In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lorne Lanning has revealed that his development company is no more. Oddworld Inhabitants has been closed down and Lorne now has plans to move into the CG movie and TV business. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter Lorne wasn't shy at blaming EA for the commercial failure of their final game. Speaking about Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath Lorne said:
"Yes, it was very critically acclaimed but it wasn't advertised or marketed because Electronic Arts couldn't get its PlayStation 2 port of our Xbox original to run and if EA isn't on all SKUs, it just won't promote the game. It was very disheartening to us that we could have a title with a Metacritic.com user metric of 9.6 [out of 10], a game that was praised as being a fusion of filmmaking and video games in terms of being less 'gamey' and more story- and character-driven ... and then to see that the largest publisher in the industry had no interest in marketing it regardless of how innovative it was."
He went on to talk about the industry in general and how all developers are in the same boat, with all funding for game development having to come from the publisher. With spiralling cots of game development set to skyrocket with next-gen consoles on the horizon, Lorne felt it was time to close his company. He still owns all the rights to Oddworld Inhabitants original IP and plans to work on CG animated movies and TV shows, using both the Oddworld franchise and other, yet to be revealed, ideas.
While this is clearly a sad time for the videogames industry, with the Oddworld series being a veteran from the PlayStation era, there appears to be some hope that more Oddworld games could appear in the future. Lorne commented that "We'll stay focused on multimedia content, really solid concepts that would make great games, great TV, great movies," suggesting that future games could be made using the Oddworld licence, but would be developed by an external company.
For the full, and very interesting interview, head over to The Hollywood Reporter.