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How Oddworld's philosophy of 'trojan horse pop' will hide meaning in games

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During last week's DICE Europe 2013 event in London, Oddworld Inhabitants' co-founder Lorne Lanning gave insight into how developers can bring deeper meaning to their video games, warning that designers must learn to hide deeper ideas behind less meaningful packaging in order to penetrate the bubble of disenchanted gamers.

Lanning refers to the Trojan Horse as an example of the strategy developers need to adopt to bring meaning to games. In Virgil's The Aeneid, this giant wooden horse is given to the Trojans as a victory trophy while secretly hiding a Greek force of men inside who later would creep out and enter Troy.

According to Lanning, this development philosophy, which he refers to as "Trojan Horse pop," can be used to integrate high tech, global awareness, eco-literacy and interactive narratives into entertainment; however, Lanning warns of the difficulties of introducing these ideas directly and the risk of alienating an often jaded userbase through activist ideals.

The Trojan Horse philosophy forms the basis of the studio's own series of Oddworld titles which themsleves touch on concepts of slavery, globalization, food crisis and animal testing - something Lanning states was only made possible by weaving poignant themes behind a veil of entertainment.

A full remake of the original Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Oddworld: New ‘n' Tasty, is coming to the PlayStation 4 following its launch on  Windows PC, Linux, Mac, Wii U, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. Abe's Oddysee was originally released in 1997 for PlayStation, Windows PC and DOS platforms. In Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, the title follows the story of a worker at a meat-packing plant that is revealed to use factory slaves as a ready source of meat after wildlife resources have become depleted.