Studio retained ownership after beating sales target by 1.7 per cent

Team17 nearly lost the Worms IP

Team17 was nearly forced to surrender its famous Worms IP in the late 1990s after signing a deal with a publisher, the studio’s MD has revealed.

In her latest Develop column, Debbie Bestwick said her company has faced losing the franchise twice, the closest in the late 1990s.

She said the studio had signed a deal after receiving extra funding for a game behind schedule that if sales targets for the title were not met within 12 months, the Worms IP would be relinquished to the publisher.

The target was eventually beaten by 1.7 per cent.

"The business had to recoup on a loan with an unnamed publisher," said Bestwick.

"For a number of reasons, we were behind schedule by around four to five months on a big game. Extra funding was needed in order to make it through to release. Sales targets were set by the publisher, together with a clause that the Worms IP would be relinquished should those figures not be met. A close working relationship with the publisher’s team allowed Team17 to monitor orders on a day-to-day basis, knowing every single unit sold and where it had shipped over the previous 12 months (the target had to be hit within 12 months).

“At the time, the extra funding was necessary but agreeing to clauses that include IP seizure is beyond stupid."

Worms was first released in 1995 on multiple platforms, including the Amiga, PC, PlayStation and Super Nintendo, and is still going to day, most recently with the release of Worms Battleground in May.

You can read Debbie Bestwick’s full column, in which she discusses the importance of IP ownership, here.

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