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Just Add Water

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Swim with the fishes
Decades of classical conditioning have trained us to abhor water levels. The likes of Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Ocarina of Time hold strained memories of great games gone awry, if just ever-so-temporar...

PC Port Report: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty

Feb 23 // Darren Nakamura
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty (Linux, Mac, Windows [tested])Developers: Just Add Water Developments, Ltd.Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc.Released: February 25, 2015MSRP: $19.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit A lot of the heavy lifting was already done for the console version, but it bears repeating: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is a fantastic visual upgrade from Abe's Oddysee. The environments are all rebuilt and rendered in-engine, making the transitions between nearby areas smoother than the original. Seeing Oddworld in high definition is a treat. Loading times have been significantly reduced. Control is a little strange with a keyboard, at least for somebody who is more familiar with console controls. With full controller compatibility this wasn't an issue past my initial experiments to see how it works on a keyboard. There were some issues with listed button prompts when switching between keyboard and controller mid-game, but for my only complaint, it's pretty minor. The main point to note is that the PC port is technically competent; it is comparable to the PlayStation 4 version. I experienced no bugs, glitches, or even slowdown, which is great considering my rig isn't exactly state-of-the-art. [embed]288023:57455:0[/embed] Unsurprisingly, the Steam Achievements are the same as the PS4 Trophies, down to the artwork and descriptions. Steam Trading Card support is present, with Badges to craft and backgrounds to collect. A couple of the trading cards feature concept art unavailable in the console build. It isn't much, but it might be the one noticeable difference in the PC version. There is no Steam Workshop support, as Oddworld would have to be significantly tweaked to include user-created content. As a pie-in-the-sky idea, it could have been fantastic, but its nonexistence doesn't hurt New 'n' Tasty at all. Cooperative mode remains as bafflingly unnecessary as it has always been; it achieves the same thing that handing a controller to a nearby friend does. Alf's Escape, the piece of downloadable content released last August for New 'n' Tasty on PlayStation 4, is immediately available for PC. Altogether, Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty transitioned well to PC. Although it doesn't take full advantage of the platform, it has not lost anything in translation. If anything, the Steam version is a marginal improvement with a wider choice in control, the usual Steam baubles included, and a lower price tag. So I can breathe a sigh of relief. One of my favorite games from the late '90s got a great remaster last year, and it moved to my platform of choice without a hiccup. Oddworld has always been a dark, fantastic place to explore, and the upgrade to New 'n' Tasty has only made it more consuming.
Oddworld New 'n' Tasty photo
Delicious
Like Chris, I had my first taste of Oddworld when it was new, back on the PlayStation in 1997. Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus were two of my favorite titles from that era, so when Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty was announced, I was...

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Oddworld

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty hits PS4 first on July 22


Other platforms to follow
Jun 09
// Jordan Devore
There's been a fair amount of Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty news lately -- that dramatic trailer, most recently -- but it's the release info we've wanted most. Here it is: the revamped game will be available on PlayStation 4 via PS...
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Oddworld

PlayStation cross-buy announced for Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty


Pricing revealed while teasing announcement of release date
Apr 25
// Conrad Zimmerman
Oddworld Inhabitants divulged a few salient details regarding the upcoming release of Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty, remake of the original Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. Most notably, the studio has announced that the game will be offer...

Oddworld photo
Oddworld

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty looking good in new gameplay trailer


The definitions are so high
Mar 19
// Conrad Zimmerman
I've been a big fan of Oddworld from the very beginning. And the beginning is coming around again with the looming arrival of Oddworld: New & Tasty, a remake of the original classic Abe's Oddyssee in high-defin...
Oddworld photo
Oddworld

500k sales of Abe's Oddysee remake could fund an all-new Oddworld


But first, a remake of Abe's Exoddus
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
In a candid discussion about sales expectations for Just Add Water's Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee remake, Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty, creator Lorne Lanning told Eurogamer that if 250,000 copies of the game are sold, that'll be e...

