Team17

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Team17
Independent video game developer
Industry Video game industry
Founded 1990
Headquarters Wakefield, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Products Alien Breed
Worms
Number of employees
75
Website http://www.team17.com/

Team17 Digital Ltd. is a British video game developer. They are best known for creating the Worms and Alien Breed series of games. Most of their early releases were on the Amiga home computer system and featured trademark smooth scrolling, and detailed cartoonish art. Team17 now develops for Windows and video game consoles.

History[edit]

The company was originally called 17-Bit Software, which grew out of the Microbyte retail chain in 1987, and specialised in cataloguing, producing and publishing an Amiga public domain software library.[1] 17-Bit Software was controversial as it sold demos from the Amiga demoscene which were not released as public domain, without having any agreements with the demo groups, or attempting to reimburse them as most where busy with pirate games BBS. Having said this the early 17 Bit Software Club was actually submission based as internet was not about for most people. Cracktro intros for the early intro packs largely submitted by the coders in 1988. The intro disk later saw the start of the Amiga mega demo to some extent. During the formation of Team 17, Martin Brown actively recruited coders and artists from the Amiga demo scene, to program games for Team 17. Few demo disks where ever sold, most sales where made for freeware games and utility disks such as the virus checkers.

The library later became purchased in Manchester by Quartz Public Domain. In total around 1500 disks where removed from the 6 CDR archives during the Almathera publications due to copyright issues. Epic Marketing regrettably did a terrible job of the menu system on the final 17 Bit Level 6 publication, it ate memory due to a code loop.

Quartz Public Domain mostly ran for fun in the final years, the commercial value of the library had dried up. The floppy disk shutters had largely worn down. Many of the original DMS archives on CD-R actually have errors from the worn out disks. Unfortunately many of these errors spread across Aminet in early DMS uploads. Quartz Public Domain had close ties with the well known LSD Amiga Crew. Quartz actively supported them in advertising of the Digital Candy BBS.

Quartz Public Domain closed its doors in 1998. Quartz made a move to further his controversy. Quartz Erotica Disk Magazine, featured nude images of his own girlfriend changing car tires, released on floppy disk with text based stories. Controversial images with her teenage twin sister appear in a Erotica Gold Edition, distributed on CD-R. It is worth stating for the record, Quartz Public Domain remained independent, had never been part of Team 17.

In 1990, a group of developers called Team 7[2] approached 17-Bit to publish their new game. During the formation of Team 17, Martin Brown actively recruited coders and artists from the Amiga demo scene, to program games for Team 17. They combined to form Team17,[3] and in 1991 published the fighting game Full Contact for the Amiga. Team17's intention was to produce a game that made use of the Amiga's unique capabilities and was not just a port of an Atari ST game. Team17 then went on to develop further Amiga games, incluing Alien Breed, Body Blows, Assassin, Project-X and Superfrog. Team17 also published titles in the UK for other developers such as AUDIOS and Eclipse UK. Almost all early titles were the result of liaising with freelance developers; there were few in-house developers.

Team17's Amiga era logo

In 1995, Team17 entered into an agreement with Ocean Software whereby Ocean would co-publish Team17's titles worldwide. The first title to be released under this agreement was Alien Breed 3D for the Amiga and Amiga CD32 systems. The second title was Worms, Team17's biggest success to date, and Team17's first multiple format release; the game was published in late 1995 and early 1996 for the Amiga, PC MS-DOS, Apple Macintosh, PlayStation, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Atari Jaguar, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Saturn, with a version planned for release on the Virtual Boy, although this was cancelled following the poor release of the console in Japan. Worms outsold FIFA 96 and Tomb Raider, topped the UK all-formats video game chart and won several awards. Team17 developed several of the console ports themselves, the others were produced by East Point Software.

Logo used on all games from Worms 3D to Worms Crazy Golf

Since the release of Worms, the franchise has gone on to be very successful, selling over 12 million units worldwide. This all-platform success contributed towards Team17's decision to cease publishing Amiga titles in 1997, as the platform had long been in a state of decline. They released Worms: The Director's Cut exclusively on the Amiga as a swan song. Team17 then focused on the PC market, releasing titles such as Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy (although this game was then adapted and released for the Amiga by ClickBoom) and Addiction Pinball, although they also produced some console-exclusive titles such as X2.

In 2003, Team17 released Worms 3D for the PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube, the first title in the franchise that brought the game into three dimensions. Team17 went on to release Worms 4: Mayhem in 2005 for PC, PS2 and Xbox. For the handheld DS and PSP consoles, Team17 developed Worms: Open Warfare in 2006, and Worms: Open Warfare 2 in 2007, both published by THQ. Team17 brought Worms to Xbox Live in 2007, this new release being largely based on Worms: Open Warfare, but featuring online multiplayer and downloadable content; this game also made it to the PlayStation Network in 2009 with some additional content.

Team17 developed not only their own titles during the 2000s, but also wrote games for other publishers' franchises. They made Army Men: Major Malfunction in 2006, ported Lemmings to the PSP, and created Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust in 2009. During this period, they were also short-listed for the "British developer of the year" by The Golden Joystick Awards.[4] In 2009, Team17 returned to their own franchise with the launch of Alien Breed Evolution for the Xbox Live Arcade,[5] later ported to the PlayStation Network and the PC under the new title Alien Breed: Impact. In 2010, Team17 released Worms: Reloaded and Worms: Battle Islands for Wii and PSP was announced with THQ. In 2013, Team 17 released Worms 2: Armageddon on Google Play for Android.[6]

Team17 is still an independent games studio with dozens of staff members. This makes it one of the longest surviving independent developers, now into its 26th year.

Games[edit]

Unreleased games[edit]

  • King of Thieves was a cancelled action game described as a pirate-themed variation of Alien Breed.
  • Witchwood was a cancelled PC and PlayStation action adventure-game in the style of The Legend of Zelda or Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse about a young hero's quest to destroy an evil witch.[7][8] The soundtrack for the game was released by Team17 composer Bjørn Lynne in 1996,[9] followed by the album Return to Witchwood in 2003.[10]
  • Worms Battle Rally was a cancelled entry in the Worms series that was in development in 2003-2004.[11]

Amiga Power dispute[edit]

During the 1990s, Team17 had a feud with gaming magazine Amiga Power. Amiga Power had a fairness policy of giving a 50% score to an average game, instead of 73% to keep game producers happy,[12] a practice the company saw as inherently wrong. Team17 put several easter eggs in their games. For example, typing "AMIGAPOWER" into Alien Breed 2 would display a message criticising Amiga Power's review policy;[13] computer players at the easiest difficulty setting in Arcade Pool, F17 Challenge and Kingpin: Arcade Sports Bowling were named after Amiga Power staff members.[13] Two of Amiga Power former writers, Stuart Campbell and Jonathan Nash, claim that a Team17 staff member made allegations of bribery and corruption in French magazine Amiga Concept.[14] Team17 refused to supply review copies of games to Amiga Power, even demanding reviewers at its sister magazine Amiga Format sign declarations stating that they would not share their review copies with Amiga Power.[13] In response to Amiga Power reviews of Kingpin and ATR: All Terrain Racing, Team17 filed a libel action demanding the magazine stop "lying about their games".[15]

References[edit]

External links[edit]