Worms World Party (lost build of cancelled Gizmondo port of artillery turn-based strategy game; 2005)
Worms World Party is an artillery turn-based strategy game developed by Team 17 as part of the Worms series. Initially released in 2001 for Windows, Dreamcast, and PlayStation, it would also see later releases for the Game Boy Advance in October 2002, Pocket PC in October 2003, and for N-Gage in April 2005. Additionally, a port for the ill-fated Gizmondo was in development and nearing completion, before being cancelled as a result of the handheld console being discontinued.
Worms World Party served as the sequel to Worms Armageddon. In fact, it is notably similar to Armageddon, and was only developed because Sega wanted a Worms game to have online functionality for its Dreamcast. Thus, Team 17 developed Worms World Party to include online functionality for that console, as well as including extra features to justify a Windows and PlayStation release, like Wormpot and Wormopedia. The Dreamcast port was praised for its online capabilities, with GameSpot claiming that it could offer "longevity and sheer excitement." Critics also praised the other ports, but did criticise the game as too similar to Armageddon with only minor improvements included.
Following the initial success of the game, handheld ports were created. This included Fluid Studios who developed a Game Boy Advance port that was released in October 2002, and an N-Gage port in April 2005, the latter being listed as one of the twenty best games for the gaming phone by Pocket Gamer. Early that same year on 15 February, it was announced that Gizmondo Europe Ltd, a European subsidiary of Tiger Telematics Inc, had signed a deal with Team 17 to create a port for the upcoming Gizmondo handheld console that was slated for release in March 2005.
One of the main features hyped for this port was the ability to utilise the Gizmondo's Bluetooth functionality, thus harnessing the game's massive multiplayer potential. Team 17's Commercial Director Debbie Bestwick claimed that the wireless multiplayer would be an exciting addition to a "perfect extension to the Worms franchise". Meanwhile, Gizmondo Europe's Managing Director Carl Freer justified the need for a Worms game by pointing to the series' overall sales of over 8 million by 2005, and claimed that the Bluetooth multiplayer functionality should offer a new experience for Gizmondo players.
Not much is known about the development of the Gizmondo port. However, new cover art had been made for the port, indicating that development was going smoothly. However, the Gizmondo itself was quickly becoming one of gaming's biggest commercial disasters. Tiger Telematics had invested heavily in promoting the handheld console, including a massive celebrity party at London's Park Lane Hotel, and ambitions to compete against Nintendo and Sony leading to heavy journalist expectations. It had even opened a flagship store exclusively for the Gizmondo at 175 Regent Street.
Ultimately, a combination of factors led to the Gizmondo selling poorly. This included Tiger Telematics experiencing difficulties manufacturing the console due to the number of components and their complexity that led to many of the first consoles experiencing issues and the failure to meet pre-order demands; extraordinary wages for Tiger Telemetrics' executives; and the showcasing of an unreleased widescreen version of the console in meetings meant to promote the original console that further diminished the Gizmondo's hype, including in America.
The Gizmondo became both a critical and commercial failure, selling less than 25,000 units worldwide before Tiger Telematics declared bankruptcy in early 2006 with debts of around $300 million. Thus, with the console having been discontinued in January 2006 and with very low sales, there was no justification for Team 17 to continue developing the Gizmondo port for Worms World Party. It became one of many titles to never be released for the handheld console.
With cover art having been completed for the port, and with almost a year of possible development for it prior to the Gizmondo being discontinued, a build of this Worms World Party port may still exist within Team 17's archives. However, no build has ever leaked online, nor having any videos or screenshots that could have showcased what might have been for this port.
- Total Wormage (lost Amiga prototype build of artillery strategy game; 1994)
- Worms (non-existent Virtual Boy port of artillery turn-based strategy game; 1990s)
- Worms Battle Rally (lost builds of unfinished 3D kart game; 2003)
- Issue 41 of Retro Gamer which detailed that Sega's request for a Worms game with online functionality led to Worms World Party being developed. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- GameSpot review of Worms World Party generally praising the Dreamcast port's online capabilities. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- IGN review of Worms World Party generally praising the game but criticising it for not being too different to Worms Armageddon. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- GameSpot review for the Game Boy Advance port of Worms World Party. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- Pocket Gamer listing the N-Gage port of Worms World Party as one of the top 20 best games for the system. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- Games Industry reporting on the announcement that a Gizmondo port of Worms World Party was in development. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- Team 17 briefly discussing the cancelled Gizmondo port, and also providing the cover art intended for it. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- Games Industry reporting on the launch of the Gizmondo at 175 Regent Street and the Park Lane Hotel party. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- Eurogamer detailing the failure of the Gizmondo. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- Input Magazine detailing the critical and commercial failure of the Gizmondo, leading to its cancellation and Tiger Telematics declaring bankruptcy. Retrieved 17 Oct '21
- GameSpot list of announced Gizmondo games including Worms World Party, many of which would never be released. Retrieved 17 Oct '21