Oddworld

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Oddworld
Oddworldlogo.png
Genres Platform, action-adventure
Developers Oddworld Inhabitants
Digital Dialect
Saffire
Just Add Water
Publishers GT Interactive Software
Microsoft Game Studios
Electronic Arts
Creators Sherry McKenna, Lorne Lanning
Platforms PlayStation, MS-DOS, Windows, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Xbox, Xbox 360, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox One, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android
Platform of origin PlayStation
First release Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
1997
Latest release Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!
2014
Official website oddworld.com

Oddworld is a fictional universe presented in video game form, created by game developers Oddworld Inhabitants under the direction of Lorne Lanning. The series has been released on various platforms like PlayStation, Xbox, PlayStation 3 and Windows, and will be released on the Wii U. Four games from the OddWorld series have been added to the OnLive cloud gaming service.[1]

Throughout games set in the Oddworld universe, Oddworld's peaceful nature is in danger of being consumed by the industrial ambition of sadistic corporations. Oddworld, as a planet, is measured as ten times the size of Earth, a fraction of which has been featured in the games.

Oddworld planet[edit]

Oddworld is the name of the planet on which all four Oddworld Inhabitants games are based. Existing in another dimension,[2] the planet was originally described as ten times the size of Earth, Oddworld Inhabitants president and creative developer Lorne Lanning has since explained that it is Oddworld's surface area that is ten times the size of Earth's, being that Oddworld is predominantly a dry, land planet and Earth is predominantly water-filled.[3] It has its own sun and thus its own orbit resulting in a unique clock and calendar.[2]

At some point, the planet suffered huge natural turmoils that resulted in volcanic crusts forming a new layer that coated the entire planet. When that crust collapsed, it created giant 1000-foot craters all over the planet.[3] The planet has a total of three layers, each with its own climate, temperature and gravitational levels.[3] The giant craters were then used by the various Oddworld species to house their cities, whose tips could be seen protruding above the crust surface when looking across the landscape.[3]

Only one of Oddworld's continents has been featured in the games developed by the studio – Mudos – and only a tiny fraction of Mudos has been seen in-game.[4] The journeys of Abe through Abe's Oddysee, Abe's Exoddus and Munch's Oddysee take him through that small portion, depicting that part of Mudos as being composed of fields, jungles, deserts, caverns and swamps. But its vast natural landscapes have been overrun and decimated by the industrialist developer species aimed at exploiting land and wildlife for their own profit. Their mark is left on Oddworld through its city-sized factories and mass transit systems.

Oddworld species[edit]

The protagonist species of the games in the Oddworld universe are the mudokons. Featuring in Abe's Oddysee, Abe's Exoddus and Munch's Oddysee, the mudokons are peaceful, spiritual creatures at one with nature. But Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning gave the mudokons a rich history during the development of the games. He explained that the mudokons were not always "good".[5] While the mudokons, in particular Abe, represent a class of slaves exploited by the upper class, their ability to possess other species and control them has been seen as hypocritical.[6]

In the Oddworld games, the GameSpeak feature allows the player to interact with the non-playable characters (NPCs). Examples of GameSpeak commands in the original game, Abe's Oddysee, are "Hello," "Follow me," and "Wait." Rescuing Mudokons and opening certain doors are all achieved through GameSpeak. Enemies possessed by Abe can also use GameSpeak, and one can use Glukkons to order subservient Sligs around, or use Sligs to call their Slog pets to heel. GameSpeak also included less essential actions such as burps and farts, which were added with intent of a comical effect. In "Munch's Oddysee" several creatures were added to the game including Vykkers, Interns and Big Bro Sligs. Other species include Armored Vykkers, Armored Interns, Armored Big Bro Sligs, Fuzzles, Meeps and Gabbits. The Vykkers have four arms and legs. The Interns have their mouths stitched shut, a so-called "Bikini", a hat and headphones, and Big Bro Sligs are bigger and more powerful versions of the Sligs (the armored ones are just armored versions of the creatures). The Fuzzles are little fuzzy creatures that help Munch throughout his journey, Meeps look like sheep, but with one foot/paw and one eye and the Gabbit is a water creature with a flipper. The other Mudokons include Native Mudokons, Scrub Mudokons, Tomahawker Mudokons and the Mudarcher Mudokons.

The GameSpeak feature was modified in Stranger's Wrath, with a single talk button that caused the Stranger to say something appropriate to the situation. For example, when the Stranger needed to cash in a bounty on an Outlaw, pressing the talk button would cause him to say, "Best be gettin' to the bounty store." This context-sensitive GameSpeak also worked for questioning the Clakker and Grubb townsfolk. This change made the talk button more comparable to a universal-action button in Stranger's Wrath.

