Lorne Lanning explains why latest Oddworld tells Xbox to go home
Abe’s Oddysee: New N’ Tasty is coming to the Wii U and PlayStation 4, but neither the Xbox 360 nor the Xbox One will get a lick of Abe’s meat. Lorne Lanning’s reasoning is simple — Oddworld doesn’t sell out, and an indie has to do just that to get Microsoft’s blessing.
“For Xbox One they’ve granted us a license for New ‘n’ Tasty! but they still say you need a publisher,” Lanning told Eurogamer. “We don’t have a publisher so we’re not officially on the platform, even though we’re compatible, even though we’ll be ready to do it. Period.
“Why do we need a publisher when we self-finance our games, we build our own IP, we manage our own IP and we’ve turned nearly two million units online as indie publishers sold – not free downloads? Why? What’s wrong with us?”
Lanning’s no fan of the kind of capitalism that dominates the game industry — the exact brand of money-fueled cronyism the Xbox One is built on. Indie games requiring a publisher is ridiculous, he says, and adds this is coming from a guy who helped launch the original Xbox with an exclusive!
“It’s a different level of perspective. Is it ridiculous? I guess it depends on what seat you’re sitting in. But I think right now Wall Street is seeing something else that’s ridiculous and we’re seeing it reflected in public companies’ stock values.
“Who’s in touch with their audience? And who seems out of touch with their audience? All we know is we’ve tried to get our games on their platform … I’ve had people tell me, ‘dude, just go up there, you’re losing millions of dollars.’ You know what? Oddworld wasn’t built on selling out.”
Good for him, sticking to his guns. While Xbox One continues to alienate all but major publishers, Nintendo and Sony have ample opportunity to capitalize. We already saw this at E3 when Sony showboated a considerable collection of indie titles — New N’ Tasty among them. With the independent scene growing to become such an exciting space, it seems utterly stupid that Microsoft would burn so many bridges, but its intent is clear — it’s seen how popular indie gaming is getting, and like everything else, it would like to dictate terms and control how that sector of the market operates.
I’m thinking Microsoft will find few indie developers enjoy being dictated to.