A much-loved franchise getting along-overdue sequel? From the original development team? In a way that sticks to the original game’s roots? And they’re only going to put it out when the time is right? Why, this sounds all kinds of good. One problem though. “When the time is right” currently translates to “Whenever we all get time to work together, because we’re all now successful in different fields so making this is going to be like getting the original cast of Star Wars back together for another holiday special”.
Not of course, that I’m comparing the eventual Earthworm Jim 4 to George Lucas’ (now tragically prophetic) franchise cash-in abortion. All signs point to the game being as mighty fine as vague signs pointing to a currently non-existent game can. Original designer (and most recently the chief boss-man behind cloud gaming service Gaikai) David Perry has stated (opens in new tab) that the project is an ongoing discussion between the original creators via a Facebook group they’ve created, and that he’s “sure it’s going to happen, I just can’t tell you exactly when”.
The hold-up? This game needs the original team, and the original team are scattered all over the place on successful projects right now. Perry has just sold Gaikai to Sony. Writer and artist Doug TenNapel is busy as hell as in comics, cartoons and short film. Soundtrack composer Tommy Tallarico is now running the touring concert behemoth that is Video Games Live. As Perry says, “It’s just a bunch of guys who all have their own thing. Everyone has their own company. So, to get them to stop what they’re doing and work on a game is very difficult, but it’s something they all want to do”
Current direction for the game? Definitely 2D, so praise the heavens for that. The general plotline has an out-of-shape Jim coming out of retirement, though although apparently there’s currently a point of contention between Perry and TenNapel regarding the conceptual design. According to DP, “When he [TenNapel] started to draw the new Earthworm Jim, if I showed you the sketches of what he wanted the next Earthworm Jim to look like, I can guarantee you’d go, no! Don’t go that way! Because he’s going wimpy. My job is to fight him on that. No, don’t go wimpy. We don’t want wimpy”
Still, if designer and artists are already coming to blows over the direction of the game before there even is a game, that proves that they still care. And if they still care, them Earthworm Jim 4 is definitely a real possibility.
Now make it, gentlemen. All of you take a big holiday and just bloody well make it.