I’ve always been a fan of Lorne Lanning’s work, the very intriguing and always fun Oddworld series, a series I’ve played for most of my life. Despite how unique and creative the world within Oddworld was and still is, it seems like the creators behind the series didn’t really earn much in the beginning.
We’ve learned this via an interview with Metro and Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning. The interview started off with the big question: Why did Lanning and the team behind Oddworld take a whopping eight year hiatus from the games industry? The answer is both simple and incredibly complex: they wanted ownership of the Oddworld series, and their company.
In a very direct and clear message, Lanning explains that both himself and his partner Sherry McKenna created the Oddworld universe in the aim to craft a series like Star Wars, or the Muppets, or the Disney universe – not to be acquired later for a big payoff. The problem was that not quite long ago (and still to this day), the precedence was for larger publishers to simply look to acquire more talent via acquisitions.
Lanning refused to name the company (it was EA) that was doing some under-handed things in an attempt to eventually force the company into an acquisition. In their case, after an audit they found millions and millions of dollars that were in error (and not in their favor), thus invalidating their potential royalties from the sales of their games.
They could have sold a million copies, and they wouldn’t receive a single royalty cheque. So they decided to take an extended hiatus from the industry, because they were all done with large, greedy publishers who rake in all the money and simply look to acquire talent – and sometimes even shutter previously acquired studios.
Due to the fraudulent nature of those errors, they were able to get the company back, and the complete ownership of the Oddworld series. Ever since then, they’ve teamed up with Just Add Water in the great task of remastering the older games, and even more recently – completely remake the original game, Abe’s Oddysee, as the upcoming Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is set for a release on July 22nd in North America and on July 23rd in Europe, on the Playstation 4. The other versions across PS3, Vita, PC, and Wii U still haven’t been dated yet.