As one of the last hoorah’s of Humble’s End of Summer Sale, the store is currently offering Tim Schafer’s classic mind-entering platform game Psychonauts absolutely free. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Ideas generation
“I started feeling a little bogged down by the scope of [Brutal Legend],” says Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine. “It was really huge and I felt like the team had been doing it for a long time and had a long way to go yet. I felt like they needed a break.”
That break was Amnesia Fortnight, a two week game jam during which anyone at the developer can pitch an idea and, if it’s selected, lead a team to turn it from concept to working prototype. Now in its tenth year, I spoke to Schafer about the jam’s benefits, pitfalls and how it’s changed over the years. Read the rest of this entry »
We already knew Wasteland 3 [official site] was coming out and that it was set in the frozen hinterlands of Colorado, because we have an incredible repository of knowledge and wisdom. But we didn’t know exactly what would be waiting for us there. A short trailer accompanied the game’s crowdfunding launch on Fig today and it reveals what we should have guessed all along. The only thing waiting for us in the frozen north is death by a cannibal’s axe. But there are some other details. Come see.
Many backers who funded Psychonauts 2 on the crowdfunding site Fig are now considered ‘investors’, says a US regulatory body, paving the way for them to get a return in real money if the game sells well. Fig is a video games-focused fundraising site partly founded by a bunch of veteran developers including Brian Fargo and Tim Schafer. It lets you throw some quids into a project as a punter – just like Kickstarter – but also lets people invest in it. As well as welcoming serious accredited investors, it hoped to let any old mug invest by giving $1,000 or more at an ‘investor’ level – but the US Securities and Exchange Commission needed to have the final say on letting anyone have a crack. Now they have, and they’ve approved the whole thing. What does this mean? Can you invest in the next big project? More importantly: should you?
Psychonauts 2 was launched into crowdfunding on December 4th then hit its target on January 6th, and the campaign has now come to an end. The crowdfunding was run through FIG, a service Double Fine head Tim Schafer advises on, and received $3,829,024 against an initial goal of $3.3 million.
Remember back in 2012 when Notch was like, “I could fund a Psychonauts 2!” and Double Fine were all, “Cool! $18m please!” and Notch was all, “Shiiiit, I was thinking more 25p, and – wow, look, an octopus on a tricycle!”? Well, that’s all history now.
Double Fine are looking to make Psychonauts 2. They’re after $3.3m from backers, alongside their own investment, plus external funding from a mysterious, possibly legal party. More Psychonauts! There’s a trailer too, of sorts.
RPS Feature Adolescent
Over a year since the first act was belatedly released, Double Fine’s seminal Kickstarter project Broken Age is now complete. Act 1 was bursting with potential, if a somewhat flawed PC adventure. Obviously this review is of the second half of a game, so will contain some light spoilers for the core plot (but avoids most). Can it live up to the potential it suggested in its first half? Here’s wot I think:
Depending on who you ask, the first Double Fine Kickstarter was for an underwhelming adventure game which snaffled up far more money than it needed, or it was for a fascinating warts and all insight into the making of a high profile videogame which at the very least tried to reach for the stars. I’m not sure either stance is particularly accurate – i.e. given the aesthetic quality of the game it’s not at all hard to see how the money got legitimately spent, but equally Broken Age wasn’t the grand point’n’click comeback we’d hoped for – but there’s no question that the extensive and human Making Of documentary series also provided to backers sweetened the deal enormously.
And now the rest of us get to watch it too, for no-pennies.
Read the rest of this entry »
Last week Double Fine announced that Spacebase DF-9 development was coming to an end. The issue was that hundreds of features that had previously been listed as “maybe possibly” coming to the game were no longer to going to be delivered, replaced instead with the release of the game’s LUA codebase so the community could add content themselves.
People are understandably peeved. Tim Schafer has now commented on the game’s Steam discussion forum in response to some of the common questions about what happened.
What are your personal memories of Day of the Tentacle? Mine is that for years before playing it, I thought it was called “Dave the Tentacle” because I’d only ever heard it mentioned in conversation with Scottish accents. Tim Schafer’s memories of the game are considerably more interesting. Not only does he know the name of the LucasArts adventure game, but over the course of this forty-minute video he talks about the inspirations behind the characters, the process of brainstorming the story, production details of particularly fine animations… It’s almost as if he worked on it.
RPS Feature Talk To The Hair
And now for something completely different. Or, well, actually kinda similar to other stuff you might have seen before, but in video form and on RPS. A Game And A Chat (tentative title, probably) is a weekly live show in which I play a game with a developer and, you know, chat with them. At the same time. I am nothing if not multi-talented. Sometimes the game will be all shiny and new, other times it’ll be aged, haggard, and only tangentially relevant. Who knows? Maybe one day it’ll be a boardgame. Or tag. Or cage-fighting. This first episode, however, is fairly straightforward. Given that Broken Age is about to land in the click-hungry hands of the masses, I thought I’d bring Tim Schafer into the studio. By which I mean my bedroom. Via, er, a webcam. But not like that. Oh jeez just click past the break and watch us discuss Serious Topics while being accused of murder by trees or something. We’re kicking off at 11:00 AM PT/7:00 PM GMT*.
