Date: January, 2002 Author: RaHaN Description: This article was originally published in the French magazine Joypad. This translation is neither sanctioned or approved by Oddworld Inhabitants or Joypad and should be read on a conditional basis. Source: Joypad, Issue 115, pp. 93-94
Munch’s Oddysee is finally finished and available in the United States. However, the last game of Oddworld Inhabitants has experienced a lot of setbacks… We were able to visit the studio (in California) of Abe’s parents and talk a little with the infernal couple.
For once, it is Sherry McKenna who speaks in the conference room of Oddworld Inhabitants, a few hundred kilometers from San Francisco. We arrived in the small town of San Luis Obispo, where Oddworld had just finished the development of Munch’s Oddysee. “Sony has always been good with us, it’s an excellent brand, with a strong fanbase, we never really had any problems with them directly, but with their hardware, yes,” she said. Remember, indeed, that Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna complained about the aliasing issues of the PS2. “When you come from the film industry, you cannot accept aliasing.” Then the Xbox was more than a rumor. “When we heard about the Xbox, we thought, this is our savior.” She goes on to reaffirm their commitment to the Microsoft console. Then talk a bit about Munch’s Oddysee. When asked if they intended to change people’s minds with the Oddworld series, she says, “We are not saying what one should think. But we’re trying to say: think by yourself. I use cosmetics every day, for my hair, for example. I had never thought about this before, but to develop my shampoo, there was animal testing. Maybe I don’t care if three rats are dead for my hair to shine, but at least I’m aware of it.”
THE VIDEO GAME
The shampoo is good. Especially egg shampoo. But when it comes to talking about video games as an industry, it’s Lorne who sticks to it in general. And not always in a direct way. “Let’s take music, for example, there’s Britney Spears on the one hand, and Pink Floyd on the other, talking about corruption in the music business, and Rage Against the Machine talking about political causes. We’re stil closer to Britney Spears when it comes to gaming”: it has the merit of being clear. Ask Lorne, who is inspired by Pink Floyd, and he responds: “ICO on PS2, it’s brilliant, it’s probably the only game that has reached that point. When I start calling the girl in the game, I saw her hesitating, she was not sure she wanted to join me, this is the first time we see this in a video game, in real-time”. That proves, at least, that he does not have a beef against the PS2… but has he never used a PS2 image as a dartboard? “Yes, once upon a time… but that was before it got replaced by a picture of Bush.” And here, everything is said! He is outspoken. “Part of what the industry needs is a diversity of genres, just like music, if you look in depth, there are different kinds of electronic music, but the problem is that, today, the average game designer has no sources of inspiration outside the industry itself. I know it for a fact since I’m still looking for one.”
WHAT IS NEXT
We all know that Oddworld was envisioned as a quintology. Originally envisioned as movies, these stories will first be developed as video games… but Lorne Lanning still wants to make them as feature films (but in his own way, because the idea of going back to Hollywood and having lunch with “those vampire bozos” makes him “want to puke”), and Sherry McKenna does not hesitate to say that she is not a gamer. She was more invested in the story. “When Lorne told me this story, it took a whole day… The character I fell in love with was Squeek (note: Squeek will be the third character in the series). When he told me we were going to play the first game as Abe, I said, ‘oh, no, not Abe, I do not care about him’… Now I love Abe, dear God, although Squeek still remains my favorite. And the game isn’t even done yet!” But Lorne has the broad lines of the story. “If we compare Oddworld to our world, we’ve only seen Paraguay… It all starts in this little factory where Abe works, but it’s a small part of the Oddworld. We are going to get closer to the very heart of civilization, the society that consumes those products. For the last game, there will be people everywhere, it will be some sort of Hong Kong with people working, moving; everywhere and all the time. That’s why the first game was set in a small place of Oddworld, because I wanted to be able to show all this world and all this activity in the last game. Squeek’s Oddysee is, by analogy, set at the harbor where products arrive, the beginning of civilization… and it will continue afterwards.” Of all the characters in this quintology, we have only seen two so far: Abe and Munch. The latter has just arrived on Xbox…