Another World (video game)

Another World (video game)
Another World
Another World
One of several box arts used for Another World
Developer(s) Eric Chahi
Publisher(s) Delphine Software International, Frogster Interactive Pictures, Interplay Entertainment, U.S. Gold
Designer(s) Eric Chahi
Composer(s) Jean-François Freitas
Platform(s) Amiga, Apple IIGS, Atari ST, DOS, Mega Drive, SNES, Mac OS, 3DO, Mega-CD, GBA, Mobile phone (Symbian OS), Windows, Windows Mobile, iOS
Release date(s) Amiga, Atari ST
1991
Apple IIGS, DOS, SNES, Mega Drive
1992
3DO
1993
Mobile
2005
iOS
  • NA September 22, 2011[1]
Genre(s) Cinematic platformer
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) ESRB: T (13+)
USK: 12+
Media/distribution Floppy disk, cartridge, CD-ROM, download

Another World, also known as Out of This World in North America and Outer World in Japan, is a 1991 cinematic platformer designed and developed by Eric Chahi. Selling around 1 million copies in the 1990s,[2] Another World was innovative in its use of cinematic effects in the graphics, sound and cut scenes, with characters communicating through their facial features, gestures, and actions only. This cinematic style granted Another World cult status amongst critics and fans.

Originally developed on an Amiga 500 for the Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS and MS-DOS platforms, the game was widely ported to other contemporary systems. Later efforts resulted in several game engine recreations for the game that permitted it to run on modern computers, consoles and mobile phones. In 2006, Chahi independently released a 15th Anniversary Edition for Windows which allowed the game to be played on modern computers with original or enhanced visuals.

Contents

Gameplay

The first level of the Sega Genesis version, with Lester climbing out of the lake.

Another World is a platform game, where the player uses the keyboard or gamepad to make the protagonist Lester run, jump, attack or perform other actions. In the initial part of the game, Lester is weaponless, able to kick at small creatures but otherwise vulnerable. After escaping with his alien ally, Lester acquires a laser pistol from a fallen foe. The pistol has three capabilities: a standard fire mode, the abilities to create force fields to block enemy fire, and a powerful charged shot that can break through force fields and some walls. Later, Lester also gains a plasma ball that can be used like a grenade to defeat foes. Enemies will also have the same capabilities, requiring the player to take advantage of the three gun modes and the environment to overcome hostile forces and escape.

Lester and his alien ally cannot sustain any damage, and the game will be over if either takes a hit. However, the game uses numerous checkpoints, and the player can restart at the last point indefinitely. On older consoles without the ability to save a game, the player can write down an alphanumeric code for these checkpoints and re-enter it when they restart the game later.

Plot

The protagonist of the game is Lester Knight Chaykin, a young, athletic physicist. Lester arrives at his high-tech underground laboratory in his Ferrari during a thunderstorm, and continues to work on his experiment using a particle accelerator. Right before the particles reach their intended destination, lightning strikes the laboratory and interferes with the accelerator, causing the unforeseen teleportation of Lester to a barren, alien planet.

After evading a number of dangerous indigenous animals, Lester is enslaved by a race of humanoid aliens and taken to a subterranean mine/prison system. With the help of a captive alien, Lester tries to escape, and must continue to evade capture whilst travelling through dangerous environments, battling wild creatures and solving numerous puzzles to survive natural hazards.

In the end, Lester is severely wounded by a guard, but manages to save his alien friend from death. His friend picks up the weak Lester and they escape on a giant pterodactyl-like creature, flying off to the horizon.

Development

Eric Chahi, the creator of Another World, at the 2011 Game Developers Conference

Eric Chahi had previously developed video games since 1983 without any significant success.[3] In August 1989, two years since his last program, Chahi was impressed by the flat-color animations that the Amiga version of Dragon's Lair had and thought that it would be possible to use vector outlines to create a similar effect using much less computer storage. After first attempting to write the graphical routines in C, he turned to assembly language. He wrote a polygon routine for the Motorola 68000 on an Atari ST to test his theory, with much success. Later, he found that he could run the code on the Amiga platform and achieve a frame rate of about 20 frames per second, later recognizing this as "a major turning point in the creation of the game" and the point where he knew the polygon approach would work.[3] He was able to take advantage of the Amiga's genlock capabilities to create rotoscoped animations with the polygons, using video recordings of himself performing various actions.[3][4] Though he had tried to use smaller polygons (which Chahi called "pixigons") to construct the backgrounds for the scenes based on Deluxe Paint artwork, the process of creating them was excrutiatingly slow, and he returned to using bitmapped images.[3][4]

