Oddworld: New n Tasty, Hopes for the Wii U

In an interview with Venturebeat, Lorne Lanning—long time game developer and cofounder of Oddworld—talked about the future of the Oddworld franchise, and it looks like the Wii U is part of that future.

“We’re self-publishing. With Sony that’s a breeze. With Steam it’s a breeze. With Microsoft it’s not a breeze. With Nintendo, something’s going to happen there shortly” Lanning said.

Nintendo has yet to see an Oddworld game grace its hardware, though Lanning and his team at Just Add Water have been rereleasing the old Oddworld games on everything from Steam to mobile devices. The Wii U is the next logical step.

“We’re looking at it and we say, ‘[w]e’ll get over to Wii U.’ As a business model it might not completely make sense, but we want to get to work on Nintendo, get to self-publishing on Nintendo. Everything’s a new store. Everything’s more shelf space. We’re trying to get the brand across that as widely as possible.”

In this advancing digital age of gaming, shelf space is now about visibility and discussion. The install base of a console needn’t be high if the players are passionate and willing to support new content. The PlayStation Vita is a prime example of this, where a large part of a small group regularly buys games.

“We did Stranger HD on Vita, and the publishers were kind of snubbing Vita at the time, because there wasn’t enough [of an install] base to move their dial…we took number two in the U.S. and number one in Europe that Christmas on Vita” Lanning said, proving that it’s the ultimately the players who developers need to appeal to, not publishers.

“The short of it is, the audience will determine what our next content will be for the Oddworld brand. I like that position.”

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty comes out this year on the PlayStation 4 but will (hopefully) be available everywhere soon.

My Opinion

There are right and wrong ways when it comes to game development, and I believe Lorne Lanning is doing everything the right way. Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is a game the fans want, not what publisher focus tests hope consumers want. Lanning polled his audience and acted accordingly, and his thesis of crafting a good game and putting it everywhere is surely better than the big budget ideal of crafting one big mediocre game every year for the primary consoles and PC.

There’s a hungry audience on both the PlayStation Vita and the Wii U, and it’s about time more people see that and feed those niches.

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