Xmas 2001 – Follow Up Interview

Xmas 2001 - Follow Up Interview [Hosted by XboxAddict]
Date: 21 December, 2001
Interviewer: XboxAddict
Interviewee: Christopher Leonard
Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20020206232259/www.xboxaddict.com/interviews/view_interview.php?Interview_ID=15

With the huge success of Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, we decided to catch up with the folks over at Oddworld Inhabitants. We wanted to know if these people smelled the success of their latest creation, yet.

Christopher Leonard, Assistant Producer for Oddworld Inhabitants.

XBA: What’s the word on the street been for Munch’s Oddysee since its release?

Christopher Leonard: The game is doing well and non-gamers are becoming aware of our oddness, which is great. All of us are pleased with the final product, but of course, we all harbor our own personal list of items that we wish could have made it into the game. I don’t think too many developers are ever entirely content with what they create. There’s always something that you know you could have done better. And so while we’re happy that we finished Munch’s Oddysee and that it’s receiving a warm welcome from old and new fans alike, we’re eager to start the next game and address all those things that we know we can improve upon.

XBA: Are there any “Easter Eggs” in Munch’s Oddysee? If so, can you tell us a few.

Christopher Leonard: Does the Easter Bunny tell you where he (or is it a she?) hides its eggs? Do you really want us to tell you where we hid ours? There are a few in the game, but we’d rather keep our eggs close to our chest and let those few, select gamers out there sniff them out like finely-trained French truffle pigs. Well, all right, here’s one hint — be sure to try out the GameSpeak when you possess an enemy. Just don’t repeatedly speak to the same slig or he may grow a bit…ornery.

XBA: Can you explain the different endings of Munch’s Oddysee, and the process you would take to get to them? (good or bad ones).

Christopher Leonard: Sure. If I remember correctly, there are two main endings, one good and one bad. And there are two minor variations on those two endings (for if you’re really, really good or really, really bad). To obtain the good ending, you have to rescue as many fuzzles and mudokons as possible and do your best to keep them from getting killed. Eliminating enemies along the way helps as well. To obtain the bad ending, rescue as few fuzzles and mudokons as possible, kill ’em whenever you got a chance (throw them off cliffs or into water or into mines or tell them to attack when they’re severely outnumbered — it’s really up to you, just kill ’em), and let as many bad guys live as possible. It’s actually worthwhile to achieve both endings. Going for the good ending gets you an extra level (oops, does that count as an Easter Egg?) and that bad ending is classic, dark and twisted Oddworldian humor.

XBA: What are you guys presently working on?

Christopher Leonard:
We’re localizing Munch’s Oddysee for the European market at present. We’re also in the nascent stages of developing our next game. And if you’re really interested, we’re getting all festive in the office and putting up holiday decorations. Like always, those CG guys are outpacing the rest of us. The entrance to their area is lined with holly, mistletoe, Christmas lights, little flying angels, and even a fake deer complete with fake droppings (or at least we hope they’re fake). Once in the CG department, you can bask in the simulated warmth of their simulated fireplace. It’s really quite impressive.

XBA: What are the different languages that Munch’s Oddysee will be translated to?

Christopher Leonard: French, German, Spanish and Italian. The international English version will also feature a few changes.

XBA: Is Lorne Lanning still doing the crazy voices of Abe and Munch in those different languages? If so, what have been the challenges, if any?

Christopher Leonard: Lorne does the majority of the voices for the English version, but he does not do any voice work for the other languages. For the localizations, Microsoft hired local voice talent and sent samples to us. Our people would then review those samples and provide feedback. The challenge is to get the localization team and the foreign language actors to understand the spirit behind Munch’s Oddysee. We here at OWI live and breathe the stuff, so getting others to understand that essence doesn’t happen overnight.

XBA: Are you guys going to incorporate language specific slang?

Christopher Leonard: Well, the goal of localization is to preserve the offbeat humor and personality of the English version. The MS localization team understands this and may have incorporated slang as they deemed appropriate. But as we don’t have in-house language experts, we can’t verify it for ourselves. We have checked out some of the translations and noticed some interesting details. For instance, when we reviewed a French Canadian commercial for Munch, one of our artists, familiar with French, attempted to translate. Apparently, the English slogan of ‘Power-Ups to the People’ doesn’t translate well into the language of love, so they changed it to ‘Power and farts’ and ‘Long live the farting’ (that is, if our translator wasn’t pulling our finger).

XBA: Will Abe and Munch be back as a team in a possible sequel?

Christopher Leonard: Well, you see, the next game is going to have [censored] with lots of [censored] in this really cool [censored] where the player gets to [censored] as long as [censored] [censored] [censored]. We’re really excited about it and I think you’ll agree that we’re on to something unique that we probably shouldn’t reveal just yet. 🙂

XBA: What will the story be about?

Christopher Leonard: It’s the story of a young boy named Pip who inherits a fortune from an unknown benefactor and his unrequited love for a cold, callous woman based on Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s the story of the best of times, of the worst of times set amidst the backdrop of a proletariat-led revolution, which to me really sounds like the worst of times, but anyways. It’s the story of two star-crossed lovers, one from the house of Montague and the other a Capulet. Not to give away the ending, but the boy drowns when the ocean liner he’s on hits an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s really touching. Oh, and the woman? She goes on to be part of the Mod Squad. Well, all right, I’ll give one hint in regards to the story: at the end of Munch’s Oddysee, Munch has a can of gabbiar…and that’s all I can say about that.