E3 has come and gone, and now sits as a distant memory in the minds of gamers who eagerly await what the future holds. Last month, PlayStation Universe gave its best-of-show awards for E3 2014, with two titles earning two different awards among the contenders.
One title that received a double dose of love from PSU at this year’s show was Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, which received PSU’s awards for Best Platformer and Best Indie Game. As a game that made waves among those of us here at PlayStation Universe, we wanted to know more. We reached out to folks in charge of the game for their take on what it’s like to remaster the well-known title, and their experiences as indie developers working in the ever-changing industry of video games. CEO of Just Add Water Stewart Gilray and producer on New ‘n’ Tasty Craig Spiers were kind enough to share their insights on the oddworld of independent development.
The universe of Oddworld was created by Oddworld Inhabitants president and creative developer Lorne Lanning back in the '90s, and debuted with Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee in 1997. Since that time, the Oddworld series has become an established franchise. In recent years, games of the series have been getting a visual facelift, coming to newer platforms so that a new generation of gamers is able to visit Oddworld's eccentric locales and characters. The latest to receive a modern facelift is the franchise’s very first title, Abe's Oddysee, now dubbed Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty.
Having seen the new version in action, it’s apparent that much love has gone into this stunning visual overhaul, but has anything more been done beyond translating the PlayStation classic from 2D to 2.5D on the current Sony platforms? Have any subtle or even major changes been made by the folks over at Just Add Water, or has the franchise's debut title been left largely unchanged in its transformation?
“We had access to the original game’s editor,” said producer Craig Spiers, “which let us dig around in both the source code and the levels, and we found a lot of really interesting methods that had been used by the original team. We’ve tried to stick to the spirit of the original design where possible, while opening it up for the improved 2.5D gameplay.
“Subtleties in the original are everywhere, though, as the established fanbase will be happy to tell and show you. We’ve tried to ease up on some of the more aggressive aspects of the original, since (as Lorne once told me) they had some pretty hardcore designers. So we’ll still wipe your inventory when we don’t want the puzzle to be too easy, but we do it less arbitrarily. We’ve upped the limits for projectiles, and we let you use them more. And the bats. The bats don’t one hit kill you anymore, on any difficulty. Those were harsh.”