While he had a clear idea of how to implement his game engine, he mostly improvised when creating the actual content of the game, allowing the game to develop "layer by layer without knowing where it was going".[3][5] He planned on creating a science fiction game that was similar to Karateka and Impossible Mission. Because he wanted to create a dramatic, cinematic experience, the game has no HUD or dialog, giving the player only a representation of the surrounding game world during both gameplay elements and the cut scenes progressing the story. However, with no idea of the technical limitations he would face while building out the story, he focused more on creating ambiance, rhythmic pacing, and narrative tension to the game.[3] Chahi resorted to developing his own tool with a new programming language through GFA Basic coupled with the game's engine in Devpac Assembler, to control and animate the game, interpreted in real-time by the game engine, effectively creating his own animation sequencer.[3][4]

With the creation of the tools needed for building out the rest of the game by December 1989, Chahi began working on the introductory sequence as a means to validate the full capacities of his engine. The introduction sequence also gave Chahi the chance to explore the types of cinematics he could create through the engine. Chahi later considered this the "first step in the improvisation process" that he used throughout the rest of development.[3] He finished the game's introduction sequence in early 1990 and started working on the first level. Chahi worked at the game at a linear pace, developing each section of the game in the chronological order and influenced by his own personal feelings and attitude at the time.[3] For example, as Chahi recognized he was trying to create a game on his own, the first portions of the game evoke loneliness and isolation, reflecting Chahi's mood at the time.[3] He did not have the original intention of the character meeting an ally, but again described the improvisation approach led him to include the alien friend, and had included specific cinematics that showed a close up of the alien to help the player imagine this world.[3]

Later in the game's development, Chahi added laser pistols, including the one that Lester carries for several effects. The idea was influenced by the Star Wars franchise, but added depth to the gameplay giving the player more options.[3] He also found that repeated laser fire by the enemies also helped to enunciate the rhythm of the game.[3] Chahi would later add in the plasma ball that increased the available strategy to players.[3] Several points in the game use elevators or teleporters to move Lester between levels; Chahi had used these instead of stairways as it was difficult to produce proper animation for these.[3]

After seventeen months of development, Chahi was only about one-third completed with the game, and realized that this rate would have been impractical.[3] He began to take steps to simplify the development, including reusing background graphics and creating building blocks that allowed him to focus more on the game's puzzles.[3] At the same time, he began to seek a publisher for the game. He first spoke to his former employer, Delphine Software, but also sought other distributors. One, Virgin Games, were favorable to Chahi's game but had suggested that he change it to a point-and-click adventure style game. Chahi had considered changing the game by this request but realized "the effort to do this would have been too huge, and some friends who played the game loved it".[3] Ultimately, he accepted Delphine's offer in June 1991, and set a tentative release date in November.[3] To meet this deadline, Chahi used storyboards to sketch out the rest of the game's plot, balancing the overall pacing of the game.[3] One ending captured on these storyboards but abandoned was Lester becoming the leader of the alien world. The game was finished in 1991, which inspired the game's tagline: "It took six days to create the Earth. Another World took two years"; Chahi noted his own exhaustion at completing this project mirrors in the near-death of Lester at the end of the game.[3]

Upon publishing, Delphine did not perform a playtest of the full game, only having previously tested the first portion of the game. Delphine's U.S. publisher, Interplay undertook a full playtest, and Chahi fixed a number of bugs that arose from this. Interplay had also requested additional changes in the game, including making the game longer and changing the game's introduction music. Chahi was adamant about retaining the game's opening music, and had attempted to change Interplay's minds by sending them an "infinite fax," a looped piece of paper, with the message "keep the original intro music" on it. Only until Delphine got involved and told Interplay they legally could not change the music did Interplay relax this change.[3]

Versions

Screenshot of the introduction to the final level from the original Amiga version

The game was originally released for the Amiga and Atari ST in 1991, running at a display resolution of 320×200 pixels. These versions received less play-testing than other versions, making for a less-fluid game, but the Amiga's sound capabilities afford it a high sound quality compared to contemporary ports.[6] The game released on the Atari ST is identical but with a less refined sound. These versions had code wheel protection that made it difficult to use unauthorized copies, forcing the player to enter a code (series of figures) looked up from a code wheel that came with the game. The player had to turn the wheel according to the number that was requested in the screen whenever the game is loaded or he/she would have to re-load the game. Another small change between the Amiga and ST versions and the others was that Lester would yell as he grabs the vine in the first area if he wasn't being chased by the beast in these versions. This feature was omitted from most other versions.[citation needed]

