In celebration of Abe’s 20th Birthday—yes, we realise we’re a trifle late to the party, but we at Magog on the March always prefer to be fashionably late than undesirably early—we have compiled a handful of the elements that were dropped during the production of the original Abe’s Oddysee. From the curious Elum Traps that have piqued the curiosity of fans for two decades, to an unknown revelation about SoulStorm Brew that will raise an eyebrow in regards to the upcoming Soulstorm, today’s article should provide the hungry inhabitants of Oddworld with a tasty morsel to wait out the lengthy hiatus. Enjoy!
We start by taking a look at the Elum Trap, a device that was utilised by the Magog Cartel to capture wild Elums. It is a little-known fact that the poor, docile, honey-loving Elums were hunted by RuptureFarms in the same manner as Paramites and Scrabs, being served up as finger-lickin’ Elum Chubs. A poster for Elum Chubs even appears in the Playstation Demo of Abe’s Oddysee, but was removed from the final game. Alas, the Elum Traps were also absent from the retail version of Abe’s Oddysee, their existence and mechanics superseded by the infamous mounds of honey and those ravenous beehives.
Speak No Evil About Possessing the Possession
It is kind of stark to think about an Abe experience without the ability of possession, but if Lorne Lanning had had his way, players would have had to flail their way through RuptureFarms and the Stockyards without this handy slig-detonating ability. It has been well-documented that Lanning desired Oddworld to be a thematic experience, and adding to Abe’s inferior and feeble status, the Mudokon Savior would have needed to learn to survive without this spiritual firearm, only learning how to chant after his stitches were removed in the Monsaic Lines.
Similarly, Abe’s stitches would have been so tight that he lacked the ability to speak to his fellow Mudokons. GameSpeak, therefore, would have been locked out to the player until several hours into the game, raising a flood of questions about the puzzles these earlier levels would have entailed. We could have seen a very different game!
For the sake of the player’s sanity, however, both of these abilities were offered to the player from the outset. It is clear that from a storytelling perspective, however, that Abe does not possess the ability of possession until he has proved himself to be a survivor, likely after he was resurrected by the Big Face.
A Different Abe
Early drafts for Oddworld did not cast our hapless hero as a floor-waxer and RuptureFarms Employee of the Year. Instead, Abe would have been a native fisherman living a green life off the fat of the land, being introduced to the industrialist lifestyle as the story progressed. It has been implied that the abandoned movie version of Abe’s Oddysee would have focused on this reversal of roles.
And yes, Abe would have had his noble pet Elum to keep him company when wandering the musty banks of Mudos.
Source: The Art of Oddworld Inhabitants (p.46)
This bulbous and ill-proportioned creature would have likely featured in the desolate wilderness of Scrabania. Not a sight for sore eyes, is he?
Source: The Art of Oddworld Inhabitants (p.82)
These ominous sleeping pods, complete with visual entertainment and a SoulStorm Brew dispenser, were the designated sleeping quarters for the Mudokon labour force of RuptureFarms. According to the Oddworld artbook, the pods would have been glimpsed in the opening FMV of Abe’s Oddysee, but they did not make the final cut and are completely absent from the final game.
The sleeping pods did finally make an appearance in New ‘n’ Tasty, featuring in the background of Zulag 3.
Source: The Art of Oddworld Inhabitants (p.69)
By now, the Shrink—also known as the Guardian Angel—is a familiar face to the fans of Oddworld. Feared mostly for its infamous appearance in the unaired Abe’s Oddysee commercial, which was rewarded to players who managed to rescue all 99 Mudokons hidden within the game, hardcore fans also know that several of the spider-like Shrinks still keep the Mudokon Queen company within the bowels of Vykkers Labs.
Until recently, however, it was not quite clear what the Shrink’s purpose at RuptureFarms exactly entailed. Released by JAW several years ago, a variant of the unaired Guardian Angel commercial altered the Shrink’s final line, suggesting it was tasked by Molluck with acquiring a confession from the imprisoned Abe before his execution.
Truant Pixel’s short documentary concerning the new PS4 Guardian Angel theme also confirmed the Guardian Angel’s purpose, cementing the unaired commercial into the Oddworld timeline.
In his recent interview with Caddicarus, Lorne Lanning spoke openly about the Shrink, revealing its intended purpose within the RuptureFarms workplace. He said:
What the Guardian originally was is something we never got to do, cause we never so much got into the Mudokon lifestyle. So that was who a Mudokon would be sent to see if they started to have moral problems at work. It was like a robot face analyzing psychologically what you need to get productive. Sometimes [saws and syringes are] motivating. He’d say: “Get an ‘A’ on your test or we’re going to pull some teeth.
It was also meant to make a cameo appearance in New ‘n’ Tasty, but the model was far too complicated to justify its creation.
Source: https://magogonthemarch.com/transcripts/egx-2017-lorne-lanning-interview/ Source: http://www.oddworldforums.net/showpost.php?p=616575&postcount=328
In the final version of Abe’s Oddysee, the Meeches exist only as a memory and a download of exposition. In the form of Meech Munches, the tri-jawed beasts—originally green in colour and altered to brown with reddish stripes later on—were one of RuptureFarms’ tantalising flagship products, no longer available due to the wild packs being hunted to extinction. If the disc space of the PlayStation Compact Discs had been big enough, however, Abe and the players would have had to deal with a third species of wildlife, travelling to a tropical biome where the Meeches nested, delving into yet another dark and dangerous temple, and earning the final piece of the mystical Shrykull tattoo.
Ironically enough, the first decent footage that Lanning saw of Abe’s Oddysee was a pack of Meeches running in the wild!
Source: https://magogonthemarch.com/emails-sent-to-matt-lee-2007/ Source: https://magogonthemarch.com/qa/reddit-ama-2012/ Source: https://youtu.be/8HGCtgocCL4?t=1973
Yes, you read that right! According to an interview from 1998—thought lost for nineteen years until our team of blind slaves uncovered it in the depths of the internet burial ground—SoulStorm Brew was intended to make an appearance in Abe’s Oddysee but was dropped along with the other elements we’ve showcased today. Read what Lorne Lanning had to say about the addictive beverage and its importance in Abe’s grand story:
In the original story of Abe’s Oddysee, SoulStorm Brew was a very important part. But because of time and production limitations, we had to cut SoulStorm Brew out of Abe’s Oddysee. However, with Abe’s Exodus, we had the opportunity to tell the story of SoulStorm Brew, which happens to be a very important part of the overall Quintology. But because it was originally written to happen with Abe’s Oddysee, it had to be completely re-written to be able to stand on its own and ultimately take place after the events of Abe’s Oddysee. When this happens to us, then our internal writers get involved creatively on what should happen, when, and how. Then we work as a team to create something that works with the overall flow of the universe of Oddworld.
New ‘n’ Tasty was finally able to rectify this deficit of the deadly brew in Abe’s debut adventure. Scattered bottles were slipped into several landscapes and giving the audacious Alf a position tending an illicit bar in the depths of RuptureFarms, serving an early iteration of SoulStorm Brew to some lackadaisical sligs.
It begs the question: Will the rebranding of Abe’s Exoddus to Soulstorm, and the revamped story, reflect the greater beats of the Quintology that have been missing for years? We at Magog on the March certainly think so!