5 Oddworld questions with the man behind the Stranger’s Wrath remake

5 Oddworld questions with the man behind the Stranger's Wrath remake [Hosted by Bitmob]
Date: 22 April, 2011
Interviewer: Toby Davis
Interviewee: Stewart Gilray

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20110425023905/http://bitmob.com/articles/five-fascinating-oddworld-questions-with-just-add-waters-ceo-stewart-gilray

Stewart Gilray is not only the CEO of Just Add Water Ltd (JAW), the company working on the enhanced remake of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, but he’s a fan of the Oddworld series as well. A lot of CEOs might care for their intellectual property, but somehow I think JAW is doing more than that. I asked him a few questions to find out why.

Toby Davis: Did you start talking about doing an Oddworld game before or after (JAW’s previous project) Gravity Crash, and how did you come to get your hands on the property?

Stewart Gilray: The talks started in July 2009, so that was before GC was published. I’ve been a fan since the beginning, to be honest, and over the years I kept thinking it would be great to see a 2.5D remake of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. In March 2009, I was introduced to Lorne [Lanning, creator of the Oddworld series] at [Game Developers Conference] by a mutual friend.

Roll forward to July, and we started talking about doing an Abe game on the iPhone. So we spent months looking through old backups, trying to find the original code and data, to no avail. Then in April 2010, we were talking about something completely unrelated, and the topic of the Oddboxx [Oddworld compilation] on PC came up. We ended up taking over development of Stranger’s Wrath on PC, something that two previous developers had tried. And that was it, really.

Toby Davis: Do you feel there’s been any difficulty or learning curve, going from a game like Gravity Crash to a game like Stranger’s Wrath?

Stewart Gilray: Not really, as you have to remember the team here has been in games development for an absolute age — most of us since the ’80s. So we’ve made every type of game going.

I think the biggest learning curve we’ve had is getting to know the build process and how it all works. That’s something we are still struggling with to some degree now. The data formats in Stranger are very complex and getting them onto the PS3 has caused some issues….Big Endian data format vs. Little Endian data format.

Toby Davis: How has the art team put its style into this game? And will this art style stay consistent throughout the remainder of your games?

Stewart Gilray: Interesting question. We don’t want to stray from the original art style of the game; if anything, we are possibly amplifying it rather than changing it. The new front end, for example, is based upon the original designs [Odd World Inhabitants] did in 2003, so it’s great to use those designs/styles as reference and get the job done now.

Toby Davis: Who is the biggest Oddworld fan in the office, and what makes him the biggest fan?

Stewart Gilray: Oh, that’s a tricky one. It’s either me or Tom Bramall, our new artist. What makes us fans? Just love for the games, which is the main reason we are working so closely with OWI — we are fans first and foremost.

Toby Davis: Given the large fan base for the Oddworld series, does creating a remake bring an additional amount of pressure?

Stewart Gilray: As I’m such a fan, too, I’m putting pressure on us already to make sure I’m happy…which in turn will hopefully make the fan base happy.