It was only about six years ago that I told our agent at the time, “Larry, don’t you get it!? Our classic Abe games are history. The systems that played them are gone and they aren’t coming back. Ours is a disposable medium and we don’t have a Turner Classics channel.” He looked at me with this defeated expression and said, “Dude, that’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard you say.” He believed me, and I too believed it at the time.
Six years later and I have to admit it’s great being proved wrong.
We couldn’t have been more thrilled when we learned that the PlayStation Network was willing to offer our classic Abe games to an entirely new generation of gamers. Finally, gamers who never got the chance to meet and play him when he first came out on the PSone system, will now get that chance to meet the guy who graced many magazine covers and proved the unlikely hero that captured people’s hearts.
We poured years of our lives into both Abe games as part of the love affair that we had with the original PSone system. It was our first character and story to be developed by our new company and I had promised Sherry McKenna, Oddworld CEO, that we would create characters that even she would love. Characters that would make her laugh and that she could be proud of, even though she didn’t care about games. (To this day, Abe is still her favorite)
Gaming seemed such a blank slate of possibilities back then. It was an early super-cool medium with which we could start telling stories of our own. We wanted characters living through stories that might inspire people while still enabling them many hours of challenge and entertainment. We wanted to integrate the best of our previous trade from the visual effects field to delve deeper into the storytelling potential with this exciting, rapidly evolving interactive medium.
We also wanted characters whose score was kept by their karma, not by their number of kills.
We started with Abe, the little chump trapped by the dark side of globalization who would need to find his way (and his soul) through a vast landscape of relentless hazards. He was to be the lovable hero trying to survive heavily armed idiots and hungry critters of the carnivorous kind.
He was designed to cause as many laughs as he would accomplishments, and we wanted him to be remembered.
Now here we are today and because of SCEA and PSN, Abe’s goofy face and doofy walk are finding their way back into gamers’ homes once again. Abe finds a new generation of gamers on PSN, but this time it’s without the costly price of a physically distributed box product, which means Abe is now able to find his way at a ridiculously low price.
We can’t help but feel like Abe is our lost child who has finally returned home. He’s still healthy, he’s still happy, and if you read the forums lately…still holding up after all these years.
Thank you, Sony. (sniffle) You brought our baby home. (sobs)