Mudokons, Scrabs, Paramites and Glukkons were designed by Steven Olds.[7]

Games set on Oddworld[edit]

The developers originally stated that the Oddworld series would be a pentalogy called the Oddworld Quintology, and that Abe's Exoddus and Stranger's Wrath games were bonus titles not counting toward the total of five. The Oddworld Adventures Games are handheld versions of Abe's Oddysee and Exoddus. The Quintology was halted after the first two games, when the company decided to redirect its efforts toward film production. There were also a few titles that were hinted at in interviews and press releases, but they were never developed.

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee[edit]

At the beginning of this game, Abe is a happy, ignorant worker at RuptureFarms, a meat-packing plant.[8] Working late at RuptureFarms, Abe passes an advertisement billboard for the upcoming latest product in the Tasty Treats line of snacks, and eavesdrops the factory's annual board meeting. Here, he learns that wildlife resources have become depleted, for which reason Abe's boss Molluck the Glukkon has decided to use the factory's Mudokon slaves as a ready source of meat.[9] After this epiphany, Abe panics and escapes from his workplace. At the end of the game's introductory sequence, which is a retrospective voice-over by Abe,[10] he runs for his life.[8] The Mudokons’ spiritual leader, the BigFace, appears to the unconscious Abe in a vision, revealing that the Mudokon race once lived freely with nature before they were enslaved by the Glukkons, and that their sacred animals were the very same ones being slaughtered and processed to manufacture 'New and Tasty'. Prophecies have foretold of a Mudokon saviour whose worth would be tested by a journey to relight holy flames that were extinguished by the Glukkons. Abe does this with the aid of his pet Elum and then receives mystic tattoos. Abe infiltrates RuptureFarms, killing its entire board of executives before being captured and taken to a holding cell, where he has enough time to pore over the last day before facing execution. Should the player save over a certain number of Mudokons, Abe's actions will have impressed the holy Mudokons, who rescue Abe and transport him to safety, where he receives a hero's welcome from the Mudokons he rescued. Should the player not save a sufficient number, Abe will not be rescued and is executed by Molluck.

Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus[edit]

Abe's Oddysee was very popular, and the bonus game Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus was released the following year.[8] Abe's Exoddus begins where Abe's Oddysee ends.[11] Abe's abilities in this game were similar to his abilities in the first game,[12] with an expanded ability to communicate with other characters in the world using GameSpeak.[13] As he was celebrating his new celebrity status, ghosts of old Mudokons appeared before him[14] and told him that Necrum, a once sacred Mudokon burial ground, was being excavated by Glukkons, using blind Mudokons as slaves.[9] Abe again journeys to the Scrab and Paramite lands, along with Alf, Ben, Phos, Han, and Luke[15] to find a cure to the sickness the SoulStorm brew created from the excavated bones. Curing his friends, he then travels to FeeCo Depot, the main hub for many productions. He travels to Bonewerkz and the Slig Barracks to board the train to the Soulstorm Brewery – and eventually blows it up. If Abe actually tampers with the main boiler, Abe teleports from the explosion just in time and is greeted by all his saved Mudokon friends, one of which is Alf. If not, he is electrocuted by The Brewmaster.

Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee[edit]

A new character called Munch was added to this game.[12] Not long after the events of Abe's Exoddus, Abe helps Munch (the last living remnant of an amphibious race called the Gabbits) to destroy Vykkers labs and save Gabbit eggs from destruction. They prevent the Gabbits from dying out completely. This increases his status as a hero and also makes him very unpopular with the Glukkon queen, Lady Margaret.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath[edit]

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is an action-adventure game published for the Xbox in 2005. The game's main character is a bounty hunter called Stranger. The game utilizes both third and first-person perspectives and is less puzzle-oriented than the previous three Oddworld games.[16] The game has a Wild West setting. It was later ported to the PC and release through the digital distribution service Steam.

Released titles[edit]

