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Why Abe’s Oddysee owes its success to Heart of Darkness

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A long time ago when I was asked to come up with the game play design structure for Abe’s Oddysee for Oddworld inhabitants, I already had a game play system in mind, for I had already been a design consultant on Heart of the Alien, created by the same group that developed Heart of Darkness.  I was also a fan of Flashback from Delphine Software and Blackthorne from Blizzard Entertainment and Interplay.

I knew I wanted to design a platform game with much more depth like these games demonstrated, but I didn’t have a concept that would fit it until Abe’s Oddysee came along.

Unfortunately, what I didn’t know is that Heart of Darkness was already in development and was much farther along than Abe’s Oddysee was, and from the demo disk I got from E3 it was going to be a hard game to beat.

I must have played the footage of Heart of Darkness hundreds of times over the course of developing the game play designs for Abe’s Oddysee, for I felt it set the benchmark in play and quality of graphics for us to beat.

Lucky for us, and unknown to us at the time, the development of Heart of Darkness dragged on for years, allowing Abe’s Oddysee to hit the market with no competition.

If Heart of Darkness had of come out when it was intended Abe’s Oddysee would have been seen as following in its footsteps and not as unique as it was.

In the end, in all modesty, after playing the final product Abe’s Oddysee is a far better game, but the final game does owe its core design motivation to Heart of Darkness.

-William Anderson