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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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