Oddworld franchise creator Lorne Lanning has claimed that despite his company Oddworld Inhabitants selling over 5 million retail copies of games in the popular series, they missed out on millions of dollars due to unpaid cheques.
Speaking "I sold over 5 million games at retail and I never saw one royalty cheque. Now if you go around and ask the rest of the developers who say, ‘Oh, we sold a million units!' Ask them how many royalty cheques they've had and it'll be, ‘Oh, well that's a sore spot'.", Lanning said,
The original plan was for Oddworld to become an expanded, ongoing universe much like Star Wars or Disney. "And we thought we could do that organically, we thought we could do that with successes," Lanning said. Apparently their publishers had other ideas, withholding vast sums of money from the studio.
Only a thorough audit uncovered the missing fees, and enabled Lanning and his partners to buy back the Oddworld Inhabitants company.
"Now fortunately someone told us to do that, and did the same thing, and that's ultimately how we got the company back,"
"Now fortunately someone told us to do that, and did the same thing, and that's ultimately how we got the company back,"he explained. "Because when we were able to prove that things were not what they should be then it was ‘pay us or give us the company back', very simple. And so that's how we got the company back, 100 per cent."
Oddworld Inhabitants came up with several titles from its inception 1994 to closure in 2005, including Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus and Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath. Lanning claims that he and his team were tired of the traditional publisher model.
"Well, we'd had enough of the terms. We'd had enough of what was happening,"
"Well, we'd had enough of the terms. We'd had enough of what was happening,"he said. "And what was happening was quite simply if you wanted to build big expensive games, and you were getting them funded by a publisher, you were basically giving up your company. I mean that's it, that's the nutshell of how the industry changed."
In 2010 the team re-emerged and began working with independent developer Just Add Water on Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee - New 'n Tasty, due out on July 22 for PC and consoles.