|Traded as||LSE: TM17|
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||7 December 1990|
Number of locations
|2 offices (2018)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Mouldy Toof Studios|
Team17 Group plc is a British video game developer and publisher based in Wakefield, England. The venture was created in December 1990 through the merger of British publisher 17-Bit Software and Swedish developer Team 7. At the time, the two companies consisted of and were led by Michael Robinson, Martyn Brown and Debbie Bestwick, and Andreas Tadic, Rico Holmes and Peter Tuleby, respectively. Bestwick later became and presently serves as Team17's chief executive officer. After their first game, Full Contact (1991) for Amiga, the studio followed up with multiple number-one releases on that platform, and saw major success with Andy Davidson's Worms in 1995, the resulting franchise of which still remains as the company's primary development output, having developed over 20 entries in it.
Through a management buyout performed by Bestwick, both Robinson and Brown departed from Team17 in 2010, leaving Bestwick as the sole manager. In 2013, Team17 initiated a publishing venture focusing on indie games, which since occupies its own office in Nottingham. The first game to release of this venture was Light (2013). Following a large investment from Lloyds Development Capital in September 2016, Team17 sought corporate expansion through various actions, including the acquisition of Mouldy Toof Studios, the developer behind Team17-published The Escapists (2015), and the hiring of multiple new key staff. In May 2018, the company published their initial public offering and became a public company listed on the Alternative Investment Market, valued around GB£230 million. Team17 employs 140 people in its two offices.
Background and formation (1990)
In 1990, Wakefield-based entrepreneur Michael Robinson ran Microbyte, a United Kingdom-wide computer retail chain, and 17-Bit Software, a video game publisher. Robinson created 17-Bit Software in 1987 specifically to seek young, independent video game developers whose games he could publish through this label and distribute through his Microbyte stores. One of those developers was Andreas Tadic, a nineteen-year-old hobbyist programmer from Olofström, Sweden, who at the time developed HalfBright, a shoot 'em up for Amiga systems. According to Tadic, the game was "technically impressive, but shite-looking". Martyn Brown, a Microbyte employee, called Tadic up to introduce him to artist Rico Holmes; Tadic and Holmes subsequently became friends and, alongside another Swedish programmer, Peter Tuleby, founded a development team known as Team 7.
Team 7's first game was Miami Chase, a Miami Vice-inspired racing game that was published by Codemasters in 1990, as a budget title for Amiga systems, and received an 82% review score from British Amiga-centric magazine Amiga Power. Brown had followed the game's development closely, because of which he suggested to Robinson that they should not only publish but also develop games at 17-Bit Software, using Team 7 as their internal development team and himself as project manager. Robinson agreed to undergo the venture and moved Debbie Bestwick from her position as sales manager of Microbyte to commercial support for 17-Bit Software. Eventually, 17-Bit Software and Team 7 agreed to formally merge into one team, amalgamating the two teams' names as "Team17". Team17 was officially created on 7 December 1990.
Early success (1991–1993)
Using Microbyte's experience in game retailing, Team17 was able to easily determine game genres that would sell well, while Team 7's expertise in game development enabled Team17 to also develop games in those genres. Their first game was 1991's Full Contact, a fighting game that, upon release, reached the top spot on British game sales charts. Further Team17 games followed Full Contact's success; by 1993, 90% of the studio's games, including Alien Breed (1991), Project-X (1992) and Superfrog (1993), reached the top spot on sales charts, while all Team17 products combined generated half of all Amiga game sales. At the 1993 Golden Joystick Awards, Team17 and Electronic Arts jointly received the "Software House of the Year" award.
Amiga Power dispute (1992–1995)
Starting in 1992, Future Publishing-owned Amiga Power started criticising Team17's products more harshly than other gaming magazines. According to Stuart Campbell, deputy editor for the magazine at the time, Overdrive, Project-X, F17 Challenge and Superfrog were among the games that received negative reception from Amiga Power between 1992 and 1993. As a response to their reviews, Team17 began implementing derogatory Easter eggs into their games, which included the cheat code "AMIGAPOWER" unlocking a critical statement regarding the magazine's review policy in Alien Breed II: The Horror Continues (1993) and the easiest-difficulty bot opponents in Arcade Pool (1994) named after Amiga Power staff. However, when the magazine awarded Team17's ATR: All Terrain Racing and Kingpin: Arcade Sports Bowling scores of 38% and 47%, respectively, in 1995, Team17 issued a lawsuit against the magazine, demanding the reviews to be retracted and the issue withdrawn from sale. The lawsuit was not successful for the studio, and it instead turned to not sending review copies of their games to Amiga Power and making other Future Publishing-owned magazines not lend their review copies to Amiga Power.
