The Oddworld Fandom Survey
Out of curiosity I’ve decided to make a little survey about the preferences and knowledge of the average Oddworld fan. The results were quite interesting and I wish to share my thoughts about them here. The results can be found here: Results
While only less than two hundred people took the test, considering that usually the Instagram posts get around 350-400 likes and this is also how many people are online on OWI’s Discord on average, I think it’s not far-fetched to consider these statistics valid enough to identify trends.
Preferences about the games
Which game is fan-favorite?
Of course the first question is staple and expected.
The winner of this category was not surprising to me: Nearly 60% of people asked said that Abe’s Exoddus is their favorite. And let’s be honest, that game really showed what Oddworld Inhabitants were capable of when they had a strong base to build on.
Abe’s Oddysee came in second, with around 22% percent of the votes, taking more votes than the rest of the games combined.
Munch and Stranger gained the same amount of votes, making up about 16%.
And last but not least, with a little less than 3% of the votes NnT closes the list.
Which game would need the most improvements?
Of course to balance the strongest, we also need to know which game was the weakest.
Likely to not many’s surprise, Munch took the first place with 62% of the votes. But that’s to be expected when even Lorne Lanning has admitted multiple times, that they screwed up.
Taking a strong second place, we have New ‘n’ Tasty. Seems like the new art-direction and perhaps other elements didn’t buy most people’s hearts. But more on this later.
Abe’s Oddysee took third place. Taking our rose-tinted glasses off, it becomes apparent, that while AO is charming and will always hold a special place in our heart, it had a few hiccups and pain-points.
At the fourth place we have Stranger’s Wrath. The people who chose it didn’t really elaborate, some asked for a remaster, some claimed that the world wasn’t alive or “Oddworld enough”.
And as expected Exoddus is at the fifth place, earning only a tiny part (2%) of the votes.
Which game’s design do you prefer?
In this question we pitted Abe’s Oddysee against it’s modern depiction. The results were conclusive. Out of all the people asked almost 75% percent considered Oddysee’s design to be better.
How many of the games have you completed?
The answers here showed an almost perfect upwards slope. Only two people didn’t complete any of the games, on the other hand nearly 60 have finished all of them. Seems like Oddworld fans don’t just claim that they’re fans, they also prove it!
Preferences about the world
Who’s your favorite protagonist?
Of course the first question we should be asking is which character is the one that fans hold the most dearly.
Our hapless, blue schmuck has gained over 85% percent of the votes, Stranger came in second with around 10% of the votes and Munch ended up as the least favorite with 5%. Better luck next time!
Who’s your favorite antagonist?
A question that has divided the fandom way more, but considering Oddworld has no shortage of charming and gruesome villains, this was to be expected.
The first spot is of course everyone’s favorite Big Cheese and Meanest Boss in the World: Molluck the Glukkon, taking just a bit less than half the votes.
Interestingly at the second place we have the most helpless of the Glukkon-triumvirate, what’s his name again? Dripik? Oh, I knew that, I really did.
The third place belongs to the lord of the Mongo River and Big-Game Hunter of Steefs, Sekto.
The next spot is split between two - or rather three - antagonists. Both the Brewmaster of Exoddus and Munch’s most infamous Vykkers, Humphrey and Irwin reached the same number of votes.
After them comes first Director Phleg, then the one who has been taking good care of us, Vice-President Aslik.
The last character who got any considerable votes is the current head of the Magog Cartel, the Glukkon-queen, Lady Margaret.
As honorable mentions, both the Slig-queen, Skillya and Lady Margaret’s Grandmother got one-one votes.
Which Wildlife species is your favorite?
Of course just because something is cool, it doesn’t mean that it won’t try to kill you. The creature at the first place shows this well: Scrabs have received over 50% of the votes.
The other holy Mudokon animals, the Paramites got 35% of the votes, overshadowing the rest of the creatures.
The next on the list are Fleeches. They received almost 10% of the votes. Who would even vote for them?
At the penultimate place we have Meeps from Munch. These one eyed sheep have won more people’s heart compared to the now sadly-extinct and last on the list animals, the Meeches.
Which Industrialist species is your favorite?
Forget the head honchos, the Oddworld fandom hails Sligs as their favorite technologically advanced creatures.
Of course we don’t have to go looking for the Glukkons either, they’re number two, followed by Vykkers.
5% of the votes belong to Slogs. Good doggies!
The Interns received two votes. I’m sure they’d voice their appreciation, if their mouths weren’t sewn shut.
Which Slig mask do you prefer?
This is actually a question that comes up surprisingly frequently. Two thirds of the fandom consider the original, Oddysee-era HUD visor to be the superior Slig mask, while one third prefers the Pilot googles that debuted in Exoddus.
Knowledge over the series
Who drew the picture above?
I masked over Mr. Olds’ name on the picture in the survey, so that it’s not just a reading comprehension exercise.
I included this question because I was wondering just how well the fandom knows the people who shaped Oddworld outside of Lanning.
The answer seems to be not terribly well.
Almost two thirds of the voters chose “Abraham O’Neil”. There is just one problem. Abraham O’Neil doesn’t exist. There was never a person who worked at OWI with this name, I made him up. In fact “Abraham” on the picture refers to Abe and is the title of the drawing.
Nearly twenty percent of the votes went to Mr. Lanning himself. While he was the one who invented the character in his mind, bringing him to life wasn’t his job.
Finally at the third place we have the real answer: Steven Olds.
This person gave shape and personality to some of the most important creatures in Oddworld. Abe, Scrabs, Paramites, the Glukkons and even Sligs. We can thank all these to him and more.
