Worms: Clan Wars / Superfrog HD interview with Team 17’s Bethany Aston
Listen up, bedroom generals. It’s time to join forces. Are you willing to take the fight over land, sea, air and… soil? Well it’s time to unite, wriggle your way towards a common goal, and worm your way to the top in Worms: Clan Wars, heralded as the ‘biggest and best Worms game to date’ by developer Team 17.
And the potential is definitely there. A firm, logical focus on a more social, multiplayer experience and a stronger single player component, Clan Wars has all the tools at its disposal to continue Worms evergreen reputation of excellence. But is it enough to recapture those who have grown tired of the long-running, albeit infinitely charming series? It’s difficult to say at this stage, but purists and newcomers will have plenty to be pleased about.
To find out more about Worms: Clan Worms and Team 17’s upcoming remake of Superfrog HD, Rhys and I spoke to Team 17’s PR and Marketing Assistant, Bethany Aston
Adam: So what is it that makes Worms: Clan Wars different from previous games in the series?
Well, in Worms: Clan Wars you can make your own clan or join one of your friends. You start off with a small clan – you can have eight members, you can make it private and just have your friends in there, or you can open it up to the public. Then we’ve got clan matches, so you can play friendly matches or league matches, but everything you do you’re always accumulating points for your clan. There’s relegations and promotions from divisions, and the more you do for your clan, the more members you can have. We’ve also got a clan emblem editor in Worms: Clan Wars so you always feel like you’re part of your team. There will also be tournaments to compete in, too.
Another cool feature of the clan system is that if we were in a team together, we could control that team together, so I could control two worms in that team, and you could control another two worms in that team. It’s a nice feature.
Adam: Are there any other underlying changes that hardcore Worms fans will notice?
The physics have been improved from what we did in Revolution, the classes have also been tweaked. In Revolution we introduced four different worm classes, in Clan Wars we’ve tweaked them so the Soldier worm, who acted just a like a basic worm with no advantage to playing as them, can now detonate a grenade whenever he wants once it’s thrown – that’s his perk.
The Heavy worm, when he explodes it has the same range and damage as a Holy Hand Grenade, so you’ve got the incentive not to be near him when he’s going to blow. But, in a way, if you are using him and he’s nearly dead you can do a bit of extra damage and send him in.
The Scientist in Revolution used to add 5+ health from every turn to every worm in his team, but we found people picking all Scientists and burrowing away in the map. We’ve made it a bit more fair in Clan Wars – he still recoups health for his team, but other players have to be near him. Players should be careful, though, because if everyone gathers round the Scientists then they might become sitting ducks. The Scientist can also cure poison so if your worms are poisoned, if they go near the Scientist then they will be cured.
With the Scout, he’s got a crate spy technique, so if a crate drops near him he can see what’s in it, so you can decide whether you want to bother going over to get it or not. He also doesn’t set off mines because he’s so small.
We’ve got a web portal companion app coming to mobile, Android and iOS.
A lot of people either hate or love what we’ve done with the rope. Because it’s more realistic, it’s not like a pole, it’s swinging with physics now. But to combat that we’ve introduced a teleporter gun, where you aim and shoot and teleport to that location. You can master it, though, do multiple teleports and really zip around the landscape with it, so it’s going to be one of those things which is simple to use but really hard to master.
To accompany Clan Wars, we’ve got a web portal companion app coming to mobile, Android and iOS, so you can check how your clan is doing when you’re not there. If you’re a clan leader, and you’re not at your PC, you can put a message out to your team and get an interaction going. You can also check all your stats and we’ll be sending out newsletters to let the community know who’s doing the best, which member of your team is letting you down and who’s left your clan. Basically like a recap to make it more personable for people.
Adam: Worms: Clan Wars is obviously going to be a lot more multiplayer focused, but is there going to be a single player mode with a story?
There’s 25 single player missions and 10 ‘worm-op’ missions. The single player missions are more like a story now, not just death matches. With Revolution we introduced physics objects, but in Clan Wars we’ve got contraptions, so you’ll see things attached to ropes and gears, with things turning around, plus lifts and platforms moving around so it’s a bit more fun and quirky. We’ve also added in checkpoints into the single player – something really simple but we’ve never done it before. People would get forty minutes into a level and then have start again if they messed it up!
Our single player is narrated by Katherine Parkinson who plays Jen in The IT Crowd. She plays a really fun character who’s collecting artefacts which she’s trying to get back from an evil bad guy, so she sends the worms to collect them. Clan Wars is based in a museum so it allows us to create a hub for loads of different themes, so the worms will fight in an Inca theme, a prehistoric theme, or a feudal Japan theme, which are all exhibits in the museum so it ties it all in together.
Rhys: That’s another thing that people love about Worms, all the different, imaginative themes you can get and the potentially infinite amount of levels you can generate. Is that still a big part of the multiplayer experience?
Yeah, even more so in Clan Wars. We’ve had landscape edits in the past but there’s been no outlet for people to share. We’re going to have Steam workshop integration so you can share your own landscapes and we’ve put in a tool kit so you can make your own hat designs and item designs for the worms.
Rhys: When is Worms: Clan Wars due for release?
It’s scheduled for Q3 2013 and is exclusive to PC.
Adam: So let’s talk a little bit about Superfrog HD. I think I was around five, maybe six at the time of its release and never got to play it. Could you tell us more about it?
Superfrog is a 1993 classic and was Team 17’s answer to rival platformers for the Amiga because they didn’t really have many at time. Superfrog’s really well-known and loved by the fans. Early this year we revisited Alien Breed, a 1991 classic, and in doing so we got a lot of people asking what we could bring back next from our catalog because we’re really lucky to have some really cool games behind us. So, Superfrog was chosen as the next title to bring back and it’s good timing because it’s the game’s 20th anniversary.
Superfrog’s really well-known and loved by the fans.
So, basically, we’ve remade the game with HD graphics; we’ve remade the level designs to make them fairer, not easier, because the original game is really harsh. Superfrog himself is really fast moving so he’ll be running down a hill and there will be spikes at the bottom all of sudden, and, because the camera doesn’t really pan, you end up in the spikes. We’ve got the original levels in there as an unlock for our fans who want to play those, so there’s 24 original levels and 24 new levels.
Adam: So what platforms will Superfrog HD be on?
It’s PC but it’s also going to come to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
Adam: Is the Vita version going to have any controls that take advantage of the hardware?
Yeah, it’s going to be cross-buy so if you buy the PS3 version you get the Vita version free. And there’s special portals in the levels, so if you’re playing on the PS3 and Superfrog goes into one of the portals, the game will zap down onto your Vita if it’s connected. There’s loads of secret areas in the game but these are secret areas where you can use the Vita to get all the goodies. The Vita also acts as a map as well so it can give you hints as to where the secret areas might be on the PS3.
Adam: So can you play the game on the PS3 using the Vita, or do you play on the PS3 with the Vita close to hand?
Yeah, you play the game on the PS3 and when you find the portals you switch over to the Vita.
Adam: Will Superfrog HD feature online leaderboards?
There is leaderboards, but they’re offline, and there’s no multiplayer mode, either.
Adam: Cool! Well thank you very much for your time, Bethany.