Team17's Kevin Carthew speaks to Polygon about Worm Revolutions, the latest in the Worms series shown at E3 2012.
Kevin Carthew has worked on the Worms series for 14 years. During this time 19 Worms games have spawned their wriggly selves from the ground to make the series an iconic turn-based strategy staple on PC, console, and mobile devices everywhere. But as the series ages, Carthew is determined keep Worms wriggly and relevant, and he plans on doing that with Worms Revolution.
"The history of the brand is kind of a strange one," Carthew told Polygon at E3. "We've made a lot of Worms games and sometimes those games have been re-releases of the original title. With Worms Revolution, we're conscious of the history of the brand, we're conscious of all those Worms games we've made. With Worms Revolution we're trying to make a version of Worms that's like a blockbuster version, we're almost treating it like a franchise reboot so the first thing to say about it is it's still recognizably worms."
Keeping with the iconic 2D game design, Worms Revolution adopts a 2.5D look to differentiate itself from other Worms titles. The colors and characters cartoonishly pop off the screen and the stylized landscape sheds years from the game. If ever a game receive a successful facelift, Worms Revolution found the best surgeon.
"We're trying to make a version of Worms that's like a blockbuster version."
Players are pushed to be more tactical with the introduction of a class system. For the first time, not all worms are made equal. There is now a Soldier (a medium-class "standard" worm), a Heavy (a slower, plumper but more powerful worm that inflicts more damage and is difficult to move), a Scout (the nimblest of worms — it is easily injured, but difficult to target), and a Scientist (a support class, raises health of entire team and builds more powerful weapons).
The introduction of dynamic water that can flush out and drown worms also means old habits from previous Worm games will have to be unlearned. Players can no longer rely on digging themselves into a hideout to avoid attacks — the presence of dynamic water means opponents can drop water into cracks and crevices, forcing opponents out of hiding.
"We want this game to be more tactical," Carthew says. "It's not necessarily what weapon am I going to pick anymore, it's what class am I going to use, how can I use these objects to my advantage, what can I do about the dynamic water?"
Objects with dynamic abilities such as poison and water release also force players to be more considered. This isn't just a game of haphazard grub warfare — players will have to strategize, which Carthew believes gives the game more depth and a new edge.
This isn't just a game of haphazard grub warfare — players will have to strategize.
"Worms Revolution has really been a breath of fresh air," Carthew says. "When we've done Worms games in the past, they've usually been on a fairly strict deadline and a rather tight budget, not a great deal of opportunity to introduce a great deal of new features, not a lot of opportunity to be expressive anywhere.
"With Worms Revolution we were kind of shooting for the moon. We wanted to make a Worms game that people would really care about, not just flick through a magazine see a screenshot and say oh this looks like every other Worms game I've seen before. That is consistently applied throughout the entire game."
If the team behind Worms Revolution wanted something same but different, then they've certainly achieved that. At its core, it is still Worms, but judging from what was shown at E3, it's the freshest can of Worms we've seen yet.
Worms Revolution is slated for a third quarter release and will be available on PC, XBLA, and PSN.