Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was a sleeper hit when it was released on the original PlayStation console, back in 1997. Gamers had never before taken control of such an unusual character, who communicated via the medium of flatulence. A hero was born. Over 15 years later (boy, that makes me feel old), the title is due for an HD makeover as Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, but it won’t be heading to Xbox One, despite Munch’s Odysee being a launch title for the first Xbox.
The reason given for this is because Microsoft is still restricting independent developers from releasing games on their system when they don’t have a publisher, thereby effectively barring independently created games. In an interview with Eurogamer at E3, Oddworld Inhabitants boss Lorne Lanning criticized Microsoft’s policy.
“There are those who are looking at next quarter’s profits, and maybe one of these big guys looks like that’s all they’re doing right now.”
“If they’re looking at the world that way, you’ve got the obvious, enormous titles. They’re going to be the big revenue generators. If the company’s purely about profit, profit and profit, they’re looking at those, and then they’re looking at the little guys saying, ‘oh, they only make this much. There’s one party that’s making it very clear they’re not interested.”
“For Xbox One they’ve granted us a license for New ‘n’ Tasty! but they still say you need a publisher. We don’t have a publisher so we’re not officially on the platform, even though we’re compatible, even though we’ll be ready to do it. Period.”
“Why do we need a publisher when we self-finance our games, we build our own IP, we manage our own IP and we’ve turned nearly two million units online as indie publishers sold – not free downloads? Why? What’s wrong with us?”
“It’s a different level of perspective. Is it ridiculous? I guess it depends on what seat you’re sitting in. But I think right now Wall Street is seeing something else that’s ridiculous and we’re seeing it reflected in public companies’ stock values.”
“Who’s in touch with their audience? And who seems out of touch with their audience? All we know is we’ve tried to get our games on their platform and we can’t do it – and I even helped them release the box.”
Lorne is still in talks with Microsoft and hopes that they do manage to get a publisher for the game, but at the moment that seems unlikely. Its rather ironic that Microsoft, who effectively lead the resurgence of bedroom coders through their Xbox Live Arcade and Indy games programs, are now seen as the least friendly of the three console companies to new developers. At present, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is due for release on PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, PC, Mac and Linux.