Team17 Group plc is a British video game developer and publisher based in Wakefield, England. The venture was created in December 1990 through the merger of British publisher 17-Bit Software and Swedish developer Team 7. At the time, the two companies consisted of and were led by Michael Robinson, Martyn Brown and Debbie Bestwick, and Andreas Tadic, Rico Holmes and Peter Tuleby, respectively. Bestwick later became and presently serves as Team17's chief executive officer. After their first game, Full Contact (1991) for the Amiga, the studio followed up with multiple number-one releases on that platform and saw major success with Andy Davidson's Worms in 1995, the resulting franchise of which still remains as the company's primary development output, having developed over 20 entries in it.

Team17 Group plc
Formerly
  • Team 17 Software Limited
  • (1990–2012)
  • Team 17 Digital Limited
  • (2012–2018)
TypePublic
LSETM17
ISINGB00BYVX2X20
IndustryVideo games
Predecessors
  • 17-Bit Software
  • Team 7
Founded7 December 1990; 30 years ago (1990-12-07)
Founders
  • Michael Robinson
  • Martyn Brown
  • Debbie Bestwick
  • Andreas Tadic
  • Rico Holmes
  • Peter Tuleby
Headquarters,
England
Number of locations
2 offices (2018)
Key people
Owners
Number of employees
200 (2019)
Subsidiaries
  • Mouldy Toof Studios
  • Yippee Entertainment
Websiteteam17.com

Through a management buyout performed by Bestwick, both Robinson and Brown departed from Team17 in 2010, leaving Bestwick as the sole manager. In 2013, Team17 initiated a publishing venture focusing on indie games, which since occupies its own office in Nottingham. The first game to release of this venture was Light (2013). Following a large investment from Lloyds Development Capital in September 2016, Team17 sought corporate expansion through various actions, including the acquisition of Mouldy Toof Studios, the developer behind Team17-published The Escapists (2015), and the hiring of multiple new key staff. In May 2018, the company published their initial public offering and became a public company listed on the Alternative Investment Market, valued around GB£230 million. Team17 employs 140 people in its two offices.

HistoryEdit

Early history (1990–1995)Edit

 
Debbie Bestwick (pictured in 2018) co-founded in the company in 1990 and leads it as CEO.

In 1990, Wakefield-based entrepreneur Michael Robinson was the manager of Microbyte, a United Kingdom-wide computer retail chain, and 17-Bit Software, a video game publisher.[1] Robinson had created 17-Bit Software as part of Microbyte in 1987 specifically to seek young, independent video game developers whose games he could publish through this label and distribute through his Microbyte stores.[1][2] One of those developers was Andreas Tadic (a nineteen-year-old hobbyist programmer from Olofström, Sweden), who at the time was developing HalfBright, a shoot 'em up for Amiga systems.[1] According to Tadic, the game was "technically impressive, but shite-looking".[1] Martyn Brown, a Microbyte employee, called up Tadic to introduce him to artist Rico Holmes; Tadic and Holmes subsequently became friends and, alongside another Swedish programmer, Peter Tuleby, founded a development team known as Team 7.[1]

Team 7's first game was Miami Chase, a Miami Vice-inspired racing game that was published by Codemasters in 1990, as a budget title for Amiga systems, and received an 82% review score from British Amiga-centric magazine Amiga Power.[1] Brown had followed the game's development closely, because of which he suggested to Robinson that they should not only publish but also develop games at 17-Bit Software, using Team 7 as their internal development team and himself as project manager.[1] Robinson agreed to undergo the venture and moved Debbie Bestwick from her position as sales manager of Microbyte to commercial support for 17-Bit Software.[1] Eventually, 17-Bit Software and Team 7 agreed to formally merge into one team, amalgamating the two teams' names as "Team17".[1] Team17 was officially created on 7 December 1990.[3]

Using Microbyte's experience in game retailing, Team17 was able to easily determine game genres that would sell well, while Team 7's expertise in game development enabled Team17 to also develop games in those genres.[1] Their first game was 1991's Full Contact, a fighting game that, upon release, reached the top spot on British game sales charts.[3] Further Team17 games followed Full Contact's success; by 1993, 90% of the studio's games, including Alien Breed (1991), Project-X (1992) and Superfrog (1993), reached the top spot on sales charts, while all Team17 products combined generated half of all Amiga game sales.[1] At the 1993 Golden Joystick Awards, Team17 and Electronic Arts jointly received the "Software House of the Year" award.[1]

