Oddworld: Soulstorm

Oddworld Inhabitants "making serious games that are seriously funny"

Co-founder Lorne Lanning told us about the balance between serious themes and dark humour in Oddworld: Soulstorm.

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Oddworld Inhabitants' co-founder Lorne Lanning was on hand at E3 this year to talk about Oddworld: Soulstorm, which we also got our hands on (check out our preview), and during the interview below we asked about the themes this game will explore, which will be a mixture of serious and funny.

"Abe starts at the bottom in the worst place you'd ever wanna be, and just through desperation of trying to stay alive and trying to help others that are in a similar circumstance, winds up starting to affect economies, shutting down factories, and eventually leads to uprisings that leads to movements that will lead to revolutions that will eventually change the world," Lanning told us. "So that's the theme, the story that we wanted to get back to - the slave that rises and changes the world after becoming public enemy number one, just because he's trying to do the right thing."

"We're building off the legacy of it, right, and it's always supposed to be funny. We have some pretty heavy messaging in there, but it's all like dark side of globalisation, let's laugh at ourselves, and that kind of black humour, like let's not take our problems too seriously but let's not ignore them either," he continued.

"Humour's always a critical part, and you know at the end of the day we're making serious games that are seriously funny. First of all, it's gotta be a great game, no matter what message you wanna embed or subtext or this or that - it's gotta be a great game because that's where people are putting their money and their value. And then hopefully it can be an inspiring game beyond just games."

Lanning went on to say that the team has had "thousands of stories of the influence that Abe's had on [fans'] lives, and one of the things we always do - speaking of lives - is infinite lives. That's because we never want you to be a loser, right, and there's nothing that makes me feel a loser like 'you didn't do it right three times, now do it all over damn it' and you're like 'that sucked!' That was a quarter-driven mentality, philosophy for making games, but for us it's like, you fail and then boop, you're reborn pretty close by to your last failed position and you can keep on going until you succeed."

A huge part of this Oddworld personality is the voices that are given to Abe, the Mudokons, the Sligs, and all the other characters, and at around the 9:35 of the interview below you can hear some of these voices in action as Lanning explains how they're used to evoke sympathy and make you care for your followers in particular.

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