A recent rumor got Earthworm Jim fans incredibly excited, as series creator Doug TenNapel allegedly confirmed the existence of Earthworm Jim 4, a new Wii game starring the world's greatest superpowered invertebrate. Unfortunately, TenNapel has today confirmed with yours truly that Earthworm Jim 4 is not in development and nothing about the rumors are true. However, he did shed some light on what it would take to create a new EWJ game, and the many problems such a title would face.
Read on as Doug TenNapel, in his own words (not the secondhand words of a fellow who made stuff up), explains the recent rumors and the future of Earthworm Jim.
"I need some real press source to straighten out these rumors. I read the initial post by the guy who put up the drawing I did for him and almost NOTHING in the post he wrote was true," explained the father of Earthworm Jim. "I'm getting piles of letters asking me to confirm or deny the post and from what I've read it's total disinformation."
TenNapel was happy to share the truth of the matter, however: "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. So the way the guy posted it as Interplay wanting to do a rip off game is flat out false.
"In our early discussions about the game, we had tentatively brainstormed ideas for the Wii," he continued. "That is NOT a confirmation like the guy posted. We haven't presented the idea to Nintendo and all of what the guy posted in the article could actually jeopardize a real EWJ game coming out on the Wii, by Interplay involving me!"
So, what can Earthworm Jim fans do in the meantime?
"The main thing is to keep our hopes up for a new game but be realistic about the industry, how hard it is to raise money to make a game and give people room to work. 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.
"90% of the fans who approach me over the years (and it numbers in the thousands) they say, 'You know what would be a great idea? A new Jim game!' As if I’m sitting on the rights of my own character with 20 million dollars in my pocket and it hasn’t occurred to me what has occurred to every other Jim fan in the world."
Unfortunately, Doug also added that, even if the planets align and a new Earthworm Jim gets a green light, you can't guarantee that it would be the experience everybody remembers.
"The only other thing I’d say to mitigate fan interest is that you literally can’t fully have a complete EWJ game without the original team. If you take out any of the missing pieces: Dave Perry, Nick Jones, Andy Astor (who passed away), Nick Bruty, Ed Schofield, Mike Dietz or Steve Crowe you’re going to get a not-first-generation Jim. That’s the most potent form of Jim that exists in everyone’s mind when they think, 'Jim was part of my childhood!' They’re not talking about pixels in a cartridge, they’re talking about the people who created and manipulated those pixels. You can’t make a next gen game with just those eight guys any more, so let the compromises begin.
Finally, Doug issued a warning to fans who are hungry for Earthworm Jim news and are raring to snap up any information that comes their way:
"Fans should be very wary of any information passed on second hand. The first thing we would do if anything true was confirmed is announce it from the rooftops. It won’t come from blogs or speculation. Until there is an announcement, there is no development, nothing is confirmed and there is no real news about EWJ."
That settles that, then. A huge thanks to Doug TenNapel for taking the time to explain the situation, and one can only hope that some Faustian bargain is struck one day, and we get another Earthworm Jim that lives up to the legend. Until that day, however, don't believe anything you read.
Apr 30, 2010