In 1994, programmer Andy Davidson created Artillery, a game in the artillery game genre, for Amiga systems. He entered the game, under the title Wormage or Total Wormage, into a contest held by the Amiga Format magazine. The game failed to make an impact, wherefore Davidson instead opted to take it to the 1994 European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) in London, where he presented it to people at Team17's booth, where the game was signed for development as a commercial title. Bestwick stated they could not stop playing the game and as such realised that the game had potential, although that potential's dimensions were yet unknown. Following the deal struck between the two parties, Team17 promptly lost Davidson's contact details and were forced to call Amiga Format to retrieve them. Once they had retrieved his details, Team17 and Davidson started to jointly develop a commercial version of his game, though retitled Worms, a title that appeared more straightforward.
At the time, Team17 had the strong feeling that the games market for Amiga was dying, wherefore they decided develop Worms across as many platforms as possible. However, the company had no publishing experience outside the Amiga market and needed to seek a third-party publisher; given the choice between Ocean Software and Virgin Interactive, they chose to go with Ocean Software. Worms was released in 1995 for Amiga and later ported to Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, MS-DOS, PlayStation, among various other platforms. Out of the 60,000 total sales estimated by Ocean Software prior to the game's release, the game shipped millions of copies within its first year. Bestwick considered the game to have saved Team17. However, following the game's success, Team17 became obsessed with replicating it: Between 1995 and 2010, the studio released a total of sixteen new Worms games. With Team17 turning into a "single intellectual property company", many developers felt fatigue and "creative stagnation".
In August 2010, Team17 announced that they had turned away from third-party publishers in favour of releasing their games themselves via digital distribution. The company hired Paul Bray and Alan Perrie to act as finance and operations director, and head of global marketing, respectively. Later that year, Team17 underwent a large internal restructuring, which included the management buyout of co-founders Brown and Robinson, making Bestwick, as chief executive officer, the company's sole manager. Bestwick stated that this move had "placed the company in a secure position for the future". Brown announced his departure in February 2011, stating that he would join handheld game developer Double Eleven.
In December 2011, Team17 acquired Iguana Entertainment, a company founded by Jason Falcus and Darren Falcus in 2009. All Iguana staff, including its founders, were effectively absorbed into Team17's Wakefield offices. In 2013, Bestwick and Bray sparked the idea of returning Team17 to its roots by adding an indie game publishing component to the company. A incubation programme was run that tasked two studios to co-develop what would later become Beyond Eyes (2015) and Sheltered (2016). Light by Brighton-based Just a Pixel became the first game to be announced and released through Team17's new venture. The activity was broadened to mobile game publishing in March 2014, with Hay Ewe by Rocket Rainbow announced to have been slated for a release on iOS in the second quarter of that year. To accommodate the publishing label's growth, Team17 opened a separate publishing office in Nottingham in May 2014. Bestwick stated that she despised the term "publisher" and preferred "label", as "[t]he term 'publisher' represents a way of doing business that's completely at odds with the new world of digital distribution". Team17 won the "Publishing Hero" award at 2015's Develop Awards.
One of the label's most successful titles was The Escapists: The game, designed by Chris Davis, a former roofer and founder of Derby-based Mouldy Toof Studios, sold over a million copies within one year of release. On 1 September 2016, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the private equity division of Lloyds Banking Group, announced that they had invested GB£16.5 million into the development of Team17. In return, LDC was awarded a 33% stake in Team17. Using the investment, Team17 acquired Mouldy Toof Studios and The Escapists franchise for an undisclosed sum. In response to LDC's investment, Chris van der Kuyl of 4J Studios joined Team17 as non-executive chairman. As means of further corporate expansion, Team17 hired multiple new management staff by January 2017, including Justin Berenbaum as head of publishing and business development for Asia and the Americas, Matt Benson as business development manager and Ste Stanley as marketing and sales coordinator.
