Munch Money [2004]

Munch Money [Hosted by Oddworld-Universe]

Date: 01/02/2004

Interviewer: Electronic Gaming Monthly

Interviewee: Lorne Lanning

Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20110216035131/http://oddworld.dreamhost.com:80/oddworlduniverse.com/features/munchmoney.php

Lorne Lanning’s odyssey through Oddworld led to greener pastures.

Normally, calling a pair of individuals “Oddworld Inhabitants” would get your ass kicked lickety-split, but not if that duo is Lorne Lanning and partner Sherry McKenna. After co-founding a company with said name, they went on to hook more than 4 million gamers across the globe with a uniquely bizarre yet equally endearing series set in a twisted alien universe: the Oddworld games (which includes Abe’s Oddysee for PS1, Munch’s Oddysee for Xbox, and an upcoming new Xbox installment). Like sneaky series hero Abe, we tiptoe into Lanning’s sprawling California lodge for a look-see.

Electronic Gaming Monthly:
You guys came out of nowhere in the mid-’90s. Was the company a pipe dream, or…?

Lorne Lanning:
Sherry and I were working for a special effects company, where we had no creative input. I wanted to be a storyteller and own my own intellectual property and knew videogames were the medium of the future. It’s all about creative control.

Electronic Gaming Monthly:
And the money to do this came from where?

Lorne Lanning:
Venture capital. We ran into a guy who saw how much money the publisher Rocket Science had raised. He wanted to write his own get-rich-quick story.

Electronic Gaming Monthly:
You must’ve been wishing on the right star, eh?

Lorne Lanning:
It’s all about who you know. And smart business negotiation…but there was some random, dumb chance to it.

Electronic Gaming Monthly:
So you attribute your breakout star power to luck?

Lorne Lanning:
I think luck is something you create. Timing was everything for us, but we knew that money was going to be coming into the technology business in the coming years. Because we did our homework, setting out to get some of that money was much easier. You have to understand the market before you can master it.

Electronic Gaming Monthly:
Then we’re guessing the Oddworld series’ grand reception was no surprise to you?

Lorne Lanning:
[Laughs] I always say it’s pleasant to have success, but when you borrow a million dollars to make an entertainment product, you really have to plan on succeeding. We were even ready to walk away from our initial investment proposal if we didn’t get what we wanted, because we were so confident in our capabilities.

Electronic Gaming Monthly:
But not everyone can afford to be that ballsy.

Lorne Lanning:
Hey, I believe being creative and innovative is safer than taking the “me too” route most game developers do.

Electronic Gaming Monthly:
Your best suggestion for anyone who’d care to follow in your footsteps, then?

Lorne Lanning:
It has more to do with work ethic than any approach. You can’t have low standards. If someone thinks they can do great work that’ll blow people away on a 9 to 5 schedule, they’re getting into the wrong business. It’s like the Olympics: don’t train your ass off, and you’ll never win a gold medal.