The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot

The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot is a cancelled video game that Oddworld Inhabitants started developing for Microsoft’s Xbox. It would have featured the same mix of first‐ and third‐person action and combat as Stranger’s Wrath, but with a more muscle‐bound and human character wielding guns in a darker and more political setting.

Story

In Fangus, the various sapient races evolved from felines and canines. The game takes place in an area that is like where Eastern Europe meets Russia. The inhabitants of Fangustan (a culture based on Afghanistan) are descended from bulldogs, but their lands are invaded by Vamps, the cat‐like Mafia of another country (comparable to Russia). These feline Mafiosi begin to oust the native shepherds and build factories and refineries to produce hardcore drugs.1, 2

Amongst the shepherds is Fangus Klot, who is taken from his familiar forested hills and popberry fields3 and enslaved as a pitfighter.4, 1 Fangus then engages in a series of fights with increasingly powerful opponents, culminating in a huge and rabid fighter who bites Fangus—​infecting him with rabies—​and destroys enough of the arena to allow Fangus to escape.1 With the help of his rabid flock, Fangus must then free Fangustan before he succumbs to his rabies.3, 4

Production history

Lorne Lanning was having talks with EA Games about a sequel to Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath the year before the game’s release,5 but eventually OWI settled on Majesco Entertainment to publish their next title, possibly because EA did not want to publish a game the ESRB would likely give an M‐rating.3 The game was going to use the Stranger engine, which Oddworld Inhabitants were very proud of and wanted maximise their use of,1, 2, 6 to tell the story of an Inhabitant ‘so intense he makes Stranger look like Munch in terms of intensity’7 from a part of Oddworld ‘like where Eastern Europe meets Russia’ that Lorne and Raymond Swanland were interested in developing.2

Production started on The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot, including concept art8, level design,9 and realtime animation (with over 100 animations outsourced to Alcazar Entertainment).10, 11 Originally, Lorne had set out to create a game with a much more intense and politically shocking atmosphere,12 even giving it a title of a different ilk to past Oddworld games’,2 but keeping the setting on Oddworld, albeit a different part of it. However, having given the production team more control over the project, he saw that they shifted the design into something much more realistic and human,2, 13 and eventually Lorne lost interest, letting the game’s development continue but saying it would not be set on Oddworld at all.2

The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot was announced in the April 2005 issue of Game Informer,3 previewed for fans on the Oddworld Forums by member LawnChairFire, but receiving some suspicion that it was an April Fools’ joke.14 Unfortunately, by the time the magazine had reached news stands Oddworld Inhabitants were already shutting down the game development studio.15

The game was cancelled when publishers Majesco Entertainment tried to change the deal with Oddworld Inhabitants, which OWI rejected.2 Feeling that an original Xbox title with no Live play would not succeed at a time when press and gamer attention was focused on the Xbox 36016, and receiving no more technical support from Microsoft,1 Lorne and Sherry decided it was best to shelve the game and all future in‐house game development. However, The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot remains a story Lorne would like to tell one day.2

References

  1. Max the Mug (08/11/2006). ‘Meeting Lorne & Sherry’. OddBlog Specials. The Oddworld Library.
  2. Lanning, Lorne (16/04/2008). ‘Part 6: Fangus and Stranger’ of ‘Nate interviews Lorne Lanning’. Published by Max the Mug (22/08/2008). OddBlog Specials. The Oddworld Library.
  3. Game Informer (?01/04/2005). ‘The Brutal Ballad of Fangus’, ‘Connect’, p. 24. Game Informer Apri 2005. Bloomington: IN: Sunrise Publications. Transcription by LawnChairFire (17/03/2005). Post №32 in ‘New Oddworld game published by Majesco!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums. Scan by LawnChairFire (18/03/2005). Post №108 in ‘New Oddworld game published by Majesco!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  4. Swanland, Raymond. Description of image submitted to Ballistic Publishing.
  5. Daultry, Stephen (03/09/2005). ‘EGN 2004: Stranger get your guns: Oddworld sequel planned’. ComputerAndVideoGames.com.
  6. Bloom, Charles (30/03/2005). Old Rants. cbloom.com.
  7. Lanning, Lorne (20/12/2004). ‘Interview: Enter the Oddworld of Lorne Lanning’, interview by Graeme Boyd. ComputerAndVideoGames.com.
  8. Aebischer, Silvio (19/07/2005). Various images in his online portfolio.
  9. Durall, Jameson (?03/04/2005). ‘Oddworld: Design Process’.
  10. Alcazar Entertainment (?13/01/2007). ‘Animation’, ‘Games’. Alcazar Entertainment website.
  11. Winkelman, Kyle (24/06/2007). ‘Game Cycles’, ‘Animation’. Kyle Winkelman’s website.
  12. UnforgivingEdges (22/03/2005). Post №299 in ‘New Oddworld game published by Majesco!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  13. Aebischer, Silvio (10/03/2005). Interview by Jason, 22·03. Broadcast by Jason (06/04/2005). Press Start. KCPR. Transcription by UnforgivingEdges (07/04/2005). Post №21 in ‘Date set for my Oddworld show!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums. Made downloadable by Max the Mug (05/06/2005). ‘UnforgivingEdges’ Oddworld radio programme dowloadable’. OddBlog. The Oddworld Library.
  14. Oddworld Forums members (17/03/2005). ‘New Oddworld game published by Majesco!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  15. Padilla, Raymond M. (29/03/2005). ‘The End of Oddworld?’. GameSpy.
  16. Lanning, Lorne (27/04/2005). ‘A brave new Oddworld: Lanning speaks out’, interview by Graeme Boyd. ComputerAndVideoGames.com.