Bradford Animation Festival 2012 launched with a bit of local flavour. Stewart Gilray, Development Director of Oddworld Inhabitants, lives just up the road in Otley, which is where the independent games company of which he is CEO, Just Add Water, is based. Through the digital distribution of the Oddworld games, and the release of Oddboxx, the two companies have formed a symbiotic bond.
Stewart is fresh from Eurogamer Expo, where he and Oddworld founder Lorne Lanning previewed Oddworld: Abe’s Oddyssee New ‘n’ Tasty for the first time. Stewart came to BAF Game to talk about the present and future of the Oddworld franchise, and why he thinks digital distribution is the future for the games industry.
A major concern for the Oddworld team was how to revive a brand that’s been dormant since the release of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath in early 2005. They knew that they had to focus on the quality storytelling and artwork that had been a central tenet of the company eighteen years ago.
But how to release their products?
The resounding answer for Oddworld, is digital distribution. We all know how expensive boxed games are to buy, and Stewart Gilray knows which side his bread is buttered.
UK retail sales count for less than 50% of all sales
What about mobile?
There are two Oddworld apps – Oddworld Portal, an iOS interface to the Oddworld Inhabitants website, and Abe Speak – out Friday on iOS, with Android/WP8 to follow.
The team chose not to create original games for mobile devices. Their titles depend on action at very specific points during gameplay, which doesn’t work well on a touch screen – but it’s not something they’re ruling out for the future, given the inevitable (?) rise of AAA games for smartphone and tablet platforms.
Find out what the inhabitants of Oddworld are up to, and what Stewart Gilray thinks the future of distribution will look like in this clip.
You can watch / look at all our festival coverage on the Bradford Animation Festival website – podcasts of all the events will be added next week so keep an eye on our podcasts page, or on our Twitter / Facebook feeds.