The Artbook us tells the following:
[The Art of Oddworld Inhabitants: The First Ten Years]
“Lorne and production designer Steven Olds talked extensively about Abe before pencil was put to paper. They did not have a particular image in mind, except that Abe should not be attractive and have a pathetic, yet hopeful and optimistic feel about him.
His physical posture should be poor, his walking gate humorous and naive and the emotional associations should provoke sympathy when he is looked upon. After a great many iterations, a three-quarter view nailed the energy and emotional quality of Abe.
Additional iterations provided a front view of Abe, as well as a three-quarter view, that were consistent in character emotive qualities and pretty much became the Abe of today.”
The fourth place is shared between two people. The first is Paul O’Connor, who was a game designer and not an artist. The second is Farzad Varahramyan, who was indeed an artist and a very important one at that, but he had nothing to do with Abe.
Three people thought it’s Raymond Swanland, but no, his work is less about living creatures and more of the world itself that they’re living in.
Who was Alf named after?
While the correct answer didn’t have absolute majority, it was still the one most people voted on out of the five. Alf was named after Alfred Gamble, a fan of Oddworld, who fought off his suicidal feelings thanks to the games. Read more about him here, it’s a story worth knowing.
I wouldn’t spend too much time on the others, these explanations were all made up by me, but here’s the ranking:
- He was named in honor a recently passed employee
- Neither of these
- Sherry McKenna really liked this name and wanted to include it in one of the games.
- Lorne Lanning wanted to include a bit of fantasy in the series, so he modified the word “Elf”.
What is the Schism?
Over 60% percent of the voters knew about the story that kickstarted the conflict between Mudokons and Glukkons oh-so-many years ago.
17% thought it refers to Molluck’s absence, but this event is not named.
12% believed this to be a trick question and answered Neither of these.
Finally 10% claimed the ceremony at the end of Oddysee’s good ending was named this, but similarly to the previous answer, this is also not named.
Throughout the development of Munch’s Oddysee,
Munch was planned to be able to turn into a hulking beast.
What was this creature’s name?
OWI has played around with the idea of giving Munch a Dr. Jekkyl / Mr. Hyde like personality, which was caused by the cruel experiments and steroid treatment of the Vykkers. The name of this creature is also a reference to these experiments as Munch’s ‘less-sophisticated’ side was nicknamed Roid.
About a third of the voters thought this is a trick question and claimed that it’s Neither of these.
31% thought it’s probably CRUNCH, which is not a bad guess. I am actually quite proud of making this name up, because I think it’d be fairly easy to believe that if the base name was already a “sound”, then the transformed one would be too.
Roid - which was the correct answer - got 26% of the votes.
And finally we have Beefy followed closely by Muscle.
Who is Wildum?
Almost 40% claimed that it’s Neither of these and they were correct! Wildum was a friendly Slig, who didn’t beat Abe and Alf and even socialized with them. He was later beat to death using his own arms by other Sligs, when they found out that he was different.
23% believed it was a Glukkon who was originally intended to have a much greater role in the series, but was later cut. While there are Glukkons who fit this description (for example Lulu), none of them were named Wildum.
The option that claimed that SligStorm’s protagonist, the albino Slig was named Wildum also received 23%. This Slig was, however, not named.
The following in the list is a Mudokon Khanzumer. There is one, but his name is Buddy.
And finally the answer that got the least amount of votes was that this is in fact the BigFace’s real name. He never reveals what’s his real name is (if he even has one).
Information about you
Did you find the previous section hard?
Almost 80% replied Yes. I’m not going to play the gatekeeper here. Everyone has the right to decide how much they want to know about the games and the company, however, I think this shows a problem. There is no endorsed, official supply of information, so while there are plenty of fans who are trying their best to proliferate knowledge to others, as we can see there is much left to be desired.
As a fun fact, there were only 4 people who knew the answer to every question in the previous section, making up 2% of all voters. On the other hand 32 people didn’t know the answer to even a single question (18%).
Which fan sited do you use to learn more about Oddworld?
The Oddworld Fandom (some might know it as the Wikia) won in this category as the most used site. Congrats!
Following closely, OWF claims the second place, which honestly surprised me. Everyone always talks about how the site is dead and no one uses it anymore.
The third place belongs to the TOL network, Xavier’s version of the Oddworld wiki.
Just behind TOL, we have Magog on the March, the archive of interviews, videos and all obscure things related to Oddworld.
And finally at the fifth place we find Oddwords, this very site. I am very glad that over 30 people are interested in the stuff I’m saying.
A few honorable mentions: The Reddit and Tumblr.
There are also a few answers mentioning the Official Discord and other official channels. Considering that this question explicitly asked for ‘fan-sites’, these had to be discarded.
How old were you when you first played Oddworld?
How old are you now?
I’ve decided to take these two questions as one, just to put them in contrast:
The average Oddworld fan first played the game at age 7 and is now about 23 years old. This really shows that just because the game was marketed to “Teens”, most of the people who remember it so fondly were in fact little children at the time.
Which country are you from?
Because people answered so many kinds of ways, it’s hard to make a proper assessment, but this is the general trend:
Most people from the USA and UK. The majority of the remaining voters were from Europe. The largest minority was from Australia (home of OWF). However, we got people from all around the world, even exotic places like Kuwait, Bahrain, Israel and Saud Arabia.
What is your gender?
84% percent of the people asked were male.
12% were female.
One voter identified themselves as genderfluid and one as nonbinary.
The rest were joke submissions:
- MEAT POPSICLE
I am very grateful that so many people took part in this survey, the answers were quite interesting to see. I’m hoping to do another survey once Soulstorm drops to see whether it had any effect on the fanbase or not.