Worms Ultimate Mayhem Interview - Team 17 Tell Us Why the Worm Never Turns For Worms
Written Sunday, September 25, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
In the best possible sense, it feels like the Worms games have been around forever, and as fans of the series we hope that it remains a gaming mainstay forever too. With its qunitessentially British sense of humour and unique approach to strategical and tactical gameplay, there's nothing really quite like Worms.
Now, with Worms Ultimate Mayhem on its way next week on the Xbox Live Arcade and later in the year on PSN, we caught up with Team 17's Head of Design, John Dennis and Global Marketing Manager, Alan Perrie to talk more about the history and success of the series, and where the franchise could be heading in the future.
And obviously we talk a bit about Worms Ultimate Mayhem too. Read on!
What's your favourite new feature in Worms Ultimate Mayhem?
John Dennis: That's a good question... Favourite new feature? (Long pause) It's probably all of the new audio we've added, like the voice of the narrator and all of the little intro sequences, which were quite funny anyway, I think they're actually quite a bit more funny with proper voice acting. So, that's my favourite addition to the game.
Alan Perrie: I think from a year of demoing it, the camera improvements just make things much slicker and less tetchy, and so there's less swearing from me. The camera's much snappier, smoother, and the picture-in-picture for me, adds another element that brings it more in line with the 2D experience for people who weren't fans who weren't fans of it the first time around.
John Dennis: Picture-in-picture is good though!
In terms of the distinctive Worms humour, do you have a team who are solely responsible for that aspect, or is it a team effort?
JD: (Laughs) I would say it's a team effort. Obviously the level designers came up with the ideas for what the missions were going to be and the frankly very silly intro sequences, but everyone chips in on the pun front as well. You can't create a game this pun-laden without it being a huge team of people behind it. I mean, they're terrible aren't they? I think my favourite one is 'Armageddon Nothing for Christmas', that's just a brilliant pun, then there's 'Snow Joke'...
AP: There are a lot of influences in the game, and I think when I first joined Team 17 a couple of years ago, I noticed copies of Viz on people's tables and the endless quoting of movies, TV shows, Monty Python and all that sort of thing. It's all very much part of Worms' appeal, that Britishness, and there's really not much else like it. There's things in there like the Holy Hand Grenade, silly names and it's all slightly cheeky with double entendres, and you don't often see that in games. That's part of the appeal for me.
Do you think Team 17 will be making Worms games forever? It seems to be evergreen in terms of its popularity. Is there anywhere you'd like to take Worms next?
JD: Oh no! (feigns crying) Evergreen is exactly the word, and well, I do know where we're taking it next, and we're taking it to Worms Crazy Golf, and it works really well. I know we're here to talk about Ultimate Mayhem, but Worms Crazy Golf does work incredibly well. But, I think as long as people want to play Worms games, there'll always be a Team 17 to make them.
AP: The growth of digital has changed things a lot too. I think if you told people three or four years ago, that they'd be playing Worms via wi-fi on their phones whilst at work or in the playground, it wouldn't have made sense to them. But the digital market is changing so quickly with browsing and social networking, Worms really lends itself to that, being a sociable, non-serious blast of gaming. There's always a place for that. I like my serious FPS games as much as the next man, but I'll still have a blast on Worms maybe after a social game or if I'm having a beer or whatever, so I think there's always a place for it. If we can look to innovate it and give the fans what they want, while still retaining what the game is, then I think there's definitely a long future for Worms.
Do you think you'd ever consider some sort of hybrid of the 2D and 3D Worms games or are they something you'd prefer to keep separate?
JD: That's a really interesting suggestion that I think we should investigate.
AP: Yeah. I think... Yeah.
AP: For future titles – like John said – Worms Ultimate Mayhem is like a definitive collector's version with improvements on the 3D side, and Worms: Reloaded on the PC was the ultimate 2D game, so that's drawing a line, so whatever we do next with projects like Worms Crazy Golf, we'll certainly look to include the best elements of both. And I'm sure, when we chat to the guys, there's plans that we can't confirm in any way. But we'll potentially look to use the best bits of both, yeah.