Title Year Platforms Developer Publisher Notes
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee 1997 PlayStation, Windows, PSN (2008), OnLive (2012) Oddworld Inhabitants GT Interactive[17] First pentalogy game.
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus 1998 PlayStation, Windows, PSN (2008), OnLive (2012) Oddworld Inhabitants GT Interactive[18] Bonus pentalogy game and a sequel to Abe's Oddysee.
Oddworld Adventures 1998 Game Boy Saffire GT Interactive[19] Handheld version of Abe's Oddysee.
Oddworld Adventures 2 2000 Game Boy Color Saffire GT Interactive[20] Handheld version of Abe's Exoddus.
Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee 2001 Xbox, Windows (2010), PS3 (2012), OnLive (2012) Oddworld Inhabitants, Just Add Water (port) Microsoft Game Studios[21] Second pentalogy game.
Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee 2003 Game Boy Advance Art Co., Ltd THQ[22] Handheld version of Xbox game.
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath 2005 Xbox, Windows (2010), PS3 (2011), PS Vita (2012), OnLive (2012), Wii U (2013), iOS (2014) Oddworld Inhabitants, Just Add Water Ltd. (port) Electronic Arts[23] First-person shooter/third-person platformer.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! 2014 Windows, OS X, Linux, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox One Just Add Water Oddworld Inhabitants A re-creation of Abe's Oddysee. Made on the Unity3D game engine.

Unreleased titles[edit]

  • Oddworld: The Hand of Odd. A real-time strategy game planned to be online. Although being halted when Citizen Siege was planned, it has since been revived as plans for its development have been announced.[24] Said to be in production after Abe HD. It is said to be free-to-play with optional extras that may be purchased.
  • SligStorm. It would have followed the story of an albino Slig who was born in a complex it must escape to avoid infanticide, and would have been included with Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus in a combined package. On 9 May 2011, an Oddworld Inhabitants representative released a list of FAQ answers in relation to future games, confirming Sligstorm will be worked on after Abe HD and The Hand of Odd.[25] It is not clear where in the Oddworld continuity the game will fit.
  • The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot. Originally intended to be the next game following Stranger's Wrath. Announced in April 2005, Fangus Klot was cancelled by Oddworld Inhabitants founders Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna over deal disagreements with publishers Majesco Entertainment. In the 9 May 2011 FAQ, an Oddworld Inhabitants representative confirmed Fangus Klot is in future plans.[25]
  • Oddworld: Squeek's Oddysee. Expected third game in the original quintology following the first two entries Abe's Oddysee and Munch's Oddysee. In the 9 May 2011 FAQ, an Oddworld Inhabitants representative confirmed Squeek’s Oddysee is on the cards after The Hand of Odd, Abe HD, The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot and Sligstorm are released.[25]
  • Oddworld: Munch's Exoddus. Expected to be a bonus game based on Munch's Oddysee outside of the original pentalogy, in the same way that Abe's Exoddus was to Abe's Oddysee. It would have featured Munch traveling to a land named "Ma'Spa" to hatch the Gabbit eggs acquired from the original game. It is unknown whether or not the game was cancelled or halted.
  • Oddworld: Slave Circus. In an AMA on Reddit, Lorne Lanning discussed a possible future "gladiator" type Oddworld title, in which the player could purchase and battle slaves. "I have been fixated on a game called "oddworld Slave Circus". It is seriously whack. You start the game by buying a slave. Think Gladiators on Oddworld. Have done a tremendous amount of work on this and have never mentioned it. But it is in the coffer and there may be some light for it down the road. But has some other contingencies depending on it. Requires new level of social integration into console gaming. It's insane. Hopefully not so insane it won't come to life."
  • Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath 2. On 17 January 2013, on the Oddworld website, the Oddworld team asked which game fans would like to see after completion on "Abe's Oddysee New 'n' Tasty". Among the options was "Stranger's Wrath 2".
  • Stranger Arena. A competitive multiplayer game using gameplay mechanics from Stranger's Wrath.[26]

OddBoxx[edit]

In 2009, the director of Oddworld, Lorne Lanning, announced that they planned to make an Oddworld digital download package for PC. This package contains Abe's Oddysee, Abe's Exoddus, Munch's Oddysee and Stranger's Wrath. Oddworld Inhabitants unveiled their re-designed website on 4 November 2010, also declaring that the Oddboxx was still in development.[27] On 6 December, they announced that the Oddboxx would be released for the 2010 holiday season.[28] The European and U.S. prices were revealed on 14 December.[29] On 17 December, Oddworld Inhabitants announced Oddboxx release date as 20 December, with a 25% discount offer running until 9AM (PST) the following morning.[30] On 20 December 2010, the Oddboxx was released on Steam.[31] Achievements have been added to the two 3D games – Munch's Oddysee received 30, and Stranger's Wrath gained 20.

On 29 April 2011, JAW announced at GameCity Nights that the Oddboxx would be coming to the PlayStation Network (with other platforms to be announced). Stranger's Wrath HD was released on PlayStation 3 on 27 December 2011, and Munch's Oddysee HD in December 2012. Stranger's Wrath has 37 Trophies and Munch's Oddysse has 45 Trophies. Every Oddworld title is now available on the PSN, making the PS3 the only console to offer the entire Oddboxx other than the PC. These remakes are currently cancelled for Xbox 360.

