry McKenna that there were ‘creative differences’ and ‘the rights are reverting back to Oddworld.’
Sources: The Cut Scene
Sources: Gaius Darkfire
The folks behind GameCity 3 have partnered with Nottingham’s Castle Rock Brewery to launch their first festival beer—Fine Ale Fantasy. The beer’s name was chosen by Paul Treneary in video game radio show One Life Left’s competition ‘What’s the Pint?’. The ale’s pump clip and bottle label will be designed by none other than Lorne Lanning.
Lorne appeared at the first GameCity where he delivered the festival’s keynote speech, in which he first announced Citizen Siege. This years event takes place in Nottingham, U.K. from 30 October to 1 November.
Sources: GameCity website
GameDaily has awarded Abe of Oddworld the title of ‘Ugliest Hero’ in their feature ‘The Top Ten Ugliest Game Heroes’. Feature author Robert Workman adds: ‘Still, he’s charming enough that we wouldn't mind seeing him in a sequel.’
Lorne has spoken to Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer and confirmed that the Xbox‐exclusive Oddworld titles Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee and Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath will be available as PC games from the Steam Network ‘in the not too distant future.’ In his recent interview with Lorne, Nate was told that these conversions would wait for good Steam sales of the Abe games.
After taking the stage at NVISION 08, Lorne Lanning sat down with GameDaily BIZ’s John Gaudiosi to talk about console vs. PC game development, user‐created content, fitting games into our increasingly fragmented daily lives, and talks a bit about the next Oddworld game, news of which was slipped by Jeff Braun earlier in the year.
Also, the final part of Nate’s interview with Lorne has now been published. Lorne talks about the bettering of the Oddworld universe, the new cast of Stranger, and the Oddworld theme tune.
Sources: GameDaily BIZ
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (1997) and Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus (1998) are now available to download in their entirity from Steam, Valve’s online digital distribution platform for PC games. A free demos of each title is available, but the full games can be purchased for a mere $9·99 each, or just $14·99 if you buy them together as part of the ‘Oddworld Pack’. What’s more, to celebrate the re‐release of the games, Steam is deducting 10% from all these prices for a week, ending 4 September.
News that Oddworld was going to be re‐released on Steam was first revealed to the online fan community by Oddworld Forums member Nate on 16 April, the very day he had just been told this by Lorne Lanning in person as part of his interview. However, the revealing part of the interview had not been published by OddBlog until today, coincidentally the day after the games’ online launch. This is the penultimate section of Nate’s epic and highly received interview with Lorne Lanning.
Now, though, fans of the first two Oddworld games can buy and download Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exoddus legally, instead of scrabbling for remnant game discs from carboot sales and eBay. Furthermore, according to Lorne, good sales of these titles makes it possible that this relaunch will be followed up by Steam releases of Munch’s Oddysee and Stranger’s Wrath, the first time these games will have been made available for the PC.
Lorne has given a substantial interview to Edge magazine, detailing much of the overarching development of the Oddworld titles and brand, from the founding of the company to the closing of its game production studio, and how changing limitations in the video game industry have affected the series’ story and gameplay over the years.
Sources: Edge Online
Lorne appeared at NVISION 08 last week, where he spoke about digital art. Showing several examples of fine art (which Sylvie Barak of The Inquirer says ‘looked more like massive, complex, multicoloured bacteria than anything else’) and the recent trailer for Ubisoft’s Beyond Good and Evil 2, he talked about how digital art is allowing science and physics to inspire the creation of impossible worlds, which are in turn an inspiration to scientists; how such datasets can be used by games and, in turn, movies; and claiming that students of the future will be submitting videos, not text.
Realtime coverage and live video was available from Ryan Shrout on PC Perspective. Digital art shown by Lorne includes ‘Grow of cubic bacteria’ by Václav Pajkrt, ‘Torn’ by Monsit Jangariyawong, and ‘Process + Propagation 14’ by Chris Bobotis. A collation of reviews and media is maintained by Xavier on the Oddworld Forums.