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Earthworm Jim 4

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Earthworm Jim 4 is an announced (but as yet unreleased) game in the Earthworm Jim video game series. The game will be developed with character creator Douglas TenNapel, formerly of Shiny Entertainment who will also serve as the project's creative consultant. It was rumored to be released on Nintendo Wii, but TenNapel has since stated this was false.

Earthworm Jim 4 was first announced by the Interplay Entertainment in 2008, who had the rights to the franshise.[1] While series creator Doug TenNapel later denied work on it had ever started in 2010[2], Interplay referred to the game as "still in development" as of May 2011, when Interplay sold the rights of the Fallout MMO to Bethesda.[3]

Former Shiny Entertainment lead designer David Perry stated in July 2012 that he was sure that there would be another Earthworm Jim game.[4]

Announcement history

With Earthworm Jim (PSP) being quietly cancelled by Atari in mid-2007[5], rumors of a new Earthworm Jim game arose as early as November 2007.[6]

Interplay, who had previously halted game development due to financial trouble, announced they were restarting game development again, and listed Earthworm Jim as a series they would resurrect. The new game was tentatively titled as Earthworm Jim 4 shortly after this, on April 22, 2008.[7] Interplay also announced that original Earthworm Jim creator and voice actor Doug TenNapel would return as a "creative consultant" on Earthworm Jim 4, a new animated television series, and a feature film.[8][9]

While no details were released in regards to which video game console it would be released on, or a prospective release date, the company did announce the intention to release a new animated television series, and eventually a feature film, to tie in with the game.[10][11] However there have been no further announcements with regards to this since.

TenNapel's commentary

No news was announced on the game for over two years, until April 2010, when rumors arose that Doug TenNapel had started confirming details about the game, most notably that he was actively working on the game, and that it would be a title for the Nintendo Wii. TenNapel later addressed all the rumors as false; he had not been working on an Earthworm Jim 4 at all, nor had any work been done on it in general.

TenNapel said in his statement:

"Interplay actually wants to do the game right! We've been talking about a game now for two years. They want me to be involved, but times in games are tough right now for everyone. They have to raise a lot of money to fund the game properly... In our early discussions about the game, we had tentatively brainstormed ideas for the Wii. That is NOT a confirmation like the guy posted. We haven't presented the idea to Nintendo... As with anything in the gaming industry, the whole thing could turn on a dime and many of the facts can change about the game. What these fans don’t understand is how squirly things are at the beginning of the game. It would take at least two years to bring out the game and that’s after we’ve confirmed the budget and platform. The game could just as easily go away, get moved to the iPhone or become a Jim Tetris knock off as come out as a game on the Wii. People don’t understand how unstable game design is at the start"[12]

TenNapel also emphasized the importance of getting the original team members back together (such as David Perry and Nick Bruty) and being able to adapt to the higher production values and demands of the current generation of video game consoles. Overall, he said that while Interplay was still interested in doing the game, no development, or terms of it, had been completed.

Interplay's commentary

Another year passed before anything was heard about the game again. In May, 2011, Interplay announced that they were experiencing financial troubles again, including "substantial debt" and continued operating losses, and that could leave many future games in jeopardy.[13] Despite TenNapel's comments a year prior, in these reports, Interplay listed the game as "Earthworm Jim 4, a project still in development but at an unknown state."[14][15][16]

Dave Perry's commentary

At the "Develop" conference in July 2012, David Perry released a statement that he's sure there will be another Earthworm Jim game. Perry claimed the problem was "when", not "if", as, while the development team members discuss the project actively, they are all busy with their separate projects and companies. A possible premise he outlined was,

"The thing we had talked about in the past is Jim had been in retirement...So, he's been sitting at home watching movies and eating popcorn. He's grossly overweight now. The plan was to start with him literally getting off the sofa, and it's a disaster because he just hasn't done anything since. But he's got to get back into action again."

While details regarding just how much Jim being out of shape would affect game design are still up in the air, Perry mentioned being pretty certain that the game would be played in 2D.[17]

Nick Bruty's commentary

In October 2015, former Shiny game designer Nick Bruty held a Reddit AMA, where he addressed the issues that the fourth title fell into, stating:

"Oh man. A new EWJ game with the original team almost happened about 5 years ago but a deal with the IP owners couldn't get worked out. I think everyone would be up for it sometime. Feels like unfinished business but hard to align everyone. I wouldn't do it without the key players."[18]

References

  1. http://www.1up.com/news/interplay-announces-earthworm-jim-4
  2. http://www.destructoid.com/tennapel-earthworm-jim-4-not-in-development-172521.phtml
  3. http://www.develop-online.net/news/fallout-in-doubt-as-interplay-fears-collapse/0109388#after_ad
  4. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-07-17-david-perry-sure-a-new-earthworm-jim-will-be-made
  5. http://www.siliconera.com/2007/06/19/ataris-earthworm-jim-project-is-in-stasis/
  6. http://www.1up.com/news/interplay-develop-games
  7. http://uk.ign.com/articles/2008/04/23/earthworm-jim-returns
  8. http://www.engadget.com/2008/04/23/earthworm-jim-4-announced-by-an-overenthusiastic-interplay-no-p/
  9. http://www.kotaku.com.au/2008/04/new_earthworm_jim_games_and_cartoons_thanks-2/
  10. http://www.1up.com/news/interplay-announces-earthworm-jim-4
  11. http://www.kotaku.com.au/2008/04/new_earthworm_jim_games_and_cartoons_thanks-2/
  12. http://www.gamesradar.com/doug-tennapel-shoots-down-earthworm-jim-4-but-confirms-interest-from-interplay/
  13. http://www.develop-online.net/news/fallout-in-doubt-as-interplay-fears-collapse/0109388#after_ad
  14. http://gamepolitics.com/2011/05/30/fallout-online-earthworm-jim-4-jeopardy-interplay-stumbles-0/
  15. http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/31/fallout-onlines-future-in-doubt-as-interplay-crumbles/
  16. http://gonintendo.com/?p=159408
  17. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-07-17-david-perry-sure-a-new-earthworm-jim-will-be-made
  18. http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2015/10/the_team_behind_earthworm_jim_would_like_to_make_a_sequel

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