When most fans hear the words “Abe’s Quest”, I’d like to think most think of Phoetux’s awesome (albeit slightly differently named) video:
Yet recently I was sent an ancient document from a fellow fan called Sgabbit, that contains the details of an actual planned game with this name and it is way crazier than any of us could have imagined. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you:
Upon opening the document we’re greeted with an extremely stylish logo, followed by a quick table of contents in the document. The authors, or rather culprits, of this mess is a company called “Data Design Interactive”, whom are notorius for their low-budget shovelware games.
Afterwards we are given a short description about what sort of the game this is and the genre is something I don’t think anyone would have guessed:
Design document: “Abe’s Quest” is a strategy game in which Abe must rescue and lead the Mudokons against the evil Mullock. The Sligs are used by Mullock to try and capture Abe and the Mudokons with the principle of the game being reminiscent to that of “Worms 2”. “Abe’s Quest” is not a “Worms 2” clone instead the game idea has been vastly improved upon and as a result it involves a lot more strategy and all round gameplay.
It is indeed a turn-based shooter game reminiscent of Worms! The document then sings a hymn to Worms, citing how much of a successful genre it created and that its strength lies in the very straightforward, yet competitive gameplay. Afterwards they explain that while the concept itself is awesome, the sequels never really capitalized on other features like 3D (Worms3D came out five years later) or by presenting innovative new ideas and that the developers intend to fill this gap in the market.
They intend to do this with the following:
- Creating a “strong storyline” for the game
- Creating playtested levels instead of random-generation
- Turning the game 3D by utilizing multiple layers that can also interact with each other (I can’t believe Soulstorm ripped off Abe’s Quest!)
- Multiple types of characters (i.e. Mudokons, Sligs, wildlife)
- Interactive levels with features like traps, elevators, etc.
This is then followed by another list that details additional things that the project could deliver:
- “HD graphics”… of 512x256 images. In comparison, Abe’s Exoddus operated with 640x480 images.
- 25 (sic.) “cunningly designed” levels
- Special effects
- Environmental obstacles (wind, etc.)
- Many, customizable weapons
- One-turn kill Fatality moves… Yes, you heard it right, in an Oddworld game.
After this comes the best part of the whole thing: The story. I’ll put it here verbatim, because it truly puts everything OWI has produced to shame.
Mudokons’ story: After escaping from being used as food at the evil Rupture Farms in the original game, Abe returns home to Oddworld. He is determined to bring the reign of Molluck, the perpetrator of Rupture Farms crimes, to an end. At the communal temple in Oddworld, where Abe learnt to chant, there is a sacred bell which when struck and accompanied by the appropriate prayers can work miracles.
Abe’s intention is to carry the bell into the heart of the enemy’s territory and to finally confront Molluck and strike the bell. He knows that this will work a miracle and destroy Molluck’s power and set the Mudokons free.
So Abe sets out to the temple, but to his distress he finds squads of Sligs and Slogs patrolling the streets and nearing the temple itself. Abe knows that he must get to the bell first and so a battle of wits takes place between Abe and the Sligs as they run, jump, and leap about the temples complex structure. Abe finally secures the bell and with it strapped to his back he sets off on his perilous journey.
Legend has it that within the territory of Molluck and his evil minions, is a lost temple once built by the Mudokons. This temple is situated in a mountainous area, connected by narrow paths cut through the rock and by flimsy bridges, which are guarded by Sligs. Abe must travel into this country and find the temple where he will position the bell in its sacred bracket so that he can strike it. Of course he is hampered by Sligs and Slogs throughout his attempt. When the bell has finally sounded we see the waves of magic spread across the scene and the Sligs and Slogs explode.
Sligs’ story: Molluck, furious that a mere Mudokon should think to rebel against his massive food empire, has sent out an order that Abe should be captured and made to meat pies immediately. His Slig hordes are mobilised and sent out to Oddworld to scour the country for the refugee. Meanwhile Molluck has consulted a number of secret books which have alerted him to the existence of the sacred bell in the temple of Oddworld and he immediately realizes its importance and threat to his power.
He sends out an urgent message to his Sligs to secure the bell at all costs. They must get to the temple and having obtained the bell they are to bring it to Molluck, who intends to destroy it. The Sligs know they may have Abe and the Mudokons try to steal it back as they progress through the various lands to their masters domain. They know their lives are at risk if they fail to bring it to Molluck.
Molluck has also learnt of the lost temple and has sent out Sligs to guard the paths he thinks may lead to it. If he can find it, he can prepare a welcoming party for Abe when he shows up with the bell. Molluck has discovered one more thing, which concerns him. He knows that while Abe has the bell with him, his prayer power is enhanced to the point where he may be able to control an entire army of Sligs, Slogs, Scrabs or Paramites, and hence his own forces may be used against him.
Tidbits and conclusion
The document notes that the player can choose whether they want to play as the Mudokons or the Sligs, but talks very little about what happens if you choose the latter. It also amusingly mentions that Abe would be able to pick up weapons from the Sligs and use them in battle, which is as we all know a huge anti-thesis to the series. The document the quickly touches on single- and multi-player features, but they’re not very interesting so I’m leaving them out.
Finally the matter of how long this project would take is discussed and this is where the final pie throw to the face happens. The author explains how - after naming so many features and 25 levels - they would be able to churn out the game in 1.5 years, however, if OWI complies and provides them with sprites, they could “save considerable time.”
It might not be a huge surprise that OWI wasn’t really into the whole idea. While no epic bridge-burning from Lorne Lanning exists, one could easily imagine a very awkward phone call happening as the representative from OWI thinks to themselves whether this is for reals or not.
Thus Abe’s Quest disappeared from the face of the Earth, only to be uncovered more than twenty years later. DDI might have died back in 2012, but we can nonetheless still have a great laugh at their expense.