Lorne Lanning and his team at Oddworld Inhabitants have finally pulled the curtain back on Oddworld: Soulstorm. The first original game in the Oddworld franchise since 2005 puts protagonist Abe front and center and resurrects the series’ original vision as a five-part story.
Oddworld: Soulstorm first came to light in 2016 and is billed as the second episode of the fabled Oddworld quintology. From the beginning creator Lorne Lanning had envisioned the series as five titles that weaved an epic narrative focusing squarely on the hero Abe. That kicked off with 1997’s Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey. Although several sequels came to fruition, they’re considered spin-offs that took different routes than what had initially been intended. Soulstorm returns to Lanning’s original designs, making it a direct sequel to the PS1 classic (not that one, though the game does appear on it) and its 2014 remake Oddworld: New N Tasty for newer fans.
Game Informer’s exclusive preview provides a deep dive into Oddworld’s history and Soulstorm’s creation. Like Abe’s Oddysee, the game is a cinematic platformer that sees Abe liberating his fellow Mudokon slaves from industrial tyranny. Rescued Mudokons still follow Abe everywhere (including into hazards) though packs can now number in the hundreds. The more followers Abe gains, the greater his power to possess others becomes. Gameplay now features greater depth due to the combination of 2D planes in 3D spaces, a design dubbed “2.9D” by the developer. Thorough players who explore every nook and cranny can earn badges for completing extra objectives like discovering hidden zones.
An expanded take on Quarma, the morality system introduced in 2003’s Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, tracks the number of Mudokons Abe saves, allows to die, as well as how he chooses to deal with enemy Sligs. An example noted in the article states that Quarma drops dramatically if Abe kills a defenseless Slig. Good deeds, on the other hand, reward ch’i charms used to purchase helpful power-ups. Though not confirmed in the piece, the player’s Quarma standing could result in different endings a la Munch’s Oddysee. Players will also collect Moolah to purchase materials to craft items. Ingredients can be scavenged within the world as well. Look for Oddworld: Soulstorm to launch on unspecified consoles and PC sometime in 2020.
It may have taken two decades, but it’s neat to see Lanning get to finally realize his original vision for such an important and treasured series. Oddworld: Soulstorm looks to be both a promising return to form and an exciting release in the known 2020 lineup. If it works out, hopefully fans won’t have to wait as long for sequels three through five.
Source: Game Informer