May 9, 2007 - Since the Worms were first unleashed on PC almost 13 years ago, they've been blowing up sheep, tossing Holy Hand Grenades and causing more destruction and mayhem than Jack Bauer on a bad day. In their time, they've conquered PCs and a huge number of home consoles - now though, they're set to bring the fight back to handhelds in Worms: Open Warfare 2.
Originally released on both PSP and DS, Open Warfare was something of a disappointment - lacking online play, a decent single-player game and the imaginative weapons the series is known for. Thankfully, Team17 aims to address these issues as it tackles this handheld sequel, with a meatier single-player mode and extensive online play already promised.
Ahead of the game's release in July, we spoke to studio director Martyn Brown and lead designer Kevin Carthew at Team17, in a bid to find out what we can expect from this souped-up sequel.
We can't wait to see all of the new weapons in action.
IGN: The Worms series is now 13-years-old. Why do you think it continues to be successful and popular among gamers?
Martyn Brown: I think it's fair to say that Worms has engendered itself as a classic title over the years and the game is generally very warmly recalled. While it's easy to point out that the game hasn't moved too far from its roots, advances in technology (both fast wireless networks and handheld consoles) have meant that the game that people played and loved some years ago has evolved and is still present in an excellent portable format.
There are few titles like Worms around; it still entertains and has always allowed the player some degree of user-involvement through the creation of in-game content and random levels of play, so it always feels fresh.
IGN: Worms Open Warfare, seemed like rather a stripped-down Worms experience compared to previous PC versions. Are you hoping to change this with Worms: Open Warfare 2?
Kevin Carthew: Open Warfare 2 has to be the most feature-packed instalment that the series has seen. It has an abundance of single-player content, features in-depth training modes, a huge list of unlockable items, customisable worms, brand new types of multiplayer games, some really cool tools that allow players to create their own landscapes and online play with an extensive feature set. And this is just the beginning, as players will undoubtedly discover additional features once they play the game.
It also contains an arsenal of weapons totalling thirty-three different tools of destruction. The game will introduce entirely new weapons, some the likes of which have never been seen in a Worms game before. It's the new additions in particular that add to the balance of play and encourage new strategies for gameplay.
IGN: Can you describe some of the new modes in Open Warfare 2? The puzzle mode, in particular, sounds like a new angle for Worms.
Kevin Carthew: There's no question that Worms has always been best enjoyed as a multiplayer game, and so the series is often criticised for its single-player modes. Puzzle Mode is a new single-player section we've added to the game. It's basically thirty levels of Worms-based brain teasers. Each level asks the user to perform a specific task with a very limited amount of weaponry. Basically, the game asks the player to use weapons in a way they might not have thought of before, and in this way, actually teaches the player new skills that they might be able to make use of in multiplayer bouts.
We're not entering into a debate about whether the PSP version is best.
IGN: Fans were disappointed that the first Open Warfare game lacked online features. Did this lead to the inclusion of online multiplayer for the sequel?
Kevin Carthew: Before we started development of Worms: Open Warfare 2, we took plenty of time to collect as much feedback about the previous game as possible. We read all the reviews we could find, went on various forums and looked at the kinds of things our 'hardcore' worms fans were saying about the series in general. A lot of the features in the new game were implemented as a direct result of this feedback - not just online play. Everybody on the team wanted the game to be playable online, and once we knew that we were going to be able to take the game online, it just made sense to include some of the new features; especially the extra degree of customisation and the landscape editor.
IGN: How easy is to implement online features such as the online leaderboards? Does the Friend Code system on DS cause any particular problems? Will there be separate leaderboards/stats for the DS and PSP versions?
Kevin Carthew: Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection system for the DS could perhaps be viewed as a little restrictive in terms of what the developer can and can't do. That said, for ease of use it's very good; getting into a game takes no time at all and at the end of the day that's what most users are looking to do.
While the PSP and DS versions of the game are largely the same, the PSP version does have some extra features when it comes to the online side of things, so it does have a handful of extra leaderboards. The official website does a good job of listing the feature set for both versions of the game. Separate DS and PSP leaderboards will also be featured on the official website when the game is launched, as well being available to view in-game.