Abe is back. We move to 1997 to review the Oddworld saga, one of the most beloved. This month he returns to us with his new installment Soulstorm. After 24 years of history our favorite mudokon has returned. And the truth is that he was already missing him. It was in 1997 with Abe’s Oddysee that he began his own adventure with us. And with it, Abe’s own journey, a sympathetic mudokon who fights to free his own race and destroy a heartless corporation. It was up to us alone to provoke an insurrection and free the people from their chains. From his first appearance in Abe’s Oddysee, Abe’s Exoddus, Munch’s Oddysee, Stranger’s Wrath, New ‘N’ Tasty to the recent Soulstorm, the world of Oddworld has shown us that it encompasses as much as possible. Will you have many more in the future? Today at Meristation we wanted to pay him this little tribute by reviewing all his particular history. As Abe would say, “Follow me” we started.
Where it all started: Oddworld Inhabitants
Before reviewing the Oddworld saga we inevitably have to mention its origins. We mean Oddworld Inhabitants, the studio that gave him life. It was in 1994 that Sherry McKenna and Lorne Lanning, two experts in special effects and animation, founded their own company. Both worked for long years until they published their first title Oddworld: Abe’s Odysee in 1997. The game would introduce us to the charismatic Abe, as well as reflect an important social criticism about the exploitation of workers in an era controlled by large corporations. The title was not cut short in dealing with groundbreaking themes at that time: from slavery, experimentation with animals, spirituality and corporate cartels that run and destroy the world in exchange for a few coins. Their argument revolved around the Mudokon, a race that has been enslaved and forced to work in factories by a ruthless company that is willing to put them through the shredder in an attempt to increase their profits. With this, our protagonist Abe must fight against the great corporation and the dangers of capitalism in order to free his own subjected species.
Statement from Lorne Lanning at the Game Develeopers Conference (GDC) 2000: “We ran the game at a time when crisis and overwork were most pervasive, the main idea on which we relied to create Oddworld. His main concept was in a critique of globalization, strongly interwoven with the dark side of multinational consequences on the human condition. At that time few games addressed these issues, in the case of Abe’s Oddysee, capitalism, exploitation of the third world, the environment and the fast food industry with respect to the plight of diamond miners in South Africa. With Oddworld we wanted to create a dark and meaningful reflection of our dysfunctional world, wrapped in a fantasy world, where we could talk about the madness of our capitalism, but with a focus on comedy. “