Starting in 1992, Future Publishing-owned Amiga Power started criticising Team17's products more harshly than other gaming magazines.[1] According to Stuart Campbell, deputy editor for the magazine at the time, Overdrive, Project-X, F17 Challenge and Superfrog were among the games that received negative reception from Amiga Power between 1992 and 1993.[1] As a response to their reviews, Team17 began implementing derogatory Easter eggs into their games, which included the cheat code "AMIGAPOWER" unlocking a critical statement regarding the magazine's review policy in Alien Breed II: The Horror Continues (1993) and the easiest-difficulty bot opponents in Arcade Pool (1994) being named after Amiga Power staff.[1] However, when the magazine awarded Team17's ATR: All Terrain Racing and Kingpin: Arcade Sports Bowling scores of 38% and 47%, respectively, in 1995, Team17 issued a lawsuit against the magazine, demanding the reviews to be retracted and the issue withdrawn from sale.[1] The lawsuit was not successful for the studio, and it instead turned to not sending review copies of their games to Amiga Power and making other Future Publishing-owned magazines not lend their review copies to Amiga Power.[1]

Worms (1994–2010)Edit

In 1994, programmer Andy Davidson created Artillery, a game in the artillery game genre, for Amiga systems.[1][2] He entered the game, under the title Wormage or Total Wormage, into a contest held by the Amiga Format magazine.[1][2] The game failed to make an impact, wherefore Davidson instead opted to take it to the 1994 European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) in London, where he presented it to people at Team17's booth, where the game was signed for development as a commercial title.[1] Bestwick stated they could not stop playing the game and as such realised that the game had potential, although that potential's dimensions were yet unknown.[1] Following the deal struck between the two parties, Team17 promptly lost Davidson's contact details and were forced to call Amiga Format to retrieve them.[1] Once they had retrieved his details, Team17 and Davidson started to jointly develop a commercial version of his game, though retitled Worms, a title that appeared more straightforward.[1]

At the time, Team17 had the strong feeling that the games market for Amiga was dying, wherefore they decided to develop Worms across as many platforms as possible.[1] However, the company had no publishing experience outside the Amiga market and needed to seek a third-party publisher; given the choice between Ocean Software and Virgin Interactive, they chose to go with Ocean Software.[1] Worms was released in 1995 for Amiga and later ported to Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, MS-DOS, PlayStation, among various other platforms.[1] Out of the 60,000 total sales estimated by Ocean Software before the game's release, the game shipped millions of copies within its first year.[1] Bestwick considered the game to have saved Team17.[1] However, following the game's success, Team17 became obsessed with replicating it: Between 1995 and 2010, the studio released a total of sixteen new Worms games.[1] With Team17 turning into a "single intellectual property company", many developers felt fatigue and "creative stagnation".[1]

Restructuring and expansion (2010–present)Edit

In August 2010, Team17 announced that they had turned away from third-party publishers in favour of releasing their games themselves via digital distribution.[4] The company hired Paul Bray and Alan Perrie to act as finance and operations director, and head of global marketing, respectively.[5] Later that year, Team17 underwent a large internal restructuring, which included the management buyout of co-founders Brown and Robinson, making Bestwick, as chief executive officer, the company's sole manager.[6] Bestwick stated that this move had "placed the company in a secure position for the future".[1] Brown announced his departure in February 2011, stating that he would join handheld game developer Double Eleven.[7]

In December 2011, Team17 acquired Iguana Entertainment, a company founded by Jason Falcus and Darren Falcus in 2009.[8] All Iguana staff, including its founders, were effectively absorbed into Team17's Wakefield offices.[9] In 2013, Bestwick and Bray sparked the idea of returning Team17 to its roots by adding an indie game publishing component to the company.[1] An incubation programme was run that tasked two studios to co-develop what would later become Beyond Eyes (2015) and Sheltered (2016).[1] Light by Brighton-based Just a Pixel became the first game to be announced and released through Team17's new venture.[10] The activity was broadened to mobile game publishing in March 2014, with Hay Ewe by Rocket Rainbow announced to have been slated for a release on iOS in the second quarter of that year.[11] To accommodate the publishing label's growth, Team17 opened a separate publishing office in Nottingham in May 2014.[12] Bestwick stated that she despised the term "publisher" and preferred "label", as "[t]he term 'publisher' represents a way of doing business that's completely at odds with the new world of digital distribution".[13] Team17 won the "Publishing Hero" award at 2015's Develop Awards.[14]

