We chat with Team17 about Worms W.M.D
The Worms are returning once again, this time with a classic yet fresh 2D art style. The warrior annelids have a variety of deadly new toys at their disposal, from new weapons to vehicles to buildings even to a full crafting system. It’s shaping up to be an excellent new entry in the franchise, and one that should please both newcomers and franchise veterans alike.
We recently got the chance to fire some questions at David Wood, Producer at Team17, and he was able to answer some of our burning questions about the game and its new features.
GameWatcher: Worms is such a long-running franchise with a ton of games in it. How do you approach a new title and make it fresh without alienating your core fans?
David Wood: We’re celebrating 21 years of Worms this year and we’re extremely lucky to have such a dedicated fan base who love playing the game as much as we do!
There are obviously core elements of gameplay that make Worms, Worms and for W.M.D we’ve really tried to keep the game fresh while still appealing to our original fans.
I think we’ve got it right on Worms W.M.D though. Our approach has been to go back to the Worms Armageddon engine and use that as the basis for the new game. After a substantial amount of modernisation and refactoring of that codebase, we had an absolutely rock-solid foundation with which to start to build the game upon. And getting those fundamentals right made it easier to introduce the exciting new features such as the crafting system, buildings and vehicles which makes this version of Worms so unique.
Of course, if you want the traditional vanilla Worms experience, you have a wealth of options and settings available that you can use to tailor the game to exactly how you want to play.
GameWatcher: What makes Worms W.M.D unique?
David Wood: If you’re new to Worms, you’ll soon see that there’s a huge amount of fun to be had playing through the all of the content the game has to offer, but you’ll also find that the game really comes into its own when playing with others, either in local or online multiplayer. There are very few games out there that can offer the same combination of fun, hilarity and strategy that Worms does – it’s the perfect game to have some fun with your mates.
For those familiar with the series, we’ve got a host of new features that really set Worms W.M.D apart! All of these brand new features have been integrated into the game in a way that enhances the strategic aspect of the game without affecting the overall balance of the game.
Vehicles offer both offensive and defensive capabilities. For example, you can jump in the tank, fire off a volley of missiles and then enjoy the benefits of the extra protection the tank provides. But remember that other worms can hijack your vehicle and throw your worm out of it. They are great for getting around the map and often become the focal point of a battle. Do you try and take out the tank that your enemy is holed up in, or hijack it and use it for your own purposes?
Buildings are great for hiding in and taking cover. When your worm is inside a building, other players can’t see your worm unless they are also in the building, giving you the extra advantage of stealth. Of course, buildings are fully destructible, so if another worm can’t see you, they can always try and blast you out of your hiding place.
The new crafting system is another brilliant addition to the world of Worms, and takes the wacky arsenal of weapons in the game to unprecedented new level. What other game boasts weaponry of the likes of the Super Flatulence Sheep and the Really Unwanted Present!?
We’ve also completely revitalised the visual style of the game, and this is something we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response about. The worms now have a much bolder, more modern cartoon look to them (without losing any of their trademark charm), and for the first time, the landscapes are generated out of hand-drawn components, creating much more complex and beautiful landscapes to do battle on.
GameWatcher: What drove the return to 2D graphics?
David Wood: Returning to 2D graphics has allowed us to present a bold new style for the worm that feels modern and fresh, and really play to the strengths of the gameplay. The result is a massive visual leap forward and an absolutely gorgeous game.
A big opportunity that we had with returning to 2D graphics was the possibility of randomly generating landscapes out of hand-drawn components to create visually interesting and diverse environments. This is one of the first things we attempted to achieve in preproduction and has worked really well, creating not just visually striking landscapes, but also more strategically exciting places in to do battle.
GameWatcher: Coming into W.M.D, I’m brand-new to the series. Does this latest game treat newcomers well?
David Wood: For sure! We’ve got a huge selection of single player content that eases you into the game and a full training regime to quickly get you up to speed. You’ll be playing like a pro in no time.
The great thing about Worms is that it’s great for casual and hardcore players alike. It’s easy to just pick up and have a lot of fun experimenting with the crazy weaponry. At the same time, there’s real strategy and depth to the gameplay, so is perfect for those who look to really master a game.
GameWatcher: What does crafting bring to the game?
David Wood: Worms has always been known and loved for its iconic arsenal of wacky weaponry, with gems such as the Banana Bomb, Holy Hand Grenade and Concrete Donkey. In Worms W.M.D we’ve taken that to a whole new level with the introduction of the crafting system.
Crafting new weapons requires the use of ingredients, such as Tears of a Worm and Banana Bomb Seeds. You can break down your existing weapons in return for ingredients or pick up extra ingredients in crafting crates. You are then able to use these ingredients to create diverse and exciting weaponry as the situation dictates. You don’t need to master crafting to master the game, but it may just help you get that extra dollop of explosive power when you need it most.
GameWatcher: We saw tanks and helicopters in the preview version–what other types of vehicles can we expect?
David Wood: There a three vehicles in the game. The tank, helicopter and the recently revealed Mech. The Mech is great for getting around the landscape quickly and delivers a devastating ‘ground stomp’ melee attack which will send nearby worms flying. The Mech looks cool and packs a real punch!
GameWatcher: Worms has a huge arsenal. How do you make dozens upon dozens of different weapons feel both unique and useful?
David Wood: Our designers here are all big Worms fans, and have a really good understanding of the strategy of the game and what players may find useful. They also happen to have pretty good imaginations!
There are 35 standard weapons and utilities in the game and the implementation of the new crafting system takes the weapon count to over 80!
The game has had the socks played off it by the team during development, and Team17 also has a dedicated usability lab where we get external feedback in, not to mention our fantastic integrated QA department so we’ve definitely done our best to ensure that all of the weapons that made it into the game are fun, useful and balanced.
GameWatcher: Does the multiplayer support combinations of online and offline players in a single game?
David Wood: Both local and online multiplayer can be played up to six players with up to eight worms each! For online matches then it’s one player per machine.
GameWatcher: The All-Stars pack seems like a really fun pre-order bonus. How do the deals to get all those characters in one place come together?
David Wood: It’s a real honour to have such esteemed games making an appearance in Worms W.M.D. We wanted to do something special with some good industry friends of ours and be able to give something extra to our fans.
The deals for getting the characters into the game were all handled by our commercial team – all we had to do on the development team was make sure that we were respectful of the original IP, and that we integrated the content into the game in a way that fit with the overall artistic style and gameplay balance of Worms W.M.D.
Of course, we made sure that the IP holders had final sign-off on any assets that made it into game. It’s been a lot of fun getting these characters into the game and something I’d love to do in our future games too.
GameWatcher: Are there plans for official mod support?
David Wood: There is no official mod-support planned at the moment, but the game is very, very customisable. There are endless amounts of ways you can customise your Worms experience. You can customise your worms with team and worm names and decide how they look and sound. For the local and unranked online multiplayer games you can customise your own game scheme deciding how long the match will be, the turn time, the weapon load outs and so on.
The Steam version of the game will be shipping with a landscape importer, allowing players to create their own landscapes out of images, import them into the game and share them with other users online.
GameWatcher: I’m sure it’s too early for concrete details here, but are there plans for DLC?
David Wood: There are no plans at the moment but we definitely plan to keep supporting Worms W.M.D post launch, so we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground and listening to the feedback we receive from the community after the game launches!
Thanks very much to David for his time. We can’t wait to see more of Worms W.M.D when it releases later this week for PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.