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Munchlog.jpg (39242 bytes)
By Oddworld Inhabitants
Due 2001 for Xbox

New Xbox Screens 01.08.01 Click here.
Download Quicktime clip here.
(rtcammvm.mov  17.8MB)

Editor's Note: As of October 23, 2000, Oddworld Inhabitants announced Munch's Oddysee will no longer be released on the PlayStation 2. Rather, it and the rest of the Oddworld Quintology will be released on Microsoft's X-Box. As far as we know, the game will remain unchanged. Click here for the Press Release.

 

Alf1-01.jpg (4369 bytes)Oddworld Inhabitants is on a mission. A mission from Odd. Their revolutionary games for the PC and PlayStation, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee and Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, have redefined the 2D sidescroller. In an age where everyone is churning out 3D games, even if they have to do it poorly, Oddworld Inhabitants have stuck to their guns. Their rationale is that gameplay and aesthetics should not be sacrificed for technological clout, and it is a decision that has made the Oddworld games modicums of quality. Recently the Inhabitants have announced their latest game, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, now in development for the Xbox, and it looks amazing.

Herd08-01.jpg (3191 bytes)We've seen tantilizing screenshots and a few graphics demos from the Xbox, but actual game play renderings have been hard to come by. In several short clips, Oddworld Inhabitants show us what we can look forward to. The Academy Award winning FMVs of the former Oddworld games are a good comparison for the actual game graphics of Munch's Oddysee. The graphics redefine beautiful. The in-game camera is phenomenal, providing highly cinematic shots that are no less than breathtaking. Oh yes, the future is bright indeed.

AirRaid10-01.jpg (3533 bytes)Munch's Oddysee revolves around another skewed contemporary fable. As Abe and the Mudokons had to rise up against their ruthless oppressors, so must Munch, a Gabbit, work to overthrow the evil Glukkons. Gabbit lungs are convenient transplants for Glukkon lungs worn out by too much evil cigar puffing, and Glukkons also love "Gabbiare," a delicacy made from Gabbit eggs. It's a good deal for the Glukkons, but the Gabbits have all but died out. Poor Munch is the only one left, and he becomes Abe's unwilling compatriot.

AirRaid8-01.jpg (2956 bytes)Throughout the game, you will play as both Abe and Munch. Each one has different abilities, and you will need to use each to get through different situations. Gamespeak has also been enhanced. You will be able to talk to many more characters, and there will be several new languages. The gamespeak controls, however, are supposed to remain very simple. In addition to improvements on legacy game controls, there will be many new elements in Munch's Oddysee.

habitat_lush-01.jpg (4173 bytes)Apparently the environment is going to be very customizable, allowing you to spend a lot of time changing things around you. Lorne Lanning, President/Creative Director of Oddworld Inhabitants, describes Munch's Oddysee as "a gene splicing of Action, Adventure, RPG, Strategy, and emulation, with Hollywood storytelling and production value sprinkled all over it." In my mind the previous Oddworld titles have already far surpassed the norms of Hollywood in storytelling and production values, but all that aside, it's a tantalizing proposition. According to Lanning, the game would take about 50-60 hours of play to complete the main narrative in lightning fast time. He anticipates that the resource management / ecology aspect of the game will captivate fans, and the game will become a real career endeavor. He also mentions that there are multiple sub-plots and side stories to become involved with, and that will enhance replayability as well.

habitat_waste-01.jpg (3962 bytes)The management aspects of the game will be so in-depth that Oddworld Inhabitants is already working on The Hand of Odd, which sounds like Munch's Oddysee with the one-player adventure removed. Rather than focusing on a storyline, The Hand of Odd will allow networked resource management, allowing gamers to share Oddworld. Details are still vague, but if Oddworld Inhabitants approaches this title like all the others it will surely be a groundbreaking success.

scrabhut4-01.jpg (3527 bytes)Basically, it looks like true fans of innovative gaming should just clear out our schedules for Fall of 2001. Whenever an Oddworld game comes out I seem to lose a week from my life. Munch's Oddysee transcends the boundaries of what games can be. Their step into the next generation looks to be truly monumental. Live in your world, sure, but play in Oddworld.

 

Shawn Rider

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