A glimpse of Citizen Siege
It came as something of a surprise when, at the very end of 2004, Lorne Lanning let slip that Oddworld Inhabitants were working on a non‐Oddworld project, titled Citizen Siege, to be set on a near‐future Earth. Shortly thereafter, the company downsized and relocated to the Bay Area to begin a new production model, outsourcing film and game production to external development teams. It wasn't as big a surprise when, in 2006, Lorne announced that Oddworld Inhabitants had teamed up with Vanguard Animation to deliver the CGI film version of Citizen Siege. With completion on the big‐screen title not projected within the next couple of years, we can expect news of the latest developments to be coming in thin and slow, but Iain Simon’s 2007 book Inside Game Design came with a treat: a five‐page interview with Lorne and four hi‐res photographs of Lorne’s computer screen, each displaying a different Citizen Siege concept painting.
The paintings, all by Raymond Swanland, are the contents of Lorne’s visual pitch for Citizen Siege: the presentation given to the film’s prospective developers and publishers. Somehow, the unique artwork went unnoticed by Oddworld’s followers until Alcar shared scans of them on the Oddworld Forums. Now, the Oddworld Library has been given the opportunity to share these images with greater resolution than ever before! They include the four original photographs from Inside Game Development and three exclusives.
Given the nature of these concept paintings, it must be remembered that the remainder of the article is likely to contain non‐explicit spoilers for the film. Trying to interpret the narrative of the story could cause the dramatic impact to be lessened when you see the finished film. At the same time, these paintings are only conceptual, and the objects, characters and scenes they portray are subject to change a lot during the development process. Finally, it must be reiterated that it is far too early for Oddworld Inhabitants to release any further information on Citizen Siege. For legal reasons, they will not be able to answer any questions fans or the press may have after viewing these pitch pictures.
Fuel prices reach ridiculous new heights, although they look pretty average to me. A populace prone to unrest must be watched over by vigilant armed security details as they queue up to collect their gas rations.
Towering security cameras on legs watch as people cause havoc in the streets.
For Players, the War is Real! Perhaps they really believe they are in the midst of a genuine war, and not in a spectator arena being watched by millions as a form of mass entertainment. Let’s hope they never break free from the Wage Wars arena and spread the battle onto the streets. Hopefully the same removal from reality will not affect gamers who play Wage Wars online.
Welcome to the Manchine! Apparently some human‐robot intertwining will feature in Citizen Siege, under the name of ‘Manchine’, a long‐standing mystery word to Oddworld followers. It appears on the oldest version of Oddworld.com catalogued by the Internet Archive, and was registered as a trademark by Oddworld Inhabitants as far back as 1995. So who is the ‘Saviour of the Manchine’ described by the newspaper in the thumbnails? And who is Candice, the first named character of the Citizen Siege universe?
What does? Probably not war‐waging robots. Nah.
As our 21st Century Superhero walks into the urban glare, an audience of crows admires a brilliant piece of social commentary has finished, and they can leave the cinema.