Lorne Lanning: 'I believe in the power of media to make a better world'

Of all the games I played at E3, none of them brought me back to the heyday of the 1990s like Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty.

New n' Tasty is a built-from-the-ground-up HD reboot of the original 1997 Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, a 2D sidescroller/puzzle game that commented on heavier themes than most games of the mid '90s. Although the approach was decidedly light-hearted, Abe tackled corporate greed, environmentalism, and, in a very direct (if dramatic) way, classism and income inequality.

I asked Abe's creator and New 'n' Tasty supervisor Lorne Lanning whether he felt those themes resonated even more today than they did when Abe first arrived.

"The fact is, it was just as relevant then, it just wasn't recognized," he told Polygon. Lanning told us that in the '90s, speaking out about environmental issues was as likely to get him branded a "conspiracy theorist" as anything else.

"At the time, I remember, a lot of people would say 'it’s anti-capitalist,' and I was like, fucking A it is!" he laughed. "But if I said that, I'd get further dogged as a socialist or something."

"So, it was my opinion, as an artist, that good art reflects the world… Great content has a lot more depth." He spoke about movies that influenced him, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and Apocalypse Now. "When you saw a movie like that, you never forgot it for the rest of your life. I was like 'can we try to make games that have a similar type of impact?'" he said.

"I'm a kid who learned how to read from Sesame Street, not from school," he told me. "So I believe in the power of media to make a better world."

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is slated for release on all of the PlayStation platforms, Wii U, PC, Mac and Linux in 2014.

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