Jan 292012
Eurogamer.net and Digital Foundry has posted an excellent interview with Stewart Gilray as well as taken an in-depth look into the changes JAW decided to make when remaking Stranger’s Wrath for the PS3. Video and screenshot comparisons bewteen the original Xbox version and the new HD remake are made while Gilray explains the challenges JAW had to overcome in order to get the game running smoothly in 720p and 60fps. It’s a bit heavy on tech, but a great read nonetheless. Other interesting tidbits include the MIA Xbox360 version and JAW’s optimism towards finishing the rest of the Quintology.
Jan 132012
Developer Just Add Water have updated their website’s design, with a better portfolio and more organised structure. The biggest new feature is the live webcam, which broadcasts a 24/7 feed of the JAW offices over the internet. To celebrate, the team have announced a caption competition, encouraging fans to send in screenshots of the feed with funny captions. A copy of Stranger’s Wrath HD for the PS3 is up for grabs as the prize, with the winning submissions being announced on February 1st.
Jan 062012
Stewart Gilray has posted a summary of Just Add Water’s progress on bringing the recently released Stranger’s Wrath HD to Steam. The post, made on the official Steam Forums, reiterates the changes made to the game (including the updated graphics, UI, difficulties, and foreign-language subtitles), and also details specifics exclusive to the Steam version of the game. Notably, the game has a tentative release date of March/April 2012, will be thoroughly QA tested (in response to complaints of last year’s initial PC release containing numerous bugs), and will feature new achievements not included in the PS3 version of the game. Stranger HD PC will also use DirectX, instead of OpenGL (likely a result of compatibility issues between OpenGL games and ATi graphics cards).
Dec 202011
With Stranger’s Wrath HD due for release on the EU PlayStation Network tomorrow, games journalists are beginning to publish their reviews of Just Add Water’s handiwork. Eurogamer’s review late last month was overwhelmingly positive, and it seems that opinion is shared by most critics. TheSixthAxis.com, PSNStores, ShopTo News, Electronic Theatre, Console Arcade, GotGame, This is My Joystick! and Blast Process are among the websites to weigh in on the title and all are thoroughly impressed, with scores averaging around 9/10 or 4/5. A general complaint seems to be some minor technical issues, but reviewers have made it clear that these are minor and do not detract from the experience at all. Electronic Theatre seems to hold the most critical opinion of the game, saying “while fans of the original will love the visual overhaul, those expecting a brand new PlayStation 3 aesthetic may be left wanting”. Despite this, they still award the game a healthy 82% score, stressing that the game’s quirks are down to it being “still fundamentally a six year old videogame”. Overall, opinions so far are very positive, with most reviewers being especially pleased with the quality the game is for its price.
Dec 072011
After 15 months of development, Stranger’s Wrath HD will finally be released to PAL regions on December 21st. The date was confirmed today in a post on the PlayStation Blog, written by Stewart Gilray of Just Add Water. Development on Stranger HD was announced as completed last month, when a complete list of all changes, additions and upgrades was posted on the JAW website. Since then, it has been reviewed by Eurogamer, who gave it an overwhelmingly positive reception. JAW also reaffirmed via Twitter that the PC version would be arriving 2-3 months from now. UPDATE: According to the US PlayStation Blog, the North American release of Stranger HD will be on December 27th.
Dec 022011
The latest developer diary for Stranger’s Wrath HD has been posted on the Oddworld Inhabitants website. Written by Liam Jones of Just Add Water, the entry focuses on (re)designing the menus for the game, going from concept to completion – and then back again, as the menu system had to be completely rebuilt due to “circumstances out of anyone’s control”. The art direction was also changed, as Lorne Lanning (“the big L man”) apparently disliked the original’s style. A simple demo of the original menu design was included in the post. The final menu was built using ActionScript 1, to accommodate the Flash Player 6 projector Stranger’s Wrath uses.
Nov 172011
Developer Just Add Water have today announced that development is complete on the HD remake for Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. The complete changelog, posted on JAW’s website, is as follows:
  • All 84 character models have been updated with increased polygon counts and higher resolution textures.
    • This includes all three variations of Live Ammo: Those in the environment, those on the Crossbow and those in the General Store.
  • Wolvark Sloghandlers now release Slogs instead of Slegs.
  • Professor Dimble now has glasses and an academic tome.
  • Jo’ Mamma has a deeper voice.
  • Environments
  • All environments have been given higher resolution textures.
  • Most vegetation has been updated with increased polygon counts and/or higher resolution textures.
  • A lot of environment is now reflected in water where it didn’t before.
  • Pipes and barrels rounded.
  • Added Blisterz Booty’s broken crud gun to the floor by his bola’d body, as it is in the opening CG Cinematic.
  • Sekto’s Office has been changed to more closely resemble than seen in the CG Cinematic.
  • All game audio (voice, sound effects and music) have been upgraded to 16-bit 44KHz from 8-bit 11KHz or less!
  • Support for 5.1, Dolby Digital and DTS.
  • New female voices have been recorded for two characters.
  • Everything now runs at 720p, 60 FPS, widescreen.
  • All UI menus have been updated with a new design based on original unused concepts.
  • Textures added to stamina and bounty bars.
  • Save game GUIs replaced with standard PlayStation 3 interface.
  • New posters now occupy the inventory menu when no bounty is accepted.
  • MLAA – Full screen PS3 only anti-aliasing
  • All armour upgrades now actually increase Stranger’s health.
  • Added difficulty levels to the game: Easy, Medium and Hard.
  • In easy mode:
    • Stranger has twice the health.
    • Enemies have half the health and stamina.
    • Enemies’ stamina recovers half as fast.
  • In hard mode:
    • Stranger has a third less health.
    • Enemies take a bit more to kill
  • 37 trophies: 23 bronze, 8 silver, 5 gold, 1 platinum o 18 of these are brand new, not in the PC port.
  • Unlockable concept art and movie extras for completing each region of the game.
Several of the changes are directly related to the PlayStation 3, and could possibly change on other platforms. The release date has not yet been confirmed, but will be announced soon.
Oct 242011
Just Add Water CEO Stewart Gilray has been interviewed by website New Gamer Nation. The interview mostly focuses on the work done on Stranger’s Wrath HD, with Gilray once again confirming the scale of changes being made:
Goodness, we’ve “updated” a lot, actually almost the whole game has been updated, Movies, audio, textures, UI, environments, characters, HUD, visual FX (full MLAA on PS3), We’ve added in a few easter eggs, we’ve fixed a few things that were actually broken in the Xbox version. As for creative freedom, with the UI we went back to the original designs that Oddworld created in 2002 that they couldn’t use on the Xbox. But as they had only designed 4 of the 13 UI screens in the game, we just created the others based on those. Also, we only had Lorne’s approval on one item, the rest was entirely up to us.
It was also confirmed that there would not be a disc-based release of the game in the foreseeable future:
No, unless we end up releasing a boxset in the future. Mainly as, we and Oddworld are small indie companies now, to be able to afford to release on Disc is a MASSIVE risk. You have to pay a lot of money to get your discs manufactured, I think something like $10 per copy, so if you do the maths, having 200,000 copies made would cost us at LEAST $2,000,000 and that simply is not possible for us.
You can read the full interview over at New Gamer Nation.