Fifteen years ago, Lorne Lanning and the Oddworld Inhabitants built a world of righteous capitalist paranoia, oppression and uprising. Abe's Oddysee might have sweetened the pill with a few fart jokes, but the message was one of desperation and hope. Luckily, it was also a brilliant puzzle platformer, and became an instant, beloved classic.
For newcomers to Oddworld, Abe is a humble Mudokon. Born into captivity, he's one of the finest floor-waxers in Rupture Farms. That is, until he's waxing the floor outside a meeting room, and learns that the meat they've been producing is becoming extinct, and the newest product line involves ripping off Mudokon heads and putting them on sticks. Hey, no-one said it was a subtle attack on capitalism.
Abe's only power is to use the world against his captors, and possess his enemies by chanting - but possession takes time, and you're likely to get gunned down if you try it without planning your attack. It's a matter of noting and abusing their predictable behaviours, in every possible way.
A remake of Abe's Oddysee could have been a simple port of that classic 2D world. But the New 'n' Tasty! subtitle is designed to distance itself from the humble HD remake. Just Add Water is aiming higher, rebuilding the puzzles of Rupture Farms in 3D. Additionally, the original game was built around a flip-screen approach, letting you reset a puzzle by nipping off the side of the screen and back in again. Now it's a scrolling, contiguous world, so the creatures have to behave with more convincing AI.
Lanning's a huge fan of downloadable games, pointing out that a $10 digital purchase gives a dev as much money as a $60 boxed product. It's digital distribution that's allowed Lanning to bring back the heroic underdog. The longer plan is to finish the five-part Oddysee - there are as many unfinished games in the series as there are complete. We hope there's an audience for this - if not, this might not be the industry we thought it was.