Worms Rumble is officially going next-gen, and somewhat surprisingly, the franchise is making serious changes. Will they broaden the series’ appeal or possibly alienate longtime fans?
Veteran British developer and publisher Team17 (Yooka-Laylee, Overcooked) has announced Worms Rumble for PS5, PS4 and PC. The game is set to release on all three platforms sometime in late 2020, no doubt scheduled to coincide with the holiday launch of Sony’s highly-anticipated PlayStation 4 hardware successor.
According to the official press release, Worms Rumble “will be the first game in the series to feature real-time combat and multi-platform cross-play”. Apparently, up to 32 players will be able to battle each other across a smattering of different arenas. Players on PS5, PS4 and PC will all be fighting it out on the same servers.
Modes mentioned by Team17 include standard Deathmatch, Last Worm Standing and of course, because it’s the year 2020, Battle Royale. I’m sure this last one will draw comparisons to the likes of Fortnite, but that’s not the only reason to cite similarities to Epic Games’ juggernaut.
Team17 is also saying that Worms Rumble players will have the opportunity to “take part in seasonal events, daily and community challenges” as well as “earn XP and in-game currency to unlock and purchase weapon skins, outfits, accessories and emotes.”
It does seem that, at some level, they’re trying to turn the franchise into the usually-bemoaned ‘games as a service’. Though to be fair, it remains to be seen how (or if) Team17 might attempt to monetize these promised cosmetics.
I do hope that it all stays in-game and you can earn every last trinket through honest play, but seeing how games like Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare passively push users toward paying, I won’t be holding my breath.
While Worms Rumble is abandoning its turn-based roots, there is promise of classic weapons like the Holy Hand Grenade returning, so it’s not all bad. And who knows, this change of pace could take Worms in a much-needed fresh direction, especially with cross-platform multiplayer involved.
I can’t blame Team17 for wanting to bring these slimy warriors into the here and now, but I do worry that this sort of battle royale detour could potentially turn away a lot of hardcore fans that have remained faithful since the original title’s 1995 inception. Then again, we can’t forget about Worms Golf, can we?
Originally published at Forbes by Mitch Wallace