Oddworld: Soulstorm – What You Need to Know Before You Play
By Lorne Lanning
Oddworld: Soulstorm is not a traditional remake, which is a very popular trend in video games and has produced several wonderful games recently (I’m looking at you Resident Evil folks). Soulstorm builds on what we originally wanted to do 22 years ago. Back then, we weren’t afforded the time to execute that vision. We had just successfully released the first game in the quintology Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (later remade for PS4 as Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty) and we were asked to deliver a sequel within nine months.
We had to chop and cut down what we wanted to do to get it done. That meant Abe’s Exoddus was a wildly different story and experience than what we initially intended in the grand dream of the overarching five-game quintology.
But Soulstorm is a new game. It is our attempt to make the deeper and more conceptually unsettling second episode in the story of Abe that we originally intended all those years ago. But this time, we had more time (joke intended) and resources to try to achieve our goal. We also had massive leaps in developer tools and technical advancements to help us grow the games by adding new organic gameplay features and creating film quality cinematics.
Being self-published and self-financed gave us more flexibility, though it also made our progress move glacially slow, but we just went for it. It took a hell of a lot longer than we anticipated. To date, it is the most challenging production of our lives with it being a distributed development and creative project that would, for the last year of development, become a distributed Covid-19 development.
Our partners at Epic, Sony, Microids, and Unity helped us tremendously along the way and we would not be here without them. Most importantly, if not for fans of our games Soulstorm would never have happened. Thank you for your continued support all these years.
So, here we are, April 6th, 2021 and our original vision for the second game in Abe’s five-part quintology, Oddworld: Soulstorm is now available.
Let’s dive into things you should know about the game.
Minimum requirements are as follows: Windows 7 64 Bit, Intel Quad Core 1.7Ghz, nVidia GTX 670 or equivalent, 8GB RAM.
Recommended requirements are Windows 10 64 Bit, Intel Quad Core 2.3Ghz, nVidia GTX 970 or equivalent, 16GB RAM.
More details on PC specs can be found here.
SAVE THEM ALL - YOUR FOLLOWERS ARE IMPORTANT
There are nearly 1,400 Mudokons that you can save in the game. How you decide to play is up to you, but keep in mind there are two endings (SEE ENDINGS) in the game. To unlock the “good ending” you have to have saved at least 80% of the Mudokons in a minimum of 12 of the 15 levels. The “good ending” provides two additional levels bringing the total number of levels to 17 and a new cinematic.
There is strength in numbers with Followers being a plus multiplier for Abe. In New ‘n’ Tasty, Mudokons followed you or stayed put. They were beasts of burden you led through deadly obstacle courses in the hopes you would lead them to rescue, but they gave you no real support or power of scale; they just made your job harder.
In Soulstorm, it's more than just saving the nearly 1,400 Mudokons for a better quarmic score and narrative outcome (See Endings). Players will be able to harness the power found in numbers to solve their way out of more difficult situations that could be impossible for Abe to take on alone. This also gives the player an ability to place these more capable (and potentially lethal) followers around a level to lie in wait as active agents that can be used to protect Abe’s (and each other's) backs. We wanted an ability for the player to position individuals like guards and have a defensive and offensive capability after you got them to become a follower of Abe.
Endings! Soulstorm has 15 levels, with two additional levels at the end of the game (making for 17 levels in all) if you are good at saving Mudokons. There are four types of endings in the game. At the end of each individual level, you receive a Quarma score, which is based on the number of Mudokons you save. You must save at least 80% of the Mudokons in a level to achieve a good score, but to make it clear, you don’t have to save any in order to progress through the game’s first 15 levels. But, this 80% score is vital if you want to unlock levels 16 and 17.
Here is the breakdown of the levels. If you save at least 80% up to six levels you will earn the worst ending. If you achieve that score in at least 7 and not higher than 11 levels you unlock the bad ending which has an explosive ending cinematic. If you safely save the 80% number in at least 12 of the 15 levels, you earn the good ending which includes an additional cinematic and unlocks levels 16 and 17 to play. Lastly, if you secure 80% in every single level, all 17, you earn an additional ending (newspaper cinematic).
LEVEL SELECT GAME MODE
Once you finish the game, you unlock Level Select. This mode allows you to replay any level you want, as much as you want. It allows you to replay levels to improve your Quarma score and earn more badges (See Quarma & Leaderboards).
More importantly, if you didn’t unlock the ending you wanted(See Ending), you can replay the levels where you saved less than 80% and try to improve your score. Once you achieve at least 80% in a minimum of 12 out of the 15 levels, you will unlock the good ending.
But like all Oddworld games, you should expect a challenge. In Level Select if you die, don’t worry, you will respawn at the nearest check point. But there are NO SAVE POINTS. None. Nada. You must play the entire level all the way through to earn your new Quarma score and badges.
QUARMA & LEADERBOARDS
At the end of each level, you are given a Quarma score based on the number of Mudokons you save vs those you either didn’t find or were killed, as well as earned badges. The more Mudokons you save, the higher your Quarma score.
If you want to unlock the “good ending” that you save at least 80% of the Mudokons in a minimum of 12 of the first 15 levels in the game. You can upload your scores to the leaderboards to see where you rank against other Soulstorm players.
WHAT IS 2.9D?
Glad you asked. 2.9D was created to show how vulnerable our characters would feel when facing off against enormously scaled intimidating worlds full of epic threats and brutal dangers. Traditional platforming games tend to be your standard side-scrolling fare, but we want to create an epic world that shows how small Abe is and how large the forces against him are.
We created new core tool systems and behavioral rules that allowed us to capture a much larger journey with greater sense of scale and more depth while moving through the world as gameplay and story unfolds. At the beginning of a level, you will be given a grand view of where you must go to get to the next level and thanks to 2.9D, you will be able to travel into the game as opposed to running only left or right.
SCAVENGING & CRAFTING
Abe and his fellow Mudokons are up against an all-powerful, all controlling, well financed force. On Abe’s journey, you can scavenge for loot, supplies, and other materials that you can use to help you and your followers. Pickpocket, loot trash cans and lockers, find hidden materials in boxes, etc. As you progress, you will unlock recipes to build better items and weapons. You can even sell surplus to vending machines for moolah and buy items as well. Keep in mind that your followers can be armed with the items and weapons you build, and they can join in the fight when necessary or help solve problems that Abe cannot do alone.
INFINITE HANG & NECRUM_IN
We want to be upfront with you. There is a bug we are still working on squashing. It does NOT cause any game save data loss. There have been a few instances in our testing over the Easter holiday weekend where Abe gets stuck in an infinite falling loop. This happens when jumping, falling, or death is interrupted over a single (just one) frame by another state. This results in a soft lock, meaning Abe is frozen. Until we release the new patch, the fix is simple, just reload from the last checkpoint and you will pick right back up.
Expect it to be patched ASAP.
Oddworld: Soulstorm is its own individual game to enjoy, but if you haven’t played Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, here is a brief synopsis of the game.
Abe was happy cog in the corporate machine at a meat processing plant called RuptureFarms. He believed the lies he was fed. His sole purpose was to serve a conglomerate of greed, and he had no idea that after his usefulness dried up it would consume him, quite literally, in the end. There’s a moment where Abe clearly sees what’s happening around him, not just what “big brother” tells him to see. That moment changed his destiny. He tries to escape but something inside of him, a greater purpose compels him to save every Mudokon at the plant.
And this brings us back to Soulstorm.
We are excited to let you play the game. We hope you enjoy it. We wish you and yours good health, good fortune, and happiness.
More information on the Oddworld franchise can be found here!
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