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20:jun//2K - martyn brown

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20-06-2K:Well I said we had something special lined up for here, didn't I? They don't get any bigger in the Worms Community than Martyn Brown or Spadge is he is probably better known as.

Having co-founded Team 17 way back in 1990, he is currently development director and has produced over 40 different games (including, of course Worms). His role covers many different facets, including production and design and overseeing as many as 5 or 6 titles. Aged 33, he is married with a young son.

Worms: Armageddon has come under a bit of fire from some sections of the Worms Community for not really being a proper sequel and being instead more of an expansion pack that they have had to pay full price for. How would you respond to such criticism?

Worms Armageddon took 13months and a team of around 14 people to produce and develop. It was significantly more than what people may suggest is ďan add on packĒ especially when you consider it was launched at ďmid-priceĒ.

In comparison with the likes of EA (Fifa) and Tomb Raider etc., who release essentially the same game year on year, I donít think we have a bad track record. Of course there is publisher pressure to release new games, but Worms has been very different where it has expanded, grown and developed over the years.

I think people have to look at their initial investment (£30/$30) and look at it realistically Ė has it provided good value entertainment for that outlay (say compared to 2/3 albums or 2/3 videos).

If you bought the film Lethal Weapon, would you expect the film distributor to supply 2, 3 and 4 for free? I can see where the thoughts are coming from, but we have to pay peopleís wages, people have a very blurred vision of how things really are. Or maybe Iíve just track of what represents good and bad value for money these days.

Obviously there is a new Worms game on the way now, does this spell the end for W:A, especially the online aspects of the game?

No, I donít see what effect it has on Worms Armageddon. Wormnet will carry on regardless. Worms World Party is not strictly a new game, thatís something weíve said publicly. It takes Worms into another direction, a much more stronger multiplayer focus Ė which is something that came out of the initial Dreamcast design. We never anticipated doing another 2D worms game after Worms Armageddon, as such Worms World Party came as something as a surprise, really.

What was the inspiration behind WWP? Is there any or is it just a case of another "cash-in sequel" as some people have put it?

We were approached by Sega with regard to doing an online version of Worms Armageddon for the Dreamcast web service. After spending a lot of time looking at what we could do specifically for this version, we thought it would be a shame not to offer it to the PC.

Thereís a lot of incidental stuff surrounding expansion packs and suchlike (specifically publisher & distributor based details) and it was a lot cleaner if this would be a new, stand-alone version. Itís true that this will probably replace Worms Armageddon on the retail shelves (at a mid-price point) but then again, Worms Armageddon will be available at a budget price. People can check out the features and either buy or stick with Worms Armageddon or enjoy the features of Worms World Party. Itís a difficult question to suggest that all the new features should have been in Worms right from the off, but things just donít work that way.

I can understand the need to release a new game for the Dreamcast with the online features but surely it really isn't warranted on PC which has had online play in both W2 & W:A? Wouldn't it be better just to release something along the lines of Worms: Reinforcements?

Possibly, but itís difficult for the publishing/distributor configuration we have. If we were publishing ourselves (which we are not) then things could be a hell of a lot more controlled. At the end of the day, we just develop the thing, we aren'tít responsible for the publishing strategy, distribution, marketing etc.

With Worms: Armageddon you said that the Worms formula had been pushed to the limits. What made you change your mind on this and what new features are there going to be in the game?

I guess we always feel like that when weíve worked our fingers and minds to the bone for a substantial period. We poured a lot of energy into WA. Only time makes you reflect on things you could have done and weíve had a number of new perspective by some new designers whoíve gotten involved. As I said, WWP wasnít planned by appeared by virtue of a suggestion by Sega and it went from there. A full feature list of the game will appear in due course, but it will have a number of very multiplayer focused modes.

Does Andy Davidson have any say on the direction that Worms is going to move in?

We havenít had a lot of contact with Andy for a while. Itís important to understand that whilst the original concept was by Andy, itís been developed by a huge team who have all worked tirelessly and contributed much. Very few games are designed by committee but for the last 2-3 years, thatís been the case with Worms.

Something that has been mentioned since the original version of Worms is Worms 3D - are we any closer to seeing this become a reality or have you finally decided that this would be a bad idea?

Internally weíve been discussing it for over 2 years. We will not proceed with anything we think will suck big time.

What about dynamic water, will this be making an appearance in WWP?

No. Dynamic water was something we messed around with in Worms2 and as Iíve said on a number of occasions, it was the gameplay that didnít work, itís not just a purely technical issue (although the technical issue has more or less gone away now).

Itís annoying that people read ďDynamic WaterĒ and think it sounds cool and see how they think it will work and then get all hot and bothered when we announce itís not in there. Weíve tried it and had swimming worms, but it just doesnít work as a gameplay mechanic in the Worms engine. Thatís not to say it couldnít work if we used a different engine, in a different game.

Do you think that after WWP, Worms as a marketable product will have run its course or can we expect to see more Worms games in future?

A number of different things are planned, some extremely different to what youíve seen so far. Worms is set to get bigger and better, just wait and see.

What do you think about the current state of the web based worms community? Some people have said that it is dying as the focus becomes more WormNET, where as others disagree, what are your thoughts?

Worms continues to attract a lot of attention and has popular community bases. The whole idea of Wormnet was to get a single focal point for all the games, thereby creating a community rather than clustered servers here and there.

What do you think the future holds for yourself and Team17 in general?

I can never see much further than the next few releases and itís looking very rosy for us at the moment. We are working on six games, including some new Worms stuff and weíre confident theyíll prove to be very popular. As for me, Iíll continue spending time with my young son, drinking fine beers and supporting Leeds United.

Do you still play Worms much?

I havenít played it too much this year, but have spent the best part of 5 years playing very heavily, as my position in producing the titles. Itís not that I donít like the game or have tired, but my time has more pressing actions (see the bit about young son) and thereís plenty of other design/development work going on here.

Favourite weapon?

Holy Hand Grenade.

Most hated tactic?

People who rely on ropes (and canít aim a grenade for toffee) or those who teleport a worm to safety on their first move.

What Worms sites do you visit most often?

I used to visit the allotment every day, but I just donít get time these days.

Thanks go out to Martyn Brown for agreeing to answer these questions and for giving us some of his valubale time.

//agi. []