Team17 cancels Worms NFT project after developer backlash

Following major outcry from developers, Team17 has withdrawn its support for NFTs.
nft worms team17

Team17 has cancelled its Worms NFT project just a day after announcing it, following major backlash from indie developers who took a stance against the company.

‘Team17 is today announcing an end to the MetaWorms NFT project,’ the publisher said in a press release. ‘We have listened to our teamsters, development partners, and our games’ communities, and the concerns they’ve expressed, and have therefore taken the decision to step back from the NFT space.’

In the wake of the initial announcement, several developers made public statements decrying Team17 and their decision to go ahead with the creation of NFTs, seemingly without the support of the Worms team.

Going Under developer Aggro Crab Games took a hard stance against the publisher, stating it would ‘not be working with them on further titles’. It also encouraged other indies to do the same, unless the NFT project was cancelled.

Australia’s SMG Studio stated definitively that games are meant to be fun, and that it did ‘not want anything to do with NFTs’ going forward.

‘We want to focus on making fun games,’ SMG said. ‘Remember when people played games to have fun and just escape the grind of real life? SMG farms does. We don’t want an * hanging above our name with being associated with NFTs or any of the crypto/blockchain gaming mess.’

It cited environmental impact and a ‘slippery slope’ of game design as core reasons for not wanting to adopt the technology.

Similar sentiment was shared by New Zealand’s Balancing Monkey Games, a developer actively working to reduce its environmental impact. ‘We have an awesome relationship with our contacts at Team17 and we’ll be talking to them privately in the coming days,’ it said on Twitter. ‘Let us be clear, though – we really don’t like NFTs.’

Overcooked developer Ghost Town Games also spoke out, stating it would never engage with NFTs, despite its strong working relationship with Team17.

Even Playtonic, creators of Yooka-Laylee joined the conversation, making clear they did not endorse NFTs.

As a recent GDC State of the Games Industry report revealed, the majority of developers do not want anything to do with NFTs – which is why Team17’s initial decision was so surprising. As one of the most prominent indie publishers around, it’s garnered a reputation as a reliable, trustworthy company.

Minting NFTs shook the faith of fans and developers – and while the Worms NFTs have now been cancelled, that management believed it was a sound decision in the first place is concerning. While many companies have begun seeing NFTs as a chance to generate profit in a time of financial hardship, many more see the technology for what it is: a fad, and a grift.

Going forward, there’s hope that Team17 will set an example for other developers looking to make a quick buck in the space.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.