MOBAs and FPS games may dominate eSports at present, but Team17 want to expand the space by pushing Worms WMD into contention. And while it sounds somewhat optimistic, the game does have a number of things going for it as an eSport.
It's highly-refined for starters, with numerous iterations over the years creating a game that's incredibly skillful and hard to master. Of course it's the games community that decides if it has what it takes to become an eSport, very simply speaking are they willing to watch others playing the game?
What ultimately decides if a game becomes an eSport is the community itself, and the support you get from your players,” says community manager Jonno Stanton. What we can do from a developer's side, we can engage with the right people to give our players a platform on which they can compete and they can craft the scene. Communication is key. Its shows you are listening to the competitive scene, because the quickest way to kill that flame is to starve it of oxygen, and the oxygen they get is exposure and response from the developer to craft what they feel is the right platform for eSports and Worms.”
Tournaments were run at the end of last year with ESL. These showed that it might be best to remove the random map generation that the game has always used, replacing it with a set of symmetrical 'tournament' maps, which players could become familiar with and would feel fairly treated by.
I would very much like to take away the random elements without compromising on the gameplay,” says Carthew. There is a bit of RNG in Worms, a big part of the game's appeal is the randomly generated maps because that means the gameplay is almost endless, and it also means there is all sorts of tactics to learn every game you play is potentially different. But I think for eSports what could work better would be specifically designed multiplayer maps that really get the best out of the new features, such as the gun emplacements, the buildings, the vehicles. Maybe we would explore that and maybe we take a leaf out of Team Fortress' book and have the map symmetrical so everyone gets a fair advantages.”
For more from the interview, head over to eSports Pro.