There’s no doubt that the Worms series has earned a special place in the hearts of many gamers. It’s quirky sense of humour seems quintessentially British, and for many Brits, Worms served as their introduction to gaming. I myself grew up on Worms Armageddon (released in 1999), a classic PC game that took the violence of war and turned it into comedy. Since then the series has very much been a staple of British gaming, with a new title being released every so often by Wakefield-based developer Team17.
The latest game in the series, Worms WMD, was on so show at EGX Rezzed last week, so I took some time out of my busy schedule to see what the new title has to offer.
For Worms WMD, the developers have been looking back to Armageddon for inspiration. According to Team17’s Bethany Aston, Armageddon is often held up by fans as the series’ pinnacle. For this reason, the developer will be trying to recreate the atmosphere of that game: “We’re trying to get the physics feeling, like it felt back then.” WMD certainly looks more like Armageddon than previous titles in the series. The game returns to the two dimensional format, rather than the three dimensional maps that had featured in some of the series’ more recent titles.
For those of you worried that Team17 are simply too focused on recreating their previous glories, a number of changes are being brought in to make this a great game in its own right. For example, the landscape generator has had a lot of work done to it. Whereas in the past the shape of the landscape would be randomly generated, the improved generator works rather differently: “Everything [consists of] individual hand-drawn set pieces, but it knows how to piece them together and where to place barrels and mines.” The result is a game that is certainly one of the prettiest in the series so far.
There are a few other new features to look out for too. Certain buildings on each map can be hidden in by players, allowing them to pick off unsuspecting opponents outside. Mounted guns will feature in the game as well, but the biggest news is that players will have access to vehicles – tanks and helicopters – to aid in the destruction of their opponents. Some fans might worry that these will drastically alter the balance of the game, although the team has been working to avoid this: “It’s not meant to be totally overpowered, it’s a really nice balance so it doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to win.”
Most importantly, the humour that is typical of Worms will be back yet again. The range of accents available to your worms will be back once more, and speech banks are being brought up to date with new cultural references.
While WMD has no confirmed release date yet, it is set to come out sometime this year.