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Oddworld Inhabitants Confirms Game Industry Exit

Oddworld Inhabitants Confirms Game Industry Exit

April 18, 2005 | By David Jenkins

April 18, 2005 | By David Jenkins
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Lorne Lanning, president and creative director of Oddworld Inhabitants has officially confirmed that his company is to refocus away from games and towards the movie and TV industry, after the commercial disappointment of the company's latest game, the largely critically acclaimed Xbox title Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath.

The developerís San Luis Obispo, California offices were recently closed and the company downsized in its move into the San Francisco Bay area. When the move was announced at the end of last month, the companyís stated goal was to end in-house development of games, but Lanning was somewhat vague about his next steps, hinting that only an in-house core of personnel would remain.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, however, Lanning indicates that the company will be primarily concentrating on using its intellectual properties for movie and TV projects, and trending away from the video game business.

Oddworld's co-founder is not shy in laying much of the blame for Strangerís Wrathís failure on publisher Electronic Arts, claiming that because the game was only released for a single format, the company refused to get behind it properly: "If EA isn't on all SKUs, it just won't promote the game. It was very disheartening to us Ö to see that the largest publisher in the industry had no interest in marketing it, regardless of how innovative it was."

But Lanning indicates that disappointing sales were not the primary reason for ending game development at Oddworld, pointing to larger issues he sees in the industry: "We closed the studio because of what the realities of the marketplace are. There is currently only one financing model in the games industry, and that is that the publisher pays for the entire game; it handles the manufacturing, the marketing, the distribution, the advertising, practically everything, much the way it used to be in Hollywood pre-United Artists."


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