One of the label's most successful titles was The Escapists: The game, designed by Chris Davis, a former roofer and founder of Derby-based Mouldy Toof Studios, sold over a million copies within one year of release.[1] On 1 September 2016, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the private equity division of Lloyds Banking Group, announced that they had invested GB£16.5 million into the development of Team17.[15] In return, LDC was awarded a 33% stake in Team17.[16] Using the investment, Team17 acquired Mouldy Toof Studios and The Escapists franchise for an undisclosed sum.[17] In response to LDC's investment, Chris van der Kuyl of 4J Studios joined Team17 as non-executive chairman.[18][19] As means of further corporate expansion, Team17 hired multiple new management staff by January 2017, including Justin Berenbaum as head of publishing and business development for Asia and the Americas, Matt Benson as business development manager and Ste Stanley as marketing and sales coordinator.[20]

In March 2018, Team17 tasked stockbrokers from Berenberg and GCA Altium to prepare an initial public offering (IPO) valuing Team17 at £200 million.[21] The company confirmed their intents to become a public company on 8 May 2018, announcing that a 50% stake in Team17 would be sold over the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange.[22] The flotation was expected to value Team17 between £200 million and 230 million.[16] Bestwick and LDC would each sell half of their shareholdings in the process, wherein Bestwick was expected to receive £50 million in windfall profit.[16] Chris Bell, formerly chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral, was appointed chairman of Team17 to aid the IPO process.[16] At this time, the company employed 120 people in the Wakefield development studio and another 20 in the Nottingham publishing offices.[23] Team17 was expected to gain £107.5 million in gross profits based on 27,325,482 new shares and 37,849,200 existing shares.[24] The shares became available for purchase via the AIM on 23 May 2018.[24][25] Following the sale of shareholdings by Bestwick and LDC, they retained 22.2% and 16.6% stake ownerships in the company, respectively.[24]

Through the first half of 2019, Team17's revenue rose significantly; 83% of its revenue was attributed to its publishing activities, of which 80% stemmed from games Team17 had co-developed internally.[26] Notably successful were Hell Let Loose and My Time at Portia, which were the best-performing games for the company in that time frame.[26] Team17 announced that, with this funding, it would be looking into acquiring more development studios.[26] The company's headcount also increased from 154 to 182 in that period, because of which Team17 moved its headquarters to new offices within Wakefield in November 2019.[26][27] The number of staff further increased to 200 by the end of the year.[27] In September 2019, Martin Hellawell was appointed non-executive director of Team17.[28] In January 2020, Team17 acquired Manchester-based developer Yippee Entertainment for £1.4 million, a combination of £922,407 in cash and 114,000 consideration shares, worth £433,200.[29] The company bought out Golf with Your Friends, which it had published, from developers Blacklight Interactive in January 2021, planning to release further downloadable content (DLC) for it.[30]

