Gettin Odd with the loonies!
How was Oddworld Inhabitants formed? Have you worked for other gaming companies in the past? The name Oddworld came from a moment of clarity between myself and Sherry McKenna, the CEO. This happened in 1994. But the stories for Oddworld had been started (in written form) back in 1986. I used to write lots of stories that didn't seem to have any practical application because they were so weird, yet ironically true. I couldn't help but write them as they just seemed to haunt me. Eventually, many of these stories came together to form the basis of Oddworld.
Neither Sherry McKenna nor myself have worked for any other game companies. We come from Hollywood where we both specialized in Computer Graphics and Special Effects.
How many people work at Oddworld? 60. There are about 30 on the Production team and 30 in other areas.
Are they all working on one game at a time, or do you have separate teams of people for each game? All the members of the art team work on all the projects all the time. This helps keep the consistent look of all of Oddworld’s images. Including PR & marketing. The programmers and designers are split up into teams.
Any chance for a stuffed Abe doll? How bout an action figure? :) Absolutely! But we want to do it with a whole different twist. We have plans for this, but a release date is not set. Possibly before the release of Munch's Oddysee will we bring out the action figures. But we don't want to just make dolls, we want them to have many more applications. When the world finally gets to see how we have dealt with it, we believe they will be very excited about it.
Why do a quintology of games to begin with? That's how many it's going to take to tell the whole story. It's very big and it's very complicated. We're unfolding an entire new world for you. There is no way that the entire quintology would ever fit into less story structures. When we broke down the big story, it have five distinctive places for logical separations to occur. Which means five places where we could clearly find 'beginnings, middles, and ends'. This allowed us to clarify the details over time, instead of rushing and cramming it in a way that would result in watering it down. We believe that in the end, this will have been one of the greatest stories ever told. Not just in video games, but in all mediums.
Do you ever see an Oddworld game that is completely separated from the quintology ever being made? Abe's Miniature Golf, or Munch's Racing, for example? Yes, we have already had talks about this with other developers. In fact, there is already an Oddworld Adventures Gameboy game that will be releasing this year.
How planned out is the quintology? Do you have five game layouts? We have five story layouts. As for game layouts, we cannot design the later games yet as we know they will be utilizing newer technology. To design layouts now would be a waste of time. However, we are designing higher level AI and Social interactions that will effect these later games. We also know that as we get closer and closer to the end of the quintology, that we will be using more highly populated types of gameplay strategies. Meaning, you will be seeing a lot more group/crowd behaviors.
Any plans for what you'll do after the quintology? Absolutely. But it's way too early to start letting that cat out of the bag. I will say that in many ways I can't wait till we get past the quintology. Which I have lived with for many years and will continue to live with for many years. And even though the next series beyond the quintology is years down the road, I already spend a significant amount of time thinking writing about what happens after the quintology.
Got any strange tales of wacky Oddworld employees to share? I could tell you... but then we would probably get sued. That’s why they’re Inhabitants.
Where can a guy get some Meech Munchies, anyway? Talk to GT I think they have a plan.
Thanks, Lorne! Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is shipping soon...be sure to check it out. And be sure to look in a few months to see if they get nominated for an Oscar!
|Credits: Illustration © 1998 Dan Zalkus. This interview is © 1998 Jason Bergman & Lorne Lanning. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and totally not cool.|