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Oddworld's Lorne Lanning recalls the Russians who made EA "afraid"

Reveals horrific Japanese event that altered Mudokon Pops! logo.

Who scares EA more than Activision? In 1997 it was Russian mobsters, by the sound of things.

Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning recounted a tale at the Eurogamer Expo about a licensing issue with Oddworld: Stranger (later Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath).

"So there was a Russian game and it was called Stranger and it was an RTS. We were originally just calling it Stranger, but it wasn't the final name - we didn't intend on it. And then we got some legal notices from a very, let's say from a group that EA was afraid of. Not only legally but in other ways too.

"Did I mention it was Russian developer?" he quipped with a smile.

That wasn't the only run-in Oddworld had with our odd world.

Before and after: the original and altered Mudokon Pops! logos.

"In content you always have to be careful for changing market conditions or events. For instance, for Mudokon Pops!, the logo was originally a head on a stick. And then something happened in Japan where a kid murdered someone in a school yard - school kids - and then hung the head on a stick on the front of the school," recalled Lanning.

"And it shocked the Japanese people; it was very uncommon. In good taste, you change that."

The Art of Oddworld book cited undisclosed current events in Japan as the reason the Mudokon Pops! packaging was changed. Mudokons are an enslaved alien species. Abe was/is a Mudokon. Mudokon Pops! is a meat product: processed Mudokons. Abe's Oddysee begins as Abe discovers he's to be killed and turned into food.

"Another case is Munch's Odysee," Lanning continued. "All of the newspapers that were reporting the fugitives throughout the game were originally calling them terrorists. And then shortly before release, we had 9/11.

"So..." he trailed off. "You have have to be adaptable."

The reason for those stories was that, after Abe's Oddysee New 'n Tasty (revealed today at the Eurogamer Expo), Lanning and Just Add Water hope to do Squeek's Oddysee. But sometimes unforeseen events get in the way.

"The intent is Squeek would be the next," he said, "but maybe something happens that makes that not make sense. Regardless, you have to be malleable. But it is the intent."