Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee interview

Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee interview [hosted by Xbox Corp]
Date: 3 May, 2002
Interviewers: Ben & Aurora
Interviewee: Rob Brown
Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20021205090655/http://xboxcorp.com/interview1.shtml


Q: First off, could you introduce yourselves and what your position is at Oddworld Inhabitants?

Rob Brown: Greetings, I’m Rob Brown, Art Director Interactive.

Q: We have seen the excellent work with the Xbox hardware with Munch’s Oddysee, will this be improved in the future, and if so, how drastically?

Rob Brown: From real-time’s outlook, we are very excited and are looking forward to improving content with the abilities of the Xbox. I would hate to create any expectations so here is my real answer. “We are very happy with the new look and are still being surprised as to the Xbox’s ability to handle our ever growing demands.” However, what we yell at each other about new improvements in the studio is a different story. “Holy sugar! Look at that.. How many polygons is it? Damn, that’s crazy.”

Q: Where did the concept of Munch originate from, and how has it evolved from the beginning states?

Rob Brown: I know that Munch’s original story was always part of the Oddworld quintology that Lorne Lanning, our President and Creative Director, has been bouncing around in his brain for many years. It would be difficult to chronicle the evolution of Munch’s story, as a great deal of it was seasoned simply in Lorne’s brain. I do know that he wasn’t happy with how the story changed over the course of production and the challenges that arouse being on different systems, problems with engineering and then the further impact on game design, etc. All of these factors changed the story quite a bit from its original intention.

Q: If there were one thing you could have changed with the final product of Munch’s Oddysee, what would it be?

Rob Brown: I wanted more zooters and farkles. In case you didn’t know, a zooter and a farkle are the shiny twinkles that automotive designers put on renderings as the very final stage of the drawing. I guess it’s a natural urge in most artists to want more time for these types of things. I also wanted more time, and with it I would have added dozens and dozens of zooters and farkles.

Q: What originally made you decide to switch from PS2 to Xbox, and would you develop for the PS2 in the future?

Rob Brown: Once we compared apples to apples, it was crystal clear that the Xbox offered far more than the PS2. It was that simple. The future of what we’ll develop on is not really my domain. However, Oddworld’s immediate future is dedicated to the Xbox, which includes at least the next 3 titles. All of our departments are happy to build a new game and engine from scratch that is dedicated to the Xbox. I know that if we told them we were going back to the PS2… there would be a lot of grunts and groans (and that’s before production starts!)

Q: How has the game play changed since it has first developed on PS2? I originally heard the game was about Abe’s mother, is this true, and how did Munch play a role in that story?

Rob Brown: Yes, there was an early storyline that involved Abe’s mother that never made it to the final cut; but obviously made it to the press ;). The design grows and contracts throughout the development process and maybe it’s a testament to the power of Oddworld’s story when people become attached to a character during the early phases of development. So, although it was disappointing to not have her in this story, it was nice to see how much people cared about meeting her.

Q: Where do you see Oddworld Inhabitants ten years down the road?

Rob Brown: 10 years? Hmm, that means Oddworld will be 17 years old…. Wow, Oddworld will almost be a grownup by then. The ability to drive, get tattoos (without consent), and voting will all be right around the corner. I predict that real-time art will replace all other known media! Computer graphics, TV, movies, the Internet, and even the all-popular operating systems will all be done in real time… Wait, my view of the future might be just slightly biased, and perhaps a little unbalanced. Anyhow, Oddworld will be telling about the journey for a long time to come. Whether everything will be real-time remains to be seen.

Q: What was your opinion on the Xbox launch foreign and domestic?

Rob Brown: Having never launched a game system, it’s a little bold for me to comment on how it was done. However, I think it’s fair to say that anyone who develops for any platform would like to have an enormous installed base so there are more opportunities for people to buy your game. With the latest announcement of the price cut in Europe, that should definitely stoke the fire.

Q: When you are not working, what games do you play (any system)?

Rob Brown: I love multiplayer gaming, especially over the Internet. When I was in school we used to go to this espresso café and just buy a cup of coffee and hang out with your friends. Nowadays the ‘café’ has moved to the Internet and the cup of coffee is your high-speed Internet access. I currently enjoy Dark Age of Camelot, Quake 3- Urban Terror, Jedi Knight 2, Progress Quest, Kung Fu Chess and Co-op Halo.

Q: Will you have anything to show at E3, if so, will it be in playable or video form?

Rob Brown: Ya know, right now we’re in “highly, super secret, classified, upon punishment of losing all rights to everything important, part of production” It’s my guess that we won’t have anything but “highly, super secret, classified” stuff at E3.