The game was released in North America under the title Out of this World in order to avoid confusion with the popular but unrelated soap opera Another World. Coincidentally, the science fiction sitcom Out of This World aired at the same time of the game's USA-Canada release.[citation needed]

Reviews praised the game's graphics, sound, and gameplay, but criticized its brevity. Chahi responded with a new level just before the arena when the alien friend rescues Lester at the end of a long dead-end corridor. Also added were more dangers, which were a guard in the prison at the bottom of the lift, more lethal steam jets added in the maze-like ventilation system, and two enemies on the bottom of the pool in the power circuit area. This ended up being the 1992 MS-DOS version, which was coded by Daniel Morais, and had the exact code wheel protection of the Amiga and ST versions. The Macintosh version programmed by "Burger" Bill Heineman features higher resolution than the MS-DOS version, but is otherwise identical.[citation needed]

Through Interplay, the game was ported to the SNES, the Sega Mega Drive, and the Apple IIGS in 1992. The Super Nintendo and Apple IIGS ports were also programmed by "Burger" Bill Heineman and were unique in that they both used changing background musical scores throughout the game, adding a very cinematic feel to specific scenes. This differed from other ports which only had music for the opening and ending. Interplay wanted to add additional tunes by Charles Deenen. They also wanted to exchange Jean-François Freitas's music for a different soundtrack, but Chahi did not agree to the change. It was Delphine's lawyer who helped the original intro music be kept. Nintendo then requested that all scenes that feature blood, or any blood-like thing, such as the venus flytrap saliva, as well as a brief nudity scene, be redrawn. Of interest is the fact that Out of This World was the only game directly ported from the Super Nintendo over to the Apple IIGS, which shared the same 65C816 microprocessor.[citation needed]

The 3DO port was developed by Interplay in 1993, and features very detailed backgrounds. However, Chahi believes that this actually detracts from the game because the polygons don't fit in with this, and thus make the backgrounds look flat. The game's soundtrack was changed again, albeit without any legal troubles, due to Chahi's focus on Heart of Darkness. Some new tunes were also added, such as when Lester escapes the big pool in the first level and when he is grabbed by the guard that appears at the end. These tunes are all played from the disc. At the ending was a fragment of intro of Heart of the Alien. Also included in some versions of this 3DO release was a separate mini game called "Stalactites", in which the player pushes up Stalactites shapes falling from the top of the screen.[7] Another hidden feature of this version is the animation of Bill Heineman getting his head chopped off.[8]

The Super Nintendo, Mega Drive, 3DO and Apple IIGS ports each contain a prologue before the introduction begins, which consists of an entry that comes from Lester's diary. The Mega Drive port's prologue was different from that of the SNES and 3DO ports.[citation needed]

The game was also intended to be ported to the Atari Jaguar, but the project was cancelled even before development began on it.[9] However, Jagware got permission from Chahi to port it to the JagCF.[citation needed]

Chahi acquired the rights to Another World's intellectual property from Delphine after they closed down in July 2004. Magic Productions then offered to port the game to mobile phones, and it was ported with help from Cyril Cogordan. Chahi saw that the game's playability could be improved, so he used his old Amiga for reprogramming certain parts of the script. He made the graphics' shading clearer in order to counter mobile phones' low resolutions. In July 2005, almost a decade and a half after it was first released on the Amiga, the game was released for mobile phone handsets using the Symbian operating system, thanks to Telcogames and developer Magic Productions. The mobile phone version is currently distributed to mobile operators (notably via Handango) by Telcogames. Magic Productions also released a Pocket PC version for Windows Mobile 5 OS or higher in QVGA (320×240 resolution).[citation needed]

At the 2011 Game Developers Conference, Chahi announced that an iOS port of the title will be created by DotEmu and distributed by BulkyPix.[10]

