Game Designer Paul O'Connor
HEROES AREN'T CONVENIENT
and Munch are two of the most wildly imaginative videogame "heroes"
ever seen. Could you shed some light on the creative process
behind the evolution of Munch as a character?
what game design challenges have you faced by having the game
feature two completely different (yet complimentary) leading
characters? And to that end, what kind of gameplay challenges
will players face because of this?
we wanted to make things convenient, we wouldn't have created
the titular hero of Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. We would have
picked something that runs, jumps, and sneaks pretty much like
Abe. Maybe another Mudokon, with pink skin and a bow on its
head. We could call her 'Babe.' Perfect.'Not
is kind of the anti-Abe. He doesn't sneak. He doesn't run. Instead,
Munch is quick as an eel in water, he zaps stuff with his head
port, and he has to live with the awful knowledge that he's
the last of his kind. He has an amazing story, and his destiny
will shock you.
is a lot of things, but he's not convenient. Great heroes don't
fit in - they demand that you accommodate them in all their
crazy glory. It's great to have such an original and compelling
character to spearhead our drive into 3D gaming, but the little
sucker is so bleeping different from anything we've done before
that he's turned our world upside down. Munch gave us
no choice but to turn ourselves upside down.
of Munch, water areas now figure in almost every venue of Munch's
Oddysee. Cooperative play is pivotal - if Munch can't jump over
an obstacle, then Abe picks up his buddy and gives him a toss.
If Abe can't clear out a factory floor on his own, then Munch
possesses a robot crane arm and does the job. Most importantly,
Munch weaned us from the conviction that Oddworld = Abe. Munch
and Abe are co-star, and the more we've given the little Gabbit
his due, the more this wonderful new character has flowered.
better for knowing Munch. He hasn't been convenient. He's challenged
us to be better at what we do, which shouldn't be a surprise.
After all, that's what heroes are for."
15 May 2001
PASSPORT TO ODDWORLD ITSELF .
It's been said that Oddworld:
Munch's Oddysee is striving to be more than just a game, but
a passport to Oddworld itself. Since we're always eager to travel
abroad and visit strange and exotic locales, we decided to ask
Oddworld Inhabitants Senior Game Designer Paul O'Connor exactly
what this means for fans and interested gamers. Here's what
he had to say.
of the verbal fusillade I've fired off about Oddworld: Munch's
Oddysee is that it isn't a game so much as a passport to Oddworld
itself. This is because the game is so different that you can't
really appreciate what sets it apart until you get your hands
on the controls . then you'll have one of those, "Ah, I get
it" moments, and your gaming universe will change forever.
that time, I'll have to fall back on analogy. The difference
between Munch's Oddysee and other games is like the difference
between Disneyland and a traveling carnival. Both have rides,
stuff you can buy, and things to eat. But that's where the similarity
ends. While thrilling, the traveling carnival is a desultory
experience, with none of the attention paid to the details of
theme and fantasy experienced at Disneyland. At the carnival,
you never forget where you are. A rollercoaster is just a rollercoaster.
You never transcend the rides to believe that you're really
on a trip into space, or flying above London with Peter Pan.
trust that Munch's Oddysee will be a transcendent game experience.
All the thrills you expect will be there, but the attention
to detail and life-like behavior of the Inhabitants will make
you forget that you're playing a game, and draw you into the
world itself. If you want to be a daytripper and efficiently
complete each little mission . great, the game can do that.
But if you want to really visit Oddworld, your exploration will
yield depths and details that just aren't present in other games.
have your passports ready when Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee debuts
on Xbox later this year."
26 January 2001