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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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Fusion, crossover, flux – the concept of hybrid elements combining in arts and culture is not new, but there is a fusion that involves filmmaking and multimedia that is: it’s in Oddworld. PETER ANDERSON reports on a small revolution.

As the world of multimedia expands, another first is here - the linking videos from a computer game have been submitted for Academy Award consideration. The makers of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus (sequel to the colossally successful Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee), are very pleased with themselves, and rightly so.

"You have difficulty believing that they are digital creations.."

Both games concern the character, Abe, a gangly, strangely voiced green dude who has to save his race, the Mudokons. They all live on Oddworld, a planet populated by many races that have been slaughtered for food by a big corporation.

The animation in these linking scenes is absolutely extraordinary. The movements are so natural and, ironically, quite human, fluid even. You have difficulty believing that they are digital creations rather than living beings.

The creators of Abe, Oddworld Inhabitants, call the movie "a mirror of the inequities found in our own society" as Abe battles to save his world and his people. The two driving forces, supervisor Lorne Lanning and producer Sherry McKenna worked together at Rythm and Hues Studios, producing effects for films (like Babe: Pig in the City), commercials and theme park rides.

Both have won awards: McKenna alone has won 30 Clio, 25 International Film & Television Awards and 20 International Broadcast and Addy Awards.

"latest development in the crossing of video game technology ... into other entertainment media"

"This is the latest development in the crossing of video game technology and content into other entertainment media," says Lorne Lanning of the short. It is indeed as no other game has ever had such a detailed series of link movies and nor has video game development included an idea such as this from day one.

The film recently showed in Los Angeles’ Laemmle cinema chain and was a roaring success during its three day run. The film was produced in the same rooms as the game but using the procedures of film production more familiar to producers of film. "We utilise a movie production model in developing our games to include scripts, storyboards, sketches, paintings and character sculptures...we have created a Digital Backlot."

The game itself is an enormous leap forward in terms of gameplay. The characters interact with each other, with some of the puzzles requiring delicate conversations with fellow Mudokons. When you say hello, they say hello back and give you a little wave. When you fart, they laugh. If you accidentally fart on a fellow Mudokon, you have the ability to tap them on the shoulder and say you are sorry as they are likely to be enraged by your actions and take a swing at you with their oversized, three fingered hands. The characters change colour according to their emotions.

"They could carry an Oscar home for this"

Sounds ridiculous but this is the kind of game that Oddworld produce, funny but thought provoking – the hero, Abe, never carries or fires a gun. The most powerful weapon in his posession (after his brains, or more precisely, yours) are his explosive farts. And it's this kind of lunacy that comes up with the idea to cross a boundary that no-one in their right mind would attempt.

But, so far, no-one has laughed at them. They could carry an Oscar home for this. Abe's Oddysey was bought by well over a million people (and counting) on Playstation and PC so the global audience for this film has a starting point of a million people.

Not bad for a first attempt.

Very funky, if you have a sec!: http://www.oddworld.com

And, if you think it worthwhile: http://www.gtinteractive.com

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