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Trivia / Earthworm Jim

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The video games:

  • B-Team Sequel: Earthworm Jim 3D was developed by a still-new studio VIS Entertainment rather than by the original team.
  • Creator Backlash: The third game was despised by the original creators including Doug TenNapel.
    • Going back further, Shiny employee Nick Bruty believes the second game is "shit". However, he is a very harsh self-critic, and in his defense he feels he didn't give all the effort he could into developing it (as, unlike the rest of the team, he did not get a break between the first and second games—he was in charge of the special Sega CD edition of EWJ1—and felt burned out.)
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  • Disowned Adaptation: Doug TenNapel is not too amused with the new features in Earthworm Jim HD, nor was he happy with the fact that Big Bruty (from the Sega CD/Mega CD and Windows 95 versions of the game) was missing.
  • Executive Meddling: Up until the middle of development, 3D was intended to be PC-exclusive. Interplay intervened and requested it also be ported to the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation (the latter of which didn't release), but didn't hire a seperate team for the task, forcing a heavy workload on a still new development studio that had only made one game prior.
  • Franchise Killer: The Troubled Production of Earthworn Jim 3D, coupled with it being both a critical and commercial failure, put the franchise in limbo for nearly two decades. Many past attempts at rebooting, with the exception of HD, have also fallen into Development Hell which has further cemented this.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • Menace 2 the Galaxy Has yet to see a rerelease anywhere outside of its original system.
    • Both versions of Earthworm Jim: Special Edition are also really hard to track down, not having been rereleased anywhere, and no future versions being based on it, not even the versions on Steam and GOG.
    • Earthworm Jim HD was delisted from all consoles in February 2018, so unless you previously downloaded it, you're out of luck.
  • No Export for You: The PlayStation port of the second game was exclusive to Europe.
  • The Other Darrin: Jim is voiced by series creator Doug TenNapel in the first two games, and by Dan Castellaneta in all other media including the TV series and in 3D.
  • Port Overdosed: The original game. Not only was it ported to every contemporary system, including handhelds, but it has been almost continually re-released since then.
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  • Posthumous Credit: The second game credits was dedicated to Mike Pilotti, who was killed in an avalanche.
  • Troubled Production: According to Matt McMuscles, who spoke with a developer on Earthworm Jim 3D as part of his What Happened? series, the game originally had a different vision with a more open world layout and was supposed to be a PC exclusive. However late into development the decision was made to change the game to be more similar to popular platformers of the time like Banjo-Kazooie and Playstation and Nintendo 64 versions were mandated. VIS Interactive was a new studio filled with mostly inexperienced developers who'd never even worked on either hardware, and they found that the limitations of the PS 1 meant that most of the open-world levels had to be scaled back. There was also massive crunch leading up to the release of the game, and despite this it would be met with a very lackluster reception.
  • Vaporware: Has happened multiple times with attempted reboots. See What Could Have Been below. Much earlier on, the PS1 port of 3D suffered this fate.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The first game was originally about a character named SNOT, but when Doug TenNapel was hired on he showed his earthworm character and that stuck. The idea for a snot based character was put in the sequel.
    • Many plans for a comeback and a fourth installment were made with little to no success, One of them was a PS2 and XBox game in 2003 with gameplay similar to Klonoa but this was also scrapped.
      • Plans for a TV show comeback and a feature film were announced with the fourth game but nothing came from this either.
    • A PSP game was planned, and apparently almost done, but due to financial difficulties, it was cancelled.
    • Sega also considered the possibility of putting a port of the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version of the original on Xbox Live Arcade, and made a poll with some other games to see people's opinions on whether it or other games should be on there. They abandoned the thought and replaced it with another game when they found out that Gameloft was already working on an HD remake for the same service.
    • Both Doug TenNapel and David Perry initially served as minor consultants for Earthworm Jim 3D, but were dropped for unknown reasons. One can only wonder how it would have turned out had they stayed.

The animated series:

  • Actor Allusion: Minor superhero Johnny Dactyl appears in a cloud of blue smoke and attempts a dramatic speech to terrify the villains. Sounds like something Jim Cummings has done before.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Peter is voiced by a woman in the Russian dub.
  • International Coproduction: Between the US (Universal) and the UK (Flextech, who ran The Children's Channel, the first European kids' cable channel and one of the earliest worldwide, only being beaten by Pinweel/Nickelodeon) by seven years ('77 to '84).
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • There were actual official release VHS tapes back in the mid-1990s (with select episodes), but with DVD becoming more popular than VHS, this petered out real quick.
    • The American DVD release – which didn't even include the extras from the VHS tapes – was put out by a company known for supply issues.
  • Production Posse: Doug Langdale began his association with Jeff Bennett here; on a producing scale, Universal and Playmates had previously collaborated on Exo-Squad, and Playmates also made toylines for many other Universal properties during the era.
  • Recursive Adaptation: The Game Boy Color game Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy is based on the cartoon. Earthworm Jim 3D also has milder links.
  • Screwed by the Network: It suffered the same timeslot demotion as Freakazoid!! It was in a more precarious position though, as WB didn't make it, Universal did (their animation studio was also known for making Exo Squad).
  • Talking to Herself: In the episode "The Exile of Lucy", Queen Slug-for-a-Butt is deposed and sent to Earth, where she meets and befriends Mrs. Bleveredge, with whom she shares a voice actress.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Playmates Toys' tie-in action figure line went out of production before Professor Monkey-For-A-Head (among other characters) got released, much to the dismay of children and nerds everywhere.
    • As proof from this promo with footage from the unaired pilot the show was somewhat different. Most notably, Major Mucus makes a brief appearance when he was Adapted Out in the actual cartoon.


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