Team17

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

Team17 Digital Ltd. is a British video game developer that developed the Worms (initially developed by Andy Davidson[1]), Superfrog, and the Alien Breed series of games. Most of its early releases were on the Amiga home computer system and featured trademark smooth scrolling, and detailed cartoonish pixel 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.[2] 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.

In 1990, a group of developers called "Team 7"[3] approached 17-Bit to publish their new game. They combined to form "Team17",[4] and in 1991 published 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; Full Contact was praised as one of the best beat 'em ups for the Amiga. Team17 went on to develop many further Amiga games, like Alien Breed, Assassin, Project-X and Body Blows. 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 logo used on Amiga games

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 released 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), Phoenix, 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. While critically acclaimed, the game disappointed some fans[who?] who felt it did not match the simplicity and playability of the 2D titles. 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.

In December 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.

On August 26, 2010, Team17 released Worms: Reloaded, while on September 21, 2010, Worms: Battle Islands for Wii and PSP was announced with THQ.

Team17 is still an independent games studio with around 75 staff members. This makes it one of the longest surviving independent developers, now into its 25th year (it turned 24 on Dec 5, 2013).

On April 7, 2013, Team 17 released Worms 2: Armageddon on Google Play for Android. The release was initially for Canada only however the game was released worldwide on April 9.[6]

Amiga Power dispute[edit]

During the 1990s, Team17 had a feud with Amiga Power, a gaming magazine. Amiga Power had a fairness policy of giving a 50% score to an average game, instead of 73% to keep game producers happy;[7] a practice the magazine 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;[8] computer players at the easiest difficulty setting in Arcade Pool, F17 Challenge and Kingpin: Arcade Sports Bowling were named after Amiga Power staff members.[8]

Two of Amiga Power's former writers, Stuart Campbell and Jonathan Nash, claim that a Team17 staff member made allegations of bribery and corruption in the French magazine Amiga Concept.[9] Team17 refused to supply review copies of games to Amiga Power, even demanding reviewers at Amiga Power's sister magazine Amiga Format sign declarations stating that they would not share their review copies with Amiga Power.[8] In response to Amiga Power's reviews of Kingpin and ATR: All Terrain Racing, Team17 filed a libel action demanding the magazine stop "lying about their games".[10]

Fandom[edit]

In February 2004, a small group of fans launched a Team17 fansite called Dream17. The company gave Dream17 permission to make their entire Amiga back-catalog of games available as free downloads in both ADF and IPF disk image formats.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Interview with Andy Davidson". Team17. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  2. ^ 17-Bit PD catalogue
  3. ^ Miami Chase on Lemon Amiga; see developer logo
  4. ^ "Team 7" thread on English Amiga Board
  5. ^ Exclusive: All New Alien Breed Confirmed
  6. ^ Link to Worms 2 on Google Play
  7. ^ AP2 | Why we marked the way we did
  8. ^ a b c AP2 | Whining childish hatemongers
  9. ^ AP2 | Amiga Concept
  10. ^ AP2 | "Sttrriiikkke! This game off your shopping list"

External links[edit]