Exclusive Interview with Lorne Lanning [2005]

Exclusive Interview with Lorne Lanning [Hosted by Power Unlimited]

Date: 01/02/2005

Author of the transcript: Havoc from Oddworld Forums

Source: http://www.oddworldforums.net/showthread.php?t=12179

While I was cleaning my room just an hour ago, I came accross an unopend copy of a popular Dutch gaming magazine; Power Unlimited. It was the copy of Febuary in which I not only found a membership card which I can get discounts on games for, but also an exclusive interview with Lorne Lanning about their new asset (back then not yet released): Strangers Wrath. I tried to translate it the best I could, so here we go.

PU: Stranger’s Wrath was announced as a PS2 and X-box title. Though now it has only appeared on X-box?

Lanning: Strangers Wrath started out as an X-box exclusive title. There never were any plans to take it to PS2 until we signed a contract at EA. They brought in a team of very talented PS2 developers who would toy around with the game a bit. In the end it all came down to timing though; a PS2 version simply wouldn’t be done on time.

PU: You left Microsoft. Had a fight?

Lanning: No, we left in good judgement from both sides and the feeling we both should go our own ways was working both ways. And I still stand behind my point about X-box being a superior piece of hardware, which I like to develop games for.

PU: Did you choose for Stranger on purpose since the last Oddworld game (Munch’s Oddysee) didn’t turn out to be a big commercial success?

Lanning: Munch was a very good learning school. Both creative wise as business wise. Munch sold pretty well by the way, so it was somewhat a success. And if I could speak for gaming in general; some games are downright crap but become a success because of a very slick commercial campaign. The same goes vice versa.
This time our game is balanced on all fronts, because in the end making a game no one wants to play isn’t good – for anyone. EA is known for the powerful marketing, so we are putting our hopes in that. But in the end all that matters to me is to make an entertaining game that just happens to sell relatively good. Great marketing doesn’t make me or my team proud. A good game does.

PU: What were the inspirations for Stranger? I clearly detect some Clint Eastwood.

Lanning: Clint has defiantly been of some influence. Just like the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. But Stranger is more then a gun-slinging desperado. The inspiration for the hero came from multiple angles. He isn’t human but does have a lot of human emotions where gamers can reflect themselves in. He uses his arms and legs as a gorilla, but can run with the speed of a cheetah, so he has a lot of animal markings as well.

PU: Who came up with the idea for live ammo? I myself find this a great idea!

Lanning: Well thank you very much! The idea was crawling around with me, and the team started to work it out. A lot of our ideas are based on the nature around us. Also it’s a fairly known tactic for hunters, fishermen and Indians to use animals as bate. We wanted to have the shooting element, but at the same time wanted Stranger to hate guns. We didn’t want to make it to violent.

PU: What kind of thing is Stranger anyway? A dog? A wolf? A bear-like creature?

Yes, yes, yes and a lot more (laughs).

PU: Is this a one-time trip, or will we see more of Stranger?

Lanning: I’m almost sure we will see plenty more of Stranger. There is more then enough content to create an own franchise but he could possibly also play a role in another game. But I don’t want to get ahead on things.

PU: Will we see Abe and Munch ever again?

Lanning: Abe and Munch have stars in their eyes! When you see them again, it will be on a much bigger screen!

PU: The past Oddworld games were know for their funny hidden messages. Does Strangers Wrath have one of those messages?

Lanning: Definitely! The message of over-consuming is strongly present in Stranger Wrath, but its more fun to discover that yourself before I start preaching about it.