15th Anniversary re-release

After the release of the Pocket PC version, in 2006 Chahi created a new Windows version that was targeted at Windows XP. Emmanuel Rivoire increased the resolution to 1280×800 pixels and Chahi created more detailed backgrounds. He found that his original choice to use polygons for the game characters enabled him to use the original character art at a higher resolution. The game still supports the original 320×200 resolution, as well as the original background art (as an option), and it features twice as many checkpoints as the original, which makes it somewhat easier. The game does not include Interplay's extra music, but it does include the extra level, as well as the added enemies and hazards from the console versions along with updated sound quality. This version is known as the Collector's Edition and regarded by Chahi as the ultimate version of the game.[citation needed]

This version is also part of the Another World 15th Anniversary Edition CD-ROM released in 2007, which also included a development diary, a technical handbook, a manual and an 18-minute video with interviews of the designers Eric Chahi and Jean-François Freitas talking about the development of the game. The 15th Anniversary Edition was planned to feature an audio CD with the exclusive soundtracks of Another World by Jean-François Freitas; however, a separate CD is not present in 2007 prints of the Anniversary Edition, which instead offers the soundtrack in form of MP3, Ogg Vorbis and WAV audio files.[citation needed]

The digital rights management on the 15th Anniversary Edition CD-ROM is particularly draconian – upon installation, the game verifies the user's serial number through the Internet, allowing only for five installations of the game using any given serial number. Uninstallation does not reset the count, so after five installations, no matter the circumstance, one must purchase a new copy. This problem does not exist on the digital copy sold by Good Old Games.[citation needed]

20th Anniversary re-release

On the September 22, 2011, Apple released a special 20th anniversary edition for the iPhone and iPad, featuring a switch between the original and HD graphics, a new intuitive touch controls or classic D-pad, three difficulty modes, and remastered sound effects.[citation needed]

Unofficial ports

  • In 1995, a Windows 3.x version was released, which was ported by Alexander Okrug. This version includes MIDI renditions of the intro and ending music.[citation needed]
  • In 2004, Cyril Cogordan "Foxy" released an unofficial Game Boy Advance port by reverse engineering the Atari ST version. This version's C code eventually led to a Symbian mobile port. Originally Chahi was against the port, but in 2005 he decided to authorize its distribution. Around the same time, another unofficial GBA source port was made by Gil Megidish. This port was based on the 3DO version, and required the original 3DO CD to run so that only those who already owned the game would be able to play it. An unofficial GP32 port was made by Philippe Simons using reverse engineering by Grégory Montoir. The port won a prize during the GBAX 2005 competition.[citation needed]
  • The game was released as freeware for play on the Game Boy Advance on April 28, 2005, via a game engine recreation by FoxySofts. It has also been released as freeware for play on the GP32 on May 31, 2005, and the Dreamcast on December 31, 2005, via a game engine recreation by Gregory Montoir (cyx) entitled raw (rewritten engine for Another World). On December 2, 2006, the game engine was ported to the PalmOS Tapwave Zodiac, although the emulator requires original files to be playable.[citation needed]
  • An unofficial port was developed for the Atari 8-bit line of computers (Atari 400/800, XL, XE) by a Polish programmer Robert Drag. However, it seems to be only a demo version, as when the player breaks out of the cage at the beginning of the second level, the guard is not killed and there is no way to complete the scene.[11]
  • In 2010, a programmer known as djdron released "New RAW" - Another World Interpreter for Dingoo A320 Native OS, based on Gregory Montoir's previous work. The release was licensed under the GPL.[citation needed]
  • In 2011, a developer named Gil Megidish created a HTML5 JavaScript port of Another World available on his blog at AWJS.[citation needed]
  • In 2011, a French homebrew developer Alekmaul ported the "New RAW" engine to the Nintendo DS. This port is currently in development with updates being released frequently.[citation needed]

Reception

The game was met with a widespread critical acclaim. Among many other accolades, the console versions of Another World were given the title of the Most Innovative New Game of 1992 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[12] The beast creature from the first level was ranked sixth on the GameSpot's 1999 list of The Best Monsters in Gaming,[13] while the alien "Buddy" was ranked third on the list of The Ten Best Sidekicks in 2000, along with a comment that the "groundbreaking" Another World "is one of those rare games that everybody seemed to love."[14] In 2007, Eurogamer called it "one of the most visionary and memorable games of its time."[15]

