Lorne Lanning confirmed to Eurogamer earlier this week that developer Oddworld Inhabitants is really working on a new game in the Oddworld universe. The buzz about the series reboot came directly after Maxis co-founder Jeff Braun told students during a speech at Wilfrid Laurier University that they were working on the game with OWI, and even boasted that the upcoming title “will feature a revolutionary new 3-D animation system allowing videogame players to experience a cinematic quality on a “1 to 1 scale” to that of computer-generated motion pictures.” Hrm.
For the uninitiated, Oddworld is a series of games that started off on the original Playstation with Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, a side-scrolling action puzzler that introduced “Gamespeak” to the world and was a critic’s darling. (Doesn’t hurt that the game was reminiscent of Out of this World and Flashback.) It was followed up by Abe’s Exoddus, an equally fun game that expanded the world a bit, but was more of a rehash.
The interesting thing about the series was that director Lanning planned from the very start to make it a Quintology, a plan that fell apart after the two latest games- Munch’s Oddysee and Stranger’s Wrath, failed to connect with gamers. In 2005 Oddworld Inhabitants was stepping away from games to focus on film (the first being the upcoming Citizen Siege), leaving Oddworld fans with an unfinished series.
It was a shame. The series definitely had a misstep with Munch’s Oddysee (perhaps focusing a game on a wheelchair-bound aquatic creature with psychic powers wasn’t the best idea…) but Stranger’s Wrath is definitely one of the more underrated games of the Xbox generation… one I hope resurfaces on the 360 as a downloadable game.
So it’s good to see them coming back around to trying it out once again. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the next one…. could it finally be the long-rumored Hand of Odd, a real-time strategy game? We shall see…