And Worms Crazy Golf... That's PSN only, right?
JD: It's coming to PC, PSN and iOS, so it's not PSN-exclusive, but it's on those platforms and that's down to the size of the game and the team that was available to do it that meant it wasn't coming to Xbox 360, but we never say never. We could potentially investigate bringing it to XBLA, but we can't confirm anything at this time, unfortunately, he said in a very po-faced manner (laughs).
Are there any other sports you'd perhaps consider investigating for the Worms treatment if Worms Crazy Golf does well?
JD: Anything but football, because Worms don't have feet. Of course!
You could always give them feet...
AP: You've already given them hands!
JD: (Laughs) They cease being worms when you give them feet. We don't plan to investigate other sports after golf, but Worms and golf is a really good marriage actually, and it carries a lot of the features of Worms as well. It's not just a skinned golf sim, it's something really unique.
In terms of Worms Ultimate Mayhem's customisation, what would you say is your favourite aspect?
JD: Loyalty content. So, check this out right. If you've bought any of the Alien Breed games or you've bought Worms 2: Armageddon or Worms on Xbox 360, you unlock free customisation content. So if you bought Alien Breed, you unlock an Alien Breed hat, which is like a face hugger-type alien, you unlock a Klein speech bank – he's the villain in the game – you unlock an Alien Breed map, which is a map featuring Conrad killing aliens in a corridor and you'll unlock new hands and other facial items as well. The same goes for Worms and Worms 2: Armageddon; you'll unlock a whole range of loyalty content with those too, as a bit of a thank-you to loyal players.
AP: Microsoft is really keen on it as well, and all it does is just read your save game and unlocks the content.
We've seen Worms 2: Armageddon getting a lot of DLC support lately. Is that part of the plan for Worms Ultimate Mayhem too?
JD: Absolutely! I think we were a little late to the DLC party with Worms 2: Armageddon, but we've made up for it with the quantity and quality of content we've released subsequently. But yeah, absolutely from the off we've got a single-player pack, which is a bunch of new single-player challenges, a multiplayer pack, which includes brand new unique multiplayer maps, and we've got a customisation pack for those who don't feel that there's quite enough options.
Say you want to dress your worm as Sherlock Holmes, then those items like the deerstalker hat and the pipe, the monocle and the gravestone with the violin, those things are all present in the DLC, so it's got a bunch of extra customisation options. We hope we've targeted what people could potentially like about the game and made three offerings that cover those bases.
AP: Again, with the growth of digital games, having DLC is a really interesting part of being a developer/publisher with our own IP, we can offer some fairly niche things that we know our fans will like without doing a whole new game for it. So, we knew that people who bought Worms 2: Armageddon really liked forts...
JD: ...so we released the Forts Pack, just as a collection of new and different forts to play.
AP: Then there's the Retro Pack, the Puzzle Pack, Time Attack Pack, and if you don't like forts, you don't have to buy the Forts Pack, but if you do, it's a great reason to revisit a game you might not have played in a while. I think DLC is an exciting opportunity to do that kind of thing.
JD: It's a great way of addressing what your players want as well. When a game comes out and players say, “I wish it had more of this,” or “I wish it had more of that,” DLC is just a super opportunity to deliver whatever they want. It doesn't have to end with the boxed product.
AP: It used to be releasing a game was the fire and forget method, but now you can constantly evolve your game, and if people like a certain part of it, you can do more of it and get your designers coming up with new and crazy ideas to get more mileage out of it and give fans what they want.
As masters of the pun, how would you sum up Worms Ultimate Mayhem with a pun?
JD: Armageddon Worms Ultimate Mayhem when it comes out? Aw, come on! That's not bad for off the top of my head!
Worms Ultimate Mayhem is out on PSN later this year.