Ask most people to list their favourite games from the 16-bit era, and the chances are Earthworm Jim will come up more than a few times. The SNES/Mega Drive classic first released in 1994, and offered a zany, anarchic platforming experience.
Subsequent sequels were, unfortunately, just a bit naff and the muscular worm hero slowly faded into obscurity. While he remains iconic to those of a certain age, he hasn’t had the same staying power as the likes of Mario, Sonic, or Pac Man.
The good news is that a quarter of a century after the character first burst on to scene, we’re getting a genuine Earthworm Jim 3 with most of the original team of artists, sound and level designers involved.
That means Doug TenNapel, David Perry, Tommy Tallarico, Nick Bruty, Mike Dietz, Tom Tanaka and Joey Kuras are all back and ready to roll – this team hasn’t worked together since Earthworm Jim 2 back in 1995, so this is a big deal for retro gaming fans.
There are a couple of caveats to this exciting news, I’m afraid. The first is that Earthworm Jim 3 will be exclusive to the upcoming Intellivision Amico – a new “retro” console releasing in October 2020.
It remains to be seen just how successful this console will be in a market where Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo currently dominate, but if its plan is to bag more exclusive retro sequels like Earthworm Jim, then it might just stand a chance.
A 20-minute live interactive simulcast streaming event on May 4 at 8pm BST will show off the team’s new vision for the game, as well as a sneak peek at a number of original art pieces that will be signed and given away to a number of lucky viewers.
Tommy Tallarico, Intellivision Entertainment CEO/President and Earthworm Jim 1 & 2 composer and sound designer said:
We have been talking about this moment for many years, it’s a dream come true to finally get the entire team back together. We’re looking forward to sharing a small part of our reunion and initial design meeting with fans from around the world. Intellivision Amico is designed to bring friends and families together and we are excited for fans and those just being introduced to the series to get a first look as we kick-off the design of the game.
The second caveat is TenNapel’s inclusion on the team. TenNapel – who created the character of Earthworm Jim – has disappointed fans of the franchise in recent years due to a number of transphobic and homophobic comments made by the cartoonist on Twitter.
Understandably, his inclusion in the newest game has been met with criticism by members and allies of the LGBT+ community, with many wondering if we can separate the art from the artist.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.