The lights are on
In just 14 months, the 19-person team at Just Add Water has stripped 1997’s Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee down to the molecular level and rebuilt it for a new generation. The classic puzzle platformer retains its clever level design and memorable sense of humor, but this New ’n’ Tasty remake is otherwise a brand new game.
“This is a rebuild from the ground up,” Just Add Water studio head Stewart Gilray tells Game Informer. “I think there are maybe two textures in the game that existed in the original right now. Neither of them may exist in the finished version.”
Gilray says the art is “99 percent complete” and the game is on track for its spring release (though he won’t tell us exactly when yet, as the certification process isn’t entirely predictable). Oddworld: New ’n’ Tasty is being built in Unity, but the earliest footage of the complete remake shown in 2012 was from six months of work in another engine. When the game slipped from fall 2013 to spring 2014, the team had only been working with Unity for nine months.
He expects to ship the title to third-party testing in the next week or two, with submission to Sony for PS3, PS4, and Vita release immediately thereafter. A release for PC, Mac, and Linux will follow approximately a month later, with a Wii U version planned for later down the line.
Unity is easing the process for Gilray and his team. “We went to Unity, because if we were working in the previous engine, we’d have to do a lot of custom coding ourselves," he says. "Unity has a PlayStation team in the UK. [The engine] has the trophy system built into it, so you issue a command in your code to unlock achievements or whatever, and whatever platform it’s running on, it will do the unlocks on that system. In the old days, you had to write the Vita unlocks, you had to write the PS3 unlocks, the Xbox unlocks, the Steam unlocks.”
In light of Unity streamlining the development process, we ask Gilray about the benefits of platform parity (releasing on as many systems as possible at the same time). “I have a huge concern with the PC format and piracy,” he says. “There are some people I know who, if a game comes out on console and PC the same day, they’ll pirate the PC version and not bother buying any version. But if there’s a delay of the PC version, they’ll buy the PlayStation version for example, and then pirate the PC version afterwards. For small business, I don’t want to release PC and Mac the same day as console, because I’m pretty certain my sales on console will be affected.”
Unity still requires that developers manually handle user-facing aspects (such as button names and images in the UI), but that everything under the hood is largely automated. “Yes, there is some ‘hammer and tongs,’” Gilray says. “But where traditional platform compatibility took three to six months of work, with Unity, it’s like two to four weeks worth of just making sure it works right on that platform as opposed to making sure it runs on that platform.” Additional time is required to check the boxes for certification, including ensuring all of the platform-specific visual elements are in place. He tells us that the three other potential titles at Just Add Water (which have not yet been revealed) are all being developed in that engine.
Until Just Add Water is ready to pull the curtain back on those, we’ll be looking forward to April’s targeted release of Gravity Crash Ultra on Vita and the spring release of New ’n’ Tasty, which includes a number of new surprises and secrets, along with three big, secret features that Gilray tells us won’t be revealed until launch.
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Oh man, I used to LOVE this game! Played the crap outta Oddworld on my PSX! Miss those days... really miss that little noise he would make when he was using his "mental powers" or whatever ya wanna call em'! LoL
I can't wait for this. I hope this sells well, Abe's Oddysee is one of the best platformers ever released.
Huh, interesting view on PC vs. console release windows. I never considered that as a reason that the PC version usually comes later.
The top screenshot for some reason reminds me of Giana Sisters.
Never heard of this series before, looks interesting.
Please take my money. All of it!
i never liked the abe's games but i went thru them because of the stories. the only games i played and enjoyed was their last one on the xbox, stranger's wrath is the name.
WOW, this is looking really great.
I haven't played the odd world games really it this will be a great experience for sure!!!!!!!!!
Love everything about Oddworld (except playing the ports as they proved to be way too clunky on the Vita). Only question is, do I get it for the PS3 or for the Vita!?
I never played any of the Oddworld games but this looks like a good/fun game.
Good to know it's coming to PS3. I vaguely remember playing this when I was younger. Would love to play it to completion this time.