[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]nce upon a time, Team17 was a developer of Amiga games. Since 1990, they’ve provided a variety of games across a multitude of platforms, although you’re probably most aware of them as the name behind Alien Breed or the expansive Worms series. While they’re still going strong with even more Worms, they’ve also jumped into indie publisher landscape. This is a growing marketplace because of all the amazing upcoming indie games out there. Unlike some publishers, however, they seem to be pushing extremely hard to get games straight from Kickstarter. Let’s take a look at the library of crowdfunded games they’re slowing amassing.
2D stealth hacking game Light originally came to Kickstarter in late 2013. As the campaign neared its conclusion it was obvious they weren’t going to make their £20,000 goal, amassing only about 25% of it at the time. But then came a sudden, and quite surprising, update. Light was being fully funded by a “private party!” Yep, this was Team17 with their first acquisition in the crowdfunding space. The game launched in July of 2014 which was a little later than promised on the Kickstarter, but not by a ton. It is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux for $12.99.
The Escapists launched shortly after Light was canceled in October 2013. Luckily for them, tons more interest surrounded the pixelated prison escape simulator and it was fully funded by November. Team17 didn’t seem to jump on this game quite as fast (or maybe the news was just kept private for months). In February, the developer revealed a publishing partnership with the company and development continued onward. Eventually it hit Early Access and then launched in full months later. The Escapists can be purchased for $17.99 on PC or $19.99 on Xbox One.
Beyond Eyes serves as the first Indiegogo game which Team17 ventured forth with. Although it failed to raise the complete funding goal of €10,000, they did raise about half and were allowed to keep it thanks to flexible funding in October 2013. The beautiful adventure game where players assume the role of a blind young girl was just too intriguing to pass up. As such, in September 2014, Team17 announced they’d be publishing Beyond Eyes. The game is available now on Xbox One for $14.99 and is targeting a PC release quite soon.
In June 2014, Sheltered launched on Kickstarter and accrued a tidy sum of money — exactly double its £15,000 goal. This was thanks in large part to the game’s theme of surviving with your family in a post nuclear disaster world. After getting funded, but still during the campaign, Team17 jumped in and committed to publishing Sheltered. Just recently, the game finally launched in Early Access/Game Preview format for Steam and Xbox One at the price of $14.99.
With This is the Police we’re finally getting into 2015 Kickstarters. You may recall this as the intriguing strategy title where you control the morality (or lack thereof) of a retiring police chief. As they were being funded in January, Team17 added them to the indie portfolio. This occurred a few days before This is the Police was fully funded. This game is still deep in development and at this moment still seems poised to meet their beta window (which is in December).
Holy moly did Strength of the Sword Ultimate have a successful Kickstarter. Around the last week of their campaign, Team17 stepped in and the indie team flocked right to them. There’s no doubt a publisher will be a huge asset for them considering Strength of the Sword Ultimate is set to release on PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, and Xbox One. Given this only funded back in March, we’ve still got a bit of time to go before we can expect to see the game on any of these platforms.
It was a bit of a surprise when Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse failed to reach its funding goal back in March. Despite its typical habit, Team17 did not actually jump in during this Kickstarter… but they did when the more successful relaunch cropped up in April. This publishing pledge came in early May once Deadwood had easily cleared its funding goal. The estimated release date is December 2016, but by then you should be able to snag a copy on PC, PS4, or Xbox One.
Yooka-Laylee was an absolutely massive Kickstarter which saw itself funded in mere minutes back in May thanks to a huge group of Rare and platforming fans coming out of the woodwork. Surprisingly, they did not delve straight in with a publishing partner at that time (at least, not publicly). Word only got out about the Team17 partnership late July. As with everyone else, this makes it far easier for the development team to fulfill their goal of bringing Yooka-Laylee to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U sometime around October 2016.
As should be readily apparent, Team17 has pivoted itself from a game developer to publisher immensely in these past few years. Yes, they’ve also published some titles which didn’t go through crowdfunding (Flockers, Hey Ewe, Overruled!, etc) but their focus has been laser targeted on Kickstarter as of late. They’ve even gone so far as to try and partner with indie teams as they are funding rather than wait for the dust to settle. Why? In my opinion, they’re pouncing early so that another publisher doesn’t stake claim of these exciting new projects.
Not only can Team17 help a game get published, once it’s out there the developer may feel encouraged (or even be legally bound) to stick with them for their next video game. There aren’t a ton of publishers snapping up crowdfunding projects just yet, but as more indie titles get funded through these avenues, they’ll have to. Team17 just happens to be one of the pioneers in this realm, and they deserve credit for helping indie developers with traditionally difficult tasks like marketing and console publishing. Will Team17 slow their partnerships as they work on their latest Worms games? We’ll have to watch and see!