Sequel

Eric Chahi has stated that he wishes the game to have no sequels as he wants the ending to the original to remain ambiguous so that fans could make their own conclusion to the franchise.[citation needed] Despite this, a sequel entitled Heart of the Alien was released exclusively for the Sega CD in 1994. The game is similar in graphics and gameplay. The player plays as Lester's alien friend, who is nicknamed "Buddy". It is commonly mistaken as taking place in the middle of Another World's story, probably due to the presence of trichromatic flashbacks in the game's introduction, which show the events of Another World during portions where Buddy and Lester were separated, all from Buddy's view. Chahi had nothing to do with the development of the game, beyond suggesting Lester's death, but has since regretted that decision stating that he did not like it because it made a definite conclusion to the story, which he had deliberately left open-ended. He also suggested the game to be a parallel to Another World.[citation needed]

Legacy

The Parisian company which produced and distributed Another World, Delphine Software, has since gone into administrative receivership and Another World remains their most recognized game. The 1992 game Flashback, which is also from Delphine but made without the involvement of Chahi, is often mistaken as a sequel to Another World because of similar gameplay and graphics. Flashback does seem to make a few direct references to Another World, including the prominent use of personal force fields in combat, a nearly identical end text in the ending cutscene, and an almost exact motion recreation of the gun pickup cutscene.

Eric Chahi returned to the concept after leaving Delphine. In 1998, he and his new company Amazing Studio made Heart of Darkness, which is in many ways very similar in spirit to Another World, although it, too, has a completely different storyline. Chahi disappeared from the game industry for some years, but has recently regained interest in making games. He attended the Game Developer's Conference in 2005.[16] Despite criticizing the games industry for no longer supporting much creativity, Eric Chahi says he is "still very excited" to start working on an entirely new game.[citation needed]

  • The 1997 Amiga game OnEscapee, while not connected to either Another World or Flashback, features similar graphics and gameplay system.
  • In an issue of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Japanese game designer Fumito Ueda cited Another World as an influence for his creation of Ico for the PlayStation 2.[citation needed]
  • In an interview with the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri, game developer Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, stated that Another World is one of the five games of all time that has had an influence on him.[citation needed]
  • Goichi Suda, creator of Killer7 and No More Heroes, cites Another World as his favourite game.[17]

References

  1. ^ Architect, Ink (2011-09-07). "Explore Another World On Your iPhone This Month - News". www.GameInformer.com. http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/09/07/explore-another-world-on-your-iphone-this-month.aspx. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  2. ^ Tom Bramwell. "Another World's Eric Chahi drops new game hints". Eurogamer. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/another-worlds-eric-chahi-drops-new-game-hints. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Nutt, Christian (2011-03-03). "GDC 2011: Eric Chahi Retro Postmortem: Another World". Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/33356/GDC_2011_Eric_Chahi_Retro_Postmortem_Another_World_.php. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  4. ^ a b c "Another World: Realisation". Eric Chahi. http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/page_realisation.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  5. ^ "Another World: Genesis". Eric Chahi. http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/another_world.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  6. ^ "Versions". Another World. http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/page_versions.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  7. ^ "3DO Secrets", by Zach Menston, and J. Douglas Arnold, page 135
  8. ^ "Gamemaster: The Complete Video Game Guide 1995", by Jeff Rovin, page 227
  9. ^ "Unreleased Or Unfinished Jaguar Games". Cyberroach.com. http://www.cyberroach.com/jaguarcd/html/gameidx.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  10. ^ "Another World’s Creator Eric Chahi Chooses BulkyPix And DotEmu To Port His Iconic Game to iPhone And iPad" (Press release). GamerPress. 2011-03-03. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/69434/Another_Worldrsquos_Creator_Eric_Chahi_Chooses_BulkyPix_AndDotEmu_To_Port_His_Iconic_Game_to_iPhone_And_iPad.php. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  11. ^ "Atari — Another World". Atarimania.com. http://www.atarimania.com/detail_soft.php?MENU=8&TYPE_CODE=G&SOFT_ID=286. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  12. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1993. 
  13. ^ The Best Monsters in Gaming: The Beast, GameSpot, Oct 4, 1999
  14. ^ The Ten Best Sidekicks: Alien, GameSpot, May 11, 2000
  15. ^ Kristan Reed. "Another World: 15th Anniversary Edition". Eurogamer. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/another-world-15th-anniversary-edition-interview. 
  16. ^ "More GDC". GameDev blog. 2005-03-11. http://www.gamedevblog.com/2005/03/more_gdc.html. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  17. ^ RisingStarGames. "Suda-51 Hoshi interview". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BA3MnMx_nU&feature=player_embedded. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 

External links


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