Initial public offering (2018)
In March 2018, Team17 tasked stockbrokers from Berenberg and GCA Altium to prepare an initial public offering (IPO) valuing Team17 at £200 million. The company confirmed their intents to become a public company on 8 May 2018, announcing that a 50% stake in Team17 would be sold over the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange. The flotation was expected to value Team17 between £200 million and 230 million. Bestwick and LDC would each sell half of their shareholdings in the process, wherein Bestwick was expected to receive £50 million in windfall profit. Chris Bell, formerly chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral, was appointed chairman of Team17 to aid the IPO process. At this time, the company employed 120 people in the Wakefield development studio and another 20 in the Nottingham publishing offices. Team17 was expected to gain £107.5 million in gross profits based on 27,325,482 new shares and 37,849,200 existing shares. The shares became available for purchase via the AIM on 23 May 2018. Following the sale of shareholdings by Bestwick and LDC, they retained 22.2% and 16.6% stake ownerships in the company, respectively.
|Alien Breed||Amiga, Amiga CD32, Android, iOS, MS-DOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita||Team17, MicroLeague|
|1992||Project-X||Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS||Team17|
|1993||Alien Breed II: The Horror Continues||Amiga, Amiga CD32|
|Superfrog||Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS|
|Body Blows||Amiga, MS-DOS|
|1994||Arcade Pool||Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS|
|Body Blows Galactic||Amiga|
|Alien Breed: Tower Assault||Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS|
|Ultimate Body Blows|
|1995||Kingpin: Arcade Sports Bowling|
|Worms||Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari Jaguar, Classic Mac OS, Game Boy, MS-DOS, PlayStation, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Saturn, Super Nintendo Entertainment System||Ocean Software|
|Alien Breed 3D||Amiga, Amiga CD32|
|1996||Alien Breed 3D II: The Killing Grounds||Amiga|
|World Rally Fever||MS-DOS|
|1997||Worms: The Director's Cut||Amiga|
|Worms 2||Microsoft Windows||Team17, MicroProse|
|1998||Addiction Pinball||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation||MicroProse, Infogrames|
|1999||Arcade Pool II||Microsoft Windows||MicroProse|
|Phoenix||Hasbro Interactive, Team17|
|Worms Armageddon||Dreamcast, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation|
|Worms Pinball||Microsoft Windows||Infogrames|
|2001||Worms World Party||Dreamcast, Gizmondo, Microsoft Windows||Titus Interactive, Team17|
|Stunt GP||Dreamcast. Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2||Eon Digital Entertainment, Titus Interactive|
|2002||Worms Blast||GameCube, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2||Ubi Soft, Feral Interactive|
|2003||Worms 3D||Sega, Feral Interactive|
|2004||Worms Forts: Under Siege||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox||Sega|
|2005||Worms 4: Mayhem||Codemasters, Majesco Entertainment|
|2006||Worms: Open Warfare||Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable||THQ|
|Lemmings||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Army Men: Major Malfunction||PlayStation 2, Xbox||Global Star Software|
|2007||Worms||iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Microsoft Game Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Team17|
|Worms: Open Warfare 2||Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable||THQ|
|2008||Worms: A Space Oddity||Wii|
|2009||Worms 2: Armageddon||Android, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Team17|
|Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Funsta|
|Alien Breed Evolution||Xbox 360||Team17|
|2010||Worms Reloaded||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows|
|Alien Breed: Impact||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3|
|Alien Breed 2: Assault||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|Alien Breed 3: Descent|
|Worms: Battle Islands||PlayStation Portable, Wii||Team17, THQ|
|2011||Worms Ultimate Mayhem||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Team17|
|Worms Crazy Golf||iOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3|
|2012||Worms Revolution||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|2013||Superfrog HD||Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|Worms Clan Wars||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows|
|Worms 3||Android, iOS, macOS|
|2014||Worms Battlegrounds||PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|Flockers||Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|2015||Worms World Party Remastered||Microsoft Windows|
|Worms 4||Android, iOS|
|The Escapists: The Walking Dead||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows|
|2016||10 Minute Tower||Microsoft Windows||Sega|
|Worms W.M.D||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Team17|
|2017||The Escapists 2|
|1993||F17 Challenge||Holodream Software|
|Overdrive||Amiga, MS-DOS||Psionic Systems|
|Silverball||MS-DOS||Digital Extremes, Epic MegaGames|
|1994||Super Stardust||Amiga, Amiga CD32||Bloodhouse|
|1995||ATR: All Terrain Racing||Jamie Woodhouse|
|1996||The Speris Legacy||Binary Emotions|
