Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning discusses his cancelled multiplayer title Stranger Arena


Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning has lifted the top off his cancelled competitive multiplayer title Stranger Arena in a new interview.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Lanning revealed that a Stranger Arena prototype was developed shortly after work wrapped on Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath in 2005. It was due to blend first-person shooting and third-person platform elements.

Lanning recalled, “We had it running, Stranger Arena. You were using Stranger mechanics, but you were going head to head with other Strangers. You were doing multiplayer platforming and first-person shooting. So the dynamics of Stranger’s [Wrath] in arenas, head to head. I have to say, we were really excited about this.”

On how Stranger Arena handled, Lanning went on, “What I wanted to do was do what they do in RTS games,” stating that he wanted to bring new strategy to the arena shooter format.

“I was looking for more strategy in how I want to play the character,” he explained. “Like if I’m dealing with people who are obviously tougher than me, then I want to be more clever. I don’t want to be losing just because they’re faster on the draw,” he said of a game about reptilian cowboys who are fast on the draw.

“You’re not going to beat them by being clever. You’re going to beat them by playing as many hours as they do,” Lanning said of other shooters, name-checking Halo and Call of Duty. Instead, he wanted a more strategic method of play more akin to a real-time strategy game.”

Lanning ultimately blames EA for the demise of the Oddworld brand, and for Stranger’s Wrath sales, which came in around the million unit mark. As such, Stranger Arena would never see the light of day. “Coming out of 2005 our hope was to go from Stranger’s [Wrath] to Stranger 2.0, to Stranger 2.5: Stranger Arena,” he revealed.

“We went to them [EA] with a product to distribute and then they didn’t market it. We had no success,” he concluded. “I think we sold about a million units, but it was small relative to the quality of the title. That basically soured our taste forever with traditional publishing models.”

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