Behind the Scenes of Worms: Battlegrounds with Team 17

Updated launch date on 5/29/14 – 1:55 p.m. PDT

You could say that British game development studio Team 17 has been around the block. Established back in 1990 (when its primary platform was the Amiga), the group of roughly 75 employees makes up one of game development’s longest running studios. Its most successful franchise, “Worms,” debuted in 1995, and has since sold some 60 million copies worldwide. Today, the studio will release “Worms: Battlegrounds” for Xbox One, which promises to be the best entry in the series to date; with the most weapons, the biggest maps, and the finest single- and multiplayer experiences, it’s certainly the most comprehensive. Add to that an all-new, feature-rich implementation of clans, as well as a cool new companion application—and a game presented with beautiful 1080p graphics running at 60 frames per second—and series fans have something to be excited about.

For newcomers: “Worms: Battlegrounds” is a turn-based strategy game in which you choose your own team of worms, decide what class they’ll be (Heavy, Soldier, Scientist, or Scout), and customize them with different accoutrements. Want a team of worms styled after your loved ones or favorite pop culture references? How about outfitting your worms with silly pirate hats? There’s even a level editor, in case you want to roll your own battlegrounds.

“Thanks to the increased power of the Xbox One hardware, ‘Battlegrounds’ is the ultimate version of ‘Worms’ to play with friends, around one machine or online,” says Debbie Bestwick, CEO. “’Worms’ has always been a sociable game to play with friends, and this is the ultimate experience.” Team 17 has created a brand-new single player game, with a storyline and a platformer-like experience, capitalizing on the Xbox One’s extra physics processing power to create all manner of devious contraptions and bizarre machinery for players to overcome.

In many ways, the game is centered on the social aspect – starting your own clans, and working together to make those clans powerful. The Xbox One SmartGlass companion application connects all of this together; it allows you to engage with the game and your clan members, even when you’re away from your Xbox One. Want to know who the movers and shakers are in your clan? Want to know who isn’t pulling their weight? Want to keep tabs on how your clan is performing when you’re on the road? The companion app provides wide range of useful stats in a clean format, without cluttering up the game’s interface.

Some new weapons have entered the mix as well. “The Winged Monkey is as bonkers as you would expect,” says Bestwick. It’s essentially a winged monkey that flies into the game, with objects of your choosing in tow. Previously, objects could be decimated along with the landscape that contained them; now, they’re individual entities that react to physics. Some have special properties, like exploding into a burst of flames, water or poison. “The Winged Monkey can fly in with any one of these objects for you,” says Bestwick. “It’s completely up to you how you use it, whether that’s to build a bridge to safety, or just drop it on your foes’ heads from above to have a laugh at the resulting damage.” The Equalizer is an odd little head-mounted contraption that combines the player’s health with that of a chosen enemy, and then divides it between the two worms. Finally, the Aqua Pack combines the movement versatility of the Jetpack with the ability to drown your opponents in pools of water. “There’s nothing quite like seeing worms being washed across the landscape and into the drink after being doused with dynamic water,” says Bestwick. In all, there are 10 new weapons and utilities, which brings the total in-game count up to a whopping 65.

As mentioned, clans are also a key component of “Worms: Battlegrounds.” “It’s actually the first time we’ve properly supported clans as a feature, which is really exciting for everyone who loves playing as a group,” says Bestwick. It’s been one of the most requested additions from “Worms” fans over the past several years, and brings a social aspect to the multiplayer game – fighting alongside your friends toward a common goal of reaching the top of the leaderboards, or simply becoming the best in a specific type of match. There’s even an option for multiplayer, clan-based games; you can partake in friendly matches, and invite a clan mate in to help out. “This a first for ‘Worms,’ and it’s really exciting for us, as it allows two players from that clan to control the same team,” says Bestwick.

“Worms: Battlegrounds” launches for Xbox One via [email protected] starting today in Europe and North America.