Oddworld Creator: 'EA Sabotaged Stranger's Wrath'

Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning accused EA of "Sabotaging" his studio's game, Stranger's Wrath, in a conversation with Eurogamer. Lanning says that the publisher, by not marketing the game properly, condemned it to failure.

"It was sabotaged. When you see a big game coming out, just ask what the marketing budget is. If you decide as a publisher not to give it a marketing budget, you decide its fate... As soon as we understood there was no marketing budget, we had zero expectations. We had zero incentive to build another game for them, either."

Stranger's Wrath, a 2005 Xbox exclusive, was generally well received by the media but was not a financial success. Lanning lamented that many developers have had their games suffer the same fate. "Our story is not unique. This is common in the development community. Business decisions are made and the developer's faucet is turned off as a result... In the case of Stranger, it didn't perform because it wasn't exposed and it wasn't distributed and there wasn't the number of factors that go to what you need to have success on the shelf today as a boxed product."

Lanning has hope that Stranger's Wrath will fare better when the game is re-released as a downloadable title for PSN. The Xbox Live version is currently in limbo, pending negotiations between Lanning, Microsoft and re-make developer Just Add Water. [Eurogamer]


    Why do all that great games always suffer at the hands of the publisher,(example Okami, psychonauts)

      A couple years back I read that Lanning still owns all the Oddworld intellectual property. Apparently he refused to sell it to EA, or anyone else, and thats why they didn't market Stranger's Wrath.

      Maybe this fate is also shared by those games you've mentioned...

    Your problem wasn't so much EA buddy, it's the dick move you pulled when you switched platforms after releasing your first two games on the PSX. In hindsight was it really a good idea, you had your fanbase with Sony and you gave them the finger. I would've gladly bought Munch's Oddysee and Stranger day one but I only had a PS2 then. I had to wait SIX more years to be able to play Stranger when it came out on Steam.

      Oh dear, really? This is your reasoning? I'd like to know what other properties were ruined by a platform change, I mean surely gamers aren't so callous as to hate on developers for changing platforms...

        I didn't read hate in there, I read a anoth er possible valid reason for why the game didn't perform.
        I was in the exact same position, I had a Playstation and loved the Abe games and fully intended to buy the rest of the Quintology, until it made the switch to Xbox, a platform I didn't have and at the time couldn't afford or want.
        I'm sure we weren't the only two people this position.

          This is exactly my point, Oddworld already had a user/fan base until they made the switch. New console = new userbase and the need to re-establish a following for your product. By the time XBOX came out a lot of PSX players already had a PS2 and those people essentially got shafted.

            Very true and well said. I've been saying this for years ever since he decided to make that switch. He shot himself in the foot by moving the game exclusively to a platform where many people had no previous exposure or interest in the oddworld saga. And on top of that, he had a VERY arrogant attitude towards disappointed fans at the time.

    risk vs reward

    or as it is perceived by a group of market analysts and accountants

    I didn't even know this game existed until it was released on Steam so yeah, I'd say the marketing was pretty bad.

    I found out about Stranger's Wrath about 3 years ago, and would have bought a 360 just to play it, but just to add to the non-existent marketing, the xbox version isn't even compatible with the 360.

    Ended up buying a PS3 instead.

    I'm not saying he's right or wrong, but I love a good rant from an egotistical "big name" developer. And Lorne Lanning is one of the best ranters there is!

    I remember randomly visiting odd world's website back in 2005 and seeing it was coming out and it scored great reviews. But thats all. Maybe im getting mixed up with an email or i saw it in a magazine but i definitely knew through limited information.

    I was angry that it was still an xbox exclusive like munchies. I knew it would fail just because of the exclusive. Nobody i knew had an xbox at the time. Just Ps2's and PC's.

    I too think the Xbox decision was a bad move. Because like everyone else at the time me and everyone I knew wanted the game but only had PS2 and PC. Nothing against Xbox it's just at the time we were all young poor men who only had access to one console and PC.

    Same thing happened to Psychonauts, Enslaved, The Saboteur etc. It's a shame, as Call of Duty 14 will get about $1 billion just to market the 360 version...

    When Munch was announced, everyone wanted to play it, them we realized: No PC or PS2 version. It was a dumb movie, to deliver a game as an exclusive to a system that was just starting, no previous fan-base.

    Back then, PS2 was simply riding a great wave of sucess, lots of exclusives coming, a big fanbase and tons of users. Sony was able to cash in on the sucess of the PS1, and was basically leaving GameCube and Xbox way, way behind. And I don't want to start a system war, actually, I'm just talking about sales and userbase.

    And Munch wasn't THAT well received, the game looked rushed and in my opinion, didn't played that great.

    Stranger's Wrath on the other hand is a GREAT game, too bad the PC port of it sucks.

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