Indies, eh? They’re not just developers these days. Since 2014, Double Fine have published a wildly diverse range of indies under the Double Fine Presents label. Their latest, charming Cornish adventure Knights And Bikes definitely has that recognisably Double Fine quirkiness, but they’ve also pushed some properly weird little curiosities like Kids and Mountain.
But Double Fine are with the big dogs now. The next thing Double Fine Presents present could well be their own winding down.
Double Fine big boss Tim Schafer told Destructoid that Double Fine Presents might not be long for this world. With the studio’s new home under Microsoft, it doesn’t quite make sense to be doing their own publishing under another publisher.
“How Double Fine Presents will evolve is kind of an unknown,” Schafer said. “It doesn’t make sense to do exactly the kind of publishing stuff if we can’t do it– like if the platforms are limited. From a business sense, I don’t know if it structurally makes sense to have a publisher within [another publisher]. It’s a complicated issue.”
Running a publishing business under the glare of the tech giant could bring a whole host of new concerns. If Double Fine’s own games are soon to be Microsoft exclusive, would that lock Presents-published projects to Xbox and the Windows Store?
So stacking publishers is definitely quite daft, yes. But Double Fine Presents wasn’t just about making some cash on the side publishing quirky indies. There were some properly strange and tiny things pushed under the label, games that may struggle to find a home elsewhere. Schafer hopes to continue the spirit of the publishing effort by building on things like Day of the Devs.
It might not be the same as getting them on store shelves, but Double Fine and Iam8bit’s annual San Francisco indie showcase puts 70-80 relatively-unknown titles in front of public eyes.
“It’s a great way to approach that same mission, and we can still do that without officially putting our name on it and taking a share of the revenue. We don’t have to do that anymore.”
Nothing’s certain right now, and there’s every chance Double Fine could find a new spin for the quirkier side of its business. Fingers crossed.