Larry Shapiro becomes president of Oddworld [2008]

Larry Shapiro becomes president of Oddworld [Hosted by Variety]

Date: 11/11/2008

Author: Ben Fritz

Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20081227233827/http://weblogs.variety.com/the_cut_scene/2008/11/larry-shapiro-b.html

Former Brash Chief Creative Office and CAA videogames agent Larry Shapiro has landed a new gig as president of Oddworld Inhabitants, Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna’s development studio best known for (duh) the “Oddworld” games.

Larry used to be Oddworld’s agent when he was at CAA (pre-Brash), so it’s perhaps not surprising he’s working with them again. It is more surprising that Oddworld, which hasn’t had a new game in a while, is taking on a president, demonstrating that despite their relative silence, they must have some promising stuff up their sleeves.

Lanning himself had been president, but is stepping aside to let Shapiro take that role while he’ll focus exclusively on creative. Sherry McKenna is still CEO.

“No one is more in stride with us than Larry. We both see the same future landscape,” Lanning said. “It’s a petty radical departure from the contemporary landscape. While we think there’s a number of barriers to break through, we think there are tremendous opportunities on the other side of the barrier.”

Shapiro similarly hinted that he’s hoping to push Oddworld into new frontiers, which probably means they won’t just be trying to sell $20 million AAA disc-based games to publishers.

“I have a great opportunity to add value to a company and to work with people who I am inspired by and who look to where the industry is going and not where its been,” he told me. “We intend to break the model of where games are today in a unique and entertaining way.”

It’ll be a while until we find out exactly what Oddworld’s up to now. But I do know it won’t be the “Citizen Siege” animated movie that it was previously working on with Vanguard Entertainment. McKenna told me there were “creative differences” and the rights are reverting back to Oddworld.

Shapiro is the first former senior exec at Brash to land a new job that I’ve heard of. As I reported last week, the company is in pretty dire straits. Sources are telling me there’s just a “skeleton crew” left trying to sell off properties to other publishers and/or make deals with studios with which they made licensing deals to return the rights.

Like several ex-Brash employees I have spoken to, he didn’t want to go into much detail about what was apparently an unpleasant experience. But he did make this one rather pointed comment about what he wanted to do:

I wanted to make Brash the Miramax or HBO of videogames, but sales marketing and finance wanted it to be Majesco.

Ouch.

More on Brash coming soon.