Exploring the depths of the ocean in Assassin's Creed IV

Aug 09 // Dale North
The naval battles return in a big way, but to really explore the ocean means jumping in. For the first time in Assassin's Creed IV you can access the ocean from anywhere in the game's world; you're immediately in, with no loading or transitions.  But, before jumping in, stop and enjoy the beauty of the ocean. No -- really look at it. Ubisoft Singapore put a lot of work into making the ocean as realistic as possible. They traveled to the Caribbean for research in order to nail the look, and put their research into even the smallest details, like new tech for the look of the sand and sunlight. They even have simulations for sea foam, with controls that can vary how it'll look when it washes up on sand or pools around rocks. They're not messing around when it comes to realism The water's surface in ACIV on next-gen consoles is stunning. It shimmers in the sunlight in a way that makes you want to take a snapshot. All of their technical work combines to make for some postcard worthy imagery.   ACIV's engine is doing crazy work under the hood to make the waves look realistic, and that kicks into overdrive when simulating what happens when objects like ships move through it. We saw examples of how the engine scales from calm waters to massive storms realistically -- impressive stuff. Ubisoft Singapore says that you can expect the water to look very good on current-gen consoles, but some water appearance features are only available on next-gen systems. Ubisoft Singapore Senior Technical Director, Georges Torres, told us that they saw next-gen as an opportunity to do what they wanted with water in ACIII but didn't have the resources for. If you're looking for technical specifics of what you'd see in the next-gen over current generation versions, Torres says adaptive tessellation tech is the major thing. Expect more detailed waves -- a third frequency of wave is possible with next-gen consoles, over the two of ACIII. Also, the way the water interacts with objects in it will look better. For example, objects that fall into water will appropriately displace water. On the rendering side, there's much more detail to see with the new consoles' versions.  Underwater is equally as lovely. Ubisoft Singapore has done a fine job in creating an underwater world you'll want to explore. Swim to whatever catches your fancy, enjoying the sea life that glitters among the almost glowing coral reef. You might see a treasure chest in the distance, but keep in mind your oxygen limitation. Oh, and sharks. While you can harpoon sharks from a boat, you're totally helpless underwater.  The running and climbing gameplay we've come to expect from the franchise can't take place underwater, Ubisoft Singapore has worked in some similar elements for underwater navigation. Players can swim wherever they'd like, and once they get going they can pull on fixed objects to propel them forward as sort of a speed boost. It's not just flat swimming -- there's pushing and pulling on objects, escaping sea creatures, getting caught in water currents and more.  There's some motivation for diving beyond just sightseeing. Of course, just as in pirate days, there's treasure and money to be found. Also, blueprints can be retrieved from underwater to improve your ship. There was no capability for this underwater exploration in the existing game engine, so Ubisoft Singapore was tasked with creating it. Torres told us that it was from scratch. He said that they altered the perspective over the last game so that the player could see water, jump in it, explore it, and swim out of it back onto land seamlessly.  Torres said that unifying these aspects of play wasn't easy. Moving from the ocean inland, a lot of loading needs to happen in the background for a seamless setting transition to happen for the player, and that's not to mention the animation sets that have to change the character itself. He said it looks natural, and seems simple, but in reality some very complex stuff goes on under the hood to make it all work. From what we saw of live gameplay at the studio, seeing it in action looks perfect, so here's a tip of our pirate hat to the team.  But it's not just graphics and animation at work here. Torres told us that they've developed a full series of technologies to make the underwater experience as immersive and realistic as possible. The Singapore team built tech for the visuals, coloring, particle effects, ecosystem, animations, underwater audio, underwater behaviors, swimming simulations and much more. Even the way the light filters through water to create a sense of depth was a focus for them.  The takeaway here is that Ubisoft Singapore put a lot of hard work to draw players into the deep. Full teams were tasked with making the underwater experience as realistic and immersive as possible. Maybe Assassin's Creed IV open-world underwater exploration will make up for all of the crappy underwater levels we've had to put up with over the years. 
ACIV Underwater photo
Getting technical with underwater gameplay
Water is usually a background element in action/adventure games. Or at best, water gets a temporary spotlight in levels that let you take a break from standard play -- a quick splash and then back to land.  It's rarely e...

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Oddworld remake devs volunteer to redo Metal Gear Solid


For an MGS remake, Just Add Water
Jun 27
// Jim Sterling
Abe's Oddysee: New n' Tasty developer Just Add Water has written an open letter to Hideo Kojima. The Metal Gear masterbrain recently revealed he was interested in looking for a studio to remake Metal Gear Solid, and the Oddwo...
Oddworld on PS4? photo
Oddworld on PS4?

Oddworld developer announces PS4 title


Expect high definition farts
Feb 20
// Allistair Pinsof
Oddworld series developer Just Add Water is working on an untitled PS4 game, according to an announcement on the developer's blog. "By now you’ll have eagerly lapped up all the information from the Sony PlayStation anno...
Oddworld presses on photo
Oddworld presses on

Just Add Water poll asks what you want next for Oddworld


Studio seeks fan input
Jan 18
// Jordan Devore
It's been terrific seeing Just Add Water carry the Oddworld franchise into the future. With a pair of HD re-releases under its belt and the upcoming Abe's Oddysee - New 'n' Tasty currently well into production, the England-ba...
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Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD gets PS Vita release date


It's been a while
Dec 02
// Harry Monogenis
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD for the PlayStation Vita now has, after being delayed several times, a definite release date. Revealed on Just Add Water's Twitter page, Stranger's Wrath HD for the Vita will be launching on Dece...
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360 version of Stranger's Wrath HD could still happen


Jun 22
// Jordan Devore
Will Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD ever find its way to Xbox 360? I had given up hope, but it sounds as if it's not completely ruled out. Speaking to VG247, Just Add Water CEO Stewart Gilray explained that while the studio ha...
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Just Add Water teases Hand of Odd, which is great!


Apr 12
// Jim Sterling
I remember first reading about Hand of Odd, way back in my school days. A simulation game set in the Oddworld universe, it had only promises to deliver until it was postponed in 2004. Last year, Just Add Water confirmed it wo...
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Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee HD set for a Q2 release


Jan 14
// Brett Zeidler
If you got excited over Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD's recent remaster and still haven't gotten enough Oddworld, you may be happy to hear that Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee HD has been confirmed via Just Add Water's Twitter to b...
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Stranger's Wrath HD out on PSN right now, only $15


Dec 28
// Brett Zeidler
Back in January of '05, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath slipped right past me, along with a multitude of other games I should have played, simply because it came out right after Halo 2. To this day, I still haven't played Stranger...

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