Games developedEdit

Year Title Publisher(s) Platform(s)
1991 Full Contact Team17 Amiga
Alien Breed Team17, MicroLeague Amiga, Amiga CD32, Android, iOS, MS-DOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
1992 Project-X Team17 Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS
1993 Alien Breed II: The Horror Continues Amiga, Amiga CD32
Superfrog Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS
Body Blows Amiga, MS-DOS
1994 Arcade Pool Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS
Body Blows Galactic Amiga
Apache
Alien Breed: Tower Assault Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS
Ultimate Body Blows
1995 Kingpin: Arcade Sports Bowling
Worms Ocean Software Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari Jaguar, Classic Mac OS, Game Boy, MS-DOS, PlayStation, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Saturn, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Alien Breed 3D Amiga, Amiga CD32
1996 Alien Breed 3D II: The Killing Grounds Amiga
World Rally Fever MS-DOS
X2 PlayStation
1997 Worms: The Director's Cut Amiga
Worms 2 Team17, MicroProse Microsoft Windows
1998 Addiction Pinball MicroProse, Infogrames Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
1999 Arcade Pool II MicroProse Microsoft Windows
Phoenix Hasbro Interactive, Team17
Worms Armageddon Dreamcast, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
Worms Pinball Infogrames Microsoft Windows
2001 Worms World Party Titus Interactive, Team17 Dreamcast, Gizmondo, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
Stunt GP Eon Digital Entertainment, Titus Interactive Dreamcast. Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2
2002 Worms Blast Ubi Soft, Feral Interactive GameCube, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2
2003 Worms 3D Sega, Acclaim Entertainment, Feral Interactive
2004 Worms Forts: Under Siege Sega Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox
2005 Worms 4: Mayhem Codemasters, Majesco Entertainment
2006 Worms: Open Warfare THQ Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable
Lemmings Sony Computer Entertainment PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable
Army Men: Major Malfunction Global Star Software PlayStation 2, Xbox
2007 Worms Microsoft Game Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Team17 iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Worms: Open Warfare 2 THQ Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable
2008 Worms: A Space Oddity Wii
2009 Worms 2: Armageddon Team17 Android, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Funsta Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Alien Breed Evolution Team17 Xbox 360
2010 Worms Reloaded Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
Alien Breed: Impact Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
Alien Breed 2: Assault Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Alien Breed 3: Descent
Worms: Battle Islands Team17, THQ PlayStation Portable, Wii
2011 Worms Ultimate Mayhem Team17 Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Worms Crazy Golf iOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
2012 Worms Revolution Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2013 Superfrog HD Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
Worms Clan Wars Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
Worms 3 Android, iOS, macOS
2014 Worms Battlegrounds PlayStation 4, Xbox One
(R)evolve iOS
Flockers Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2015 Worms World Party Remastered Microsoft Windows
Worms 4 Android, iOS
The Escapists: The Walking Dead Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
2016 10 Minute Tower Sega Microsoft Windows
Worms W.M.D Team17 Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2017 The Escapists 2
2018 Overcooked 2 Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
2020 The Survivalists Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Apple Arcade (iOS, macOS, tvOS, iPadOS)
Worms Rumble Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Games publishedEdit

Year Title Developer(s) Platform(s)
1992 Assassin Psionic Systems Amiga
1993 F17 Challenge Holodream Software
Qwak Jamie Woodhouse
Overdrive Psionic Systems Amiga, MS-DOS
Silverball Digital Extremes, Epic MegaGames MS-DOS
1994 Super Stardust Bloodhouse Amiga, Amiga CD32
1995 ATR: All Terrain Racing Jamie Woodhouse
1996 The Speris Legacy Binary Emotions
1997 Profits Warning Bubball Systems MS-DOS
1998 Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy Trecision Amiga, Microsoft Windows
2013 Light Just a Pixel Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
2014 Hay Ewe Rocket Rainbow iOS
Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark Italic Pig Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2015 The Escapists Mouldy Toof Studios Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
LA Cops Modern Dream Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Beyond Eyes Tiger & Squid
Overruled! Dlala Studios
Penarium Self Made Miracle
2016 Sheltered Unicube
Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition Roll7 Xbox One
OlliOlli2: XL Edition
Overcooked Ghost Town Games Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
Lethal VR Three Fields Entertainment Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4
2017 Yooka-Laylee Playtonic Games Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Aven Colony Mothership Entertainment Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition Team Jolly Roger Microsoft Windows
2018 Raging Justice MakinGames macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Yoku's Island Express Villa Gorilla Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Mugsters Reinkout Games macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Sword Legacy: Omen Firecast Studio, Fableware Narrative Design Microsoft Windows
Forged Battalion Petroglyph Games Microsoft Windows
Planet Alpha Planet Alpha ApS Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2019 Genesis Alpha One Radiation Blue Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
My Time at Portia Pathea Games Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Hell Let Loose Black Matter Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
Automachef Hermes Interactive Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Playtonic Games Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Blasphemous The Game Kitchen Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2020 Moving Out SMG Studio, DEVM Games Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Golf with Your Friends Blacklight Interactive macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Ageless One More Dream Studios Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
Neon Abyss Veewo Games Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Crown Trick NExT Studios Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
Going Under Aggro Crab Games Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Monster Sanctuary Moi Rai Games Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2021 Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos Heliocentric Studios Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
Narita Boy Studio Koba Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Super Magbot Astral Pixel Microsoft Windows
King of Seas 3DClouds Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The Unliving RocketBrush Studio Microsoft Windows
Greak: Memories of Azur Navegante Entertainment Microsoft Windows
TBA Way to the Woods Studio Happy Bee Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
Ready Or Not VOID Interactive Microsoft Windows

Cancelled gamesEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit