Odd hap­pen­ings

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Od­dworld cre­ator Lorne Lan­ning on what’s next for Abe and co

With New ’N’ Tasty now well beyond the fac­tory gates and out into the wilds, pub­lisher Od­dworld In­hab­i­tants is tak­ing a breather while it con­sid­ers its next move. The ob­vi­ous choice, and one that the Od­dworld se­ries’ ex­tremely loyal fans are also hop­ing for, would be to give Od­dworld: Abe’s Ex­od­dus the New ’N’ Tasty treat­ment, but co-founder and COO Lorne Lan­ning is think­ing fur­ther ahead, too.

“If we sell 250,000 copies of New ’N’ Tasty, then we could get into Ex­o­dus,” he tells us. “But sell­ing 500,000 would re­ally al­low us to look at new IP.” Ex­actly what form that new IP would take is un­de­cided at this stage, how­ever. Although the signs are pos­i­tive, Lan­ning is re­main­ing cau­tiously op­ti­mistic as to whether a third Od­dworld plat­former, built from scratch or oth­er­wise, would find an au­di­ence after the amount of time it would take to reach com­ple­tion. But com­mer­cial con­sid­er­a­tions aside, the de­signer in Lan­ning doesn’t rel­ish the prospect of build­ing more of the same when there are other op­tions to ex­plore.

“The truth is that where my heart is at right now is in new me­chan­ics,” he ex­plains. “I’ve ac­tu­ally de­signed quite a bit of Fan­gus [AKA Od­dworld: The Bru­tal Bal­lad Of Fan­gus Klot], and it’s very dif­fer­ent. It’s a 3D world, but I want more pro­ce­dural world gen­er­a­tion and higher res­o­lu­tions, and I don’t think that stuff is quite right yet. Beyond that, I would def­i­nitely want nat­u­ral-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties and physics, so that we re­ally take that sense of life to another level.”

Lan­ning, chuck­ling to him­self, de­scribes Fan­gus as an in­tense blend of

Lorne Lan­ning on find­ing new ways to play, and the fu­ture of his company’s famed se­ries

Man On Fire and Old Yeller, but ad­mits that de­spite its fairly ad­vanced state there’s still a great deal of ex­pen­sive ex­per­i­men­ta­tion needed to fig­ure out how to make the game’s me­chan­ics (which he won’t be drawn on) sit well to­gether. “When I look at Od­dworld, what ex­cites me most is those new prop­erty pos­si­bil­i­ties,” he says. “But they’re huge ef­forts to do. When it comes to the 2D stuff, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how Alf’s Es­cape [DLC in which you res­cue the 300th Mu­dokon] does. It’s prob­a­bly one of the deep­est lev­els in the game, and we re­ally wanted to make it spe­cial be­cause, like any­thing we do, we want the au­di­ence to ap­pre­ci­ate the qual­ity we put into it even if it’s not that huge a play.”

If it goes down well, Lan­ning muses, the Od­dworld se­ries – at least, the 2D games within it – could adopt a more episodic re­lease strat­egy. “In­stead of hav­ing to spend $2 mil­lion to get the next one out and take how­ever long,” he says, “in three to six months we might be able to of­fer two or three more lev­els of a slightly dif­fer­ent story. If that could work, it would give us a shorter time to mar­ket pos­si­bil­ity that we haven’t re­ally had on the prop­erty be­fore.”

“As I got more demos on Ocu­lus and Mor­pheus, I re­alised just how game-chang­ing this is go­ing to be”

Given that there is so much good­will to­wards the Od­dworld se­ries from a highly in­volved fan­base – Od­dworld In­hab­i­tants can­vassed play­ers to ask what project they would like to see be­fore work started on New ’N’ Tasty – Kick­s­tarter would seem to be a par­tic­u­larly good fit. It would not only help to raise the cap­i­tal needed to build Od­dworld’s trade­mark

Od­dworld co-founder and COO Lorne Lan­ning

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