Characters[edit]

Main article: Abe (Oddworld)

Abe is the strongly developed central character of the Oddworld series.[32] He can also use GameSpeak, a way of communicating with other characters in the game.[12] Along with Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot, Abe was one of the unofficial mascots of the PlayStation One.[33] Computer and Video Games described Abe as "a new platform hero" and a "brilliant character."[34] Lanning, Oddworld's creator, has stated that its "characters are driven in a way that is fired by larger [moral] issues."[8] The appearance of the Glukkon species was based on that of the villainous Teacher character from 1982 film Pink Floyd—The Wall.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

The Oddworld games have received more than 100 industry awards.[35] Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee received more than 24 awards and three nominations from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences over 1997 and 1998.[36] Oddworld also was nominated for a Grammy with the release of Abe's Exoddus: the Movie (a short film combined with cutscenes from Exoddus).[citation needed] In 2010, Game Informer included it on the list of ten gaming franchises that should be revived, specifically counting for the return of Abe.[37]

As of 18 March 2014, The digital releases of Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus have sold one million units. The digital releases of all games combined have sold two million units. The franchise as a whole has sold seven million copies.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Abe Mudokon, Twitter
  2. ^ a b "Dear Alf March 2013 (Volume 1)". Oddworld Inhabitants. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Nathan interviews Lorne Lanning again". Oddblog. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Ballistic Publishing, The Art of Oddworld: The First Ten Years 1994–2004, page 58
  5. ^ "Nathan interviews Lorne Lanning again". Oddblog. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Editorial: Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus". gog.com. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Lanning, L. (31 August 2013) https://twitter.com/lorne_lanning/status/373845473389334528 "@stewartgilray @Thekirbyxox paramites, scrabs, mudokons, and glukkons were designed by Steve Olds." Twitter.com
  8. ^ a b c d Carr, Diane, David Buckingham, Andrew Burn, Gareth Schott, 2006, Computer Games: Text, Narrative and Play, Polity
  9. ^ a b White, Jason, Oddworld Adventures 2, All Game.
  10. ^ Clarke, Andy, Grethe Mitchell, 2007, Videogames and Art, Intellect Books.
  11. ^ Something strange is brewing in 'Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus', CNN.
  12. ^ a b c DeMaria, Rusel, Johnny L. Wilson, 2003, High Score! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, McGraw-Hill Professional
  13. ^ Thomas, Maureen, François Penz, 2003, Architectures of Illusion: From Motion Pictures to Navigable Interactive Environments, Intellect Books
  14. ^ Abe biography, Official Oddworld Website.
  15. ^ Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
  16. ^ Underneath It All, Substance Sells, New York Times.
  17. ^ Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Moby Games
  18. ^ Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, Moby Games
  19. ^ Oddworld: Adventures, Moby Games
  20. ^ Oddworld: Adventures 2, Moby Games
  21. ^ Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Moby Games
  22. ^ Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Moby Games
  23. ^ Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Moby Games
  24. ^ "Oddworld: The Hand of Odd revived, Stranger's Wrath HD delayed". Daily Gaming News. Neoseeker. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  25. ^ a b c "FAQ". Oddworld Inhabitants. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  26. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (4 April 2014). "Lorne Lanning explains his canned Stranger Arena multiplayer game". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  27. ^ "The Oddboxx | Oddworld Inhabitants". Oddworld.com. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  28. ^ "Oddboxx – Gets release window! | Oddworld Inhabitants". Oddworld.com. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  29. ^ "Oddboxx – Euro and U.S. Prices. Also online retail partners announced! | Oddworld Inhabitants". Oddworld.com. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  30. ^ "ODDWORLD INHABITANTS’ ODDBOXX: STEAM DECEMBER 20TH RELEASE DATE CONFIRMATION AND HOLIDAY SALE PARTICIPATION | Oddworld Inhabitants". Oddworld.com. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  31. ^ "IGN: The Oddboxx". Pc.ign.com. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  32. ^ Carr, Diane, Andrew Burn, Gareth Schott, David Buckingham, Textuality in Video Games, Utrecht University and Digital Games Research Association
  33. ^ "Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee". IGN. 9 November 2001. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  34. ^ "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus". Computerandvideogames.com. 15 August 2001. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  35. ^ Morris, Chris, Microsoft takes Oddworld, CNN Money
  36. ^ Barlow, Nove, This Week in Gaming History, The Escapist
  37. ^ Ten Franchises That Deserve A Revival – Features – www.GameInformer.com
  38. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (18 March 2014). "New 'n' Tasty needs to sell 500K to fund an original new Oddworld game". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 

External links[edit]