|1997||Profits Warning||MS-DOS||Bubball Systems|
|1998||Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy||Amiga, Microsoft Windows||Trecision|
|2013||Light||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows||Just a Pixel|
|2014||Hay Ewe||iOS||Rocket Rainbow|
|Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Italic Pig|
|2015||The Escapists||Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One||Mouldy Toof Studios|
|LA Cops||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Modern Dream|
|Beyond Eyes||Tiger & Squid|
|Penarium||Self Made Miracle|
|Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition||Xbox One||Roll7|
|OlliOlli2: XL Edition|
|Overcooked||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Ghost Town Games|
|Lethal VR||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4||Three Fields Entertainment|
|2017||Yooka-Laylee||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Playtonic Games|
|Aven Colony||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Mothership Entertainment|
|Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition||Microsoft Windows||Team Jolly Roger|
|2018||My Time at Portia (early access)||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Pathea Games|
|Raging Justice||macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||MakinGames|
|Yoku's Island Express||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Villa Gorilla|
|Mugsters||macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Reinkout Games|
|Overcooked 2||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Ghost Town Games, Team17|
|Sword Legacy: Omen||Microsoft Windows||Firecast Studio, Fableware Narrative Design|
|Forged Battalion||Microsoft Windows||Petroglyph|
|Planet Alpha||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Planet Alpha ApS|
|2019||Genesis Alpha One||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Radiation Blue|
- Parkin, Simon (12 June 2016). "Worms or bust: The story of Britain's most tenacious indie games company". Ars Technica. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- "IP Profile: Worms". MCV. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Aston, Bethany (1 December 2015). "Industry Veteran Team17 Turns 25!". Gamasutra. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Parfitt, Ben (30 August 2010). "Team 17 breaks ties with publishers". MCV. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Nunneley, Stephany (31 August 2010). "Team 17 shifts focus to digital instead of boxed products". VG247. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- McKeand, Kirk (20 September 2016). "How Worms studio head Debbie Bestwick went from retail to MBE - interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Purchese, Robert (17 February 2011). "What Team17 founder Brown did next". Eurogamer. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Weber, Rachel (13 December 2011). "Team17 hires Iguana Entertainment founders". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- Caoili, Eric (13 December 2011). "Worms Studio Team17 Amps Up Social Strategy With Iguana Acquisition". Gamasutra. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- Purchese, Robert (13 November 2013). "Worms house Team17 to be a publisher again". Eurogamer. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Sinclair, Brendan (5 March 2014). "Team 17 gets into mobile publishing". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Bachelor, James (9 May 2014). "Team17 opens European publishing office". MCV. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Jarvis, Matthew (19 May 2015). "How a 25-year-old studio is reshaping the games industry". MCV. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Batchelor, James (16 July 2015). "Develop Awards 2015: Team17 wins Publishing Hero". MCV. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Kerr, Chris (1 September 2016). "Worms creator nets $21.9 million, acquires Escapists dev". Gamasutra. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Sweney, Mark (8 May 2018). "Founder of Worms maker Team17 in line for £50m windfall". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Handrahan, Matthew (2 September 2016). "Team17 secures £16.5m investment, buys Mouldy Toof". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Dring, Christopher (23 September 2016). "Developer of Minecraft console editions joins Team17 board". MCV. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Mackie, Gareth (20 September 2016). "Minecraft's Chris van der Kuyl to chair games firm Team17". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
- Dring, Christopher (12 January 2017). "Team17 targets US developers with major hires". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Kerr, Chris (26 March 2018). "Report: Worms creator Team 17 could go public in $280M deal". Gamasutra. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Kerr, Chris (8 May 2018). "Worms creator Team 17 confirms plans to go public". Gamasutra. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Bounds, Andy (8 May 2018). "'Worms' video game developer set to float on Aim". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Handrahan, Matthew (18 May 2018). "Team17 expects gross proceeds of IPO to hit £107.5 million". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 20 May 2018.