Update: We’re done! The full video is posted below.
RPS Feature Kickstarted into life
Alec mentioned Dyscourse a couple of weeks back, rather rightly pointing out how good it looks. I’d have thought it would be a sure thing to see its Kickstarter funds ding the modest $40,000 they’re after in moments, and far beyond. Yet it’s only reached just over $13k at this point. Weird. Maybe the news that the likes of Tim Schafer, Ed McMillen and Robin Hunicke are contributing personalities to the project?
It’s not actually called Host Harder, but it should have been, right? All I’m saying is Double Fine, if you want to pay me thousands of dollars to spend my days writing lazy comedic subtitles based on the names of 80s action movies, you know where I am. Call me. Any time. Any time at all. Wait, I had to step out for a minute – you didn’t call while I was away, did you? Call again now. I’m right here. Right by the phone. Waiting.
And while I wait, I shall be playing Host Master Deux: Quest For Identity (see what I mean? For God’s sakes, Double Fine), the sequel to the 2009 adventure game-ette about Schafer preparing to host the GDC Award Ceremony.
Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Once Upon The Metal
An action-RTS inspired by classic heavy metal album covers. Starring Jack Black. And a mad menagerie of metal icons. And a 100-strong soundtrack that pridefully pounded eardrums with everything from Judas Priest to Motorhead to (ew) DragonForce.
Let’s reflect, for a moment, on how absurdly specific Brutal Legend‘s chunky thematic stew actually was. And then let’s remember that EA, of all publishers, was manning the unlikely super group’s synth – which, in this particular case, was wired exclusively to make “ka-ching” sounds at Double Fine’s behest. Oh, and that was only after Activision flushed Schafer’s metal dream into the nightmarish bowels of development hell, nearly dooming it in the process. By most standards, Brutal Legend simply shouldn’t have happened. Nowadays – a mere three years later – a similar meeting of minds isn’t even conceivable. But Double Fine’s last truly all-or-nothing shout at the triple-A devil was unique for a number of reasons. It was a product of oddball inspiration, once-in-a-lifetime timing, and quite a bit of luck. Also guitars. OK, mostly guitars.
RPS Feature Can't Kill The Metal
Brutal Legend is coming to PC! With shiny, PC-only bells and whistles, no less. Be still, my barbed-wire-wrapped, blood-and-oil-coughing heart. Its arrival comes at a bit of an odd time, though, given that it’s been more than three years since Tim Schafer’s metal epic knee-slid into living rooms, spraying fireworks and Judas Priest references every which way. But perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. After all, the Double Fine of today and the Double Fine of yester-three-years-ago are very different companies. Back then, EA called the shots, and that ultimately resulted in a canceled Brutal Legend sequel. But now Schafer and co make their own destiny, and as it turns out, that could well involve more guitar axes, tree-necked headbangers, and Jack Blacks. But how many, exactly? That depends on a number of factors.
RPS Feature The Kickstarter Starter
Yesterday you’ll likely have noticed that Tim Schafer and Double Fine launched a new approach to a Humble Bundle, encouraging people to pay what they want for the chance to vote on what four prototypes the team would develop during their next Amnesia Fortnight. We then brought you his thoughts on why they were doing this, and what impact such things have on the studio. In the second part of our chat, we discuss how Schafer’s time is split between the Double Fine Adventure and running such a busy studio, the effect his project had on the Kickstarter phenomenon, why he thinks you make more money without DRM, and Schafer’s belief in what he calls the “good faith” of gamers.
RPS Feature Unprototypical
As we just mentioned, Double Fine have launched a unique Humble Bundle to let people vote from 23 game pitches to decide four that will go on to be made into prototypes. I spoke to Tim Schafer earlier this evening to ask how this came about, and how such a thing will influence the company. In this first half of the interview we talk about the Bundle, what makes a Double Fine game, and why they’re so keen to show these early stages of game development.
Double Fine’s Amnesia Fortnight has become a fairly well known event by the developer. For two weeks every year, everyone at the company stops what they’re working on, and get together in small teams to create prototypes for new game ideas. And since 2009, all the games the studio have released have been born from these creative weeks. The likes of Costume Quest and Stacking came out of this elaborate brainstorm. This year they’re doing it differently. “We’re letting the world in on it,” explained studio head Tim Schafer to me this evening, in an interview to appear later tonight. Via Humble Bundle, we get to vote on the 23 pitches to pick the four that will be created as prototypes. And then the whole process of developing will be live-streamed, with the finished projects available to everyone who paid.
RPS Feature Fawning nostalgia
In the second part of our interview with Double Fine‘s Tim Schafer (the first part is here), we get to talking about the nature of the adventure game, and reflect on some of Schafer’s defining classics from the 90s, Day Of The Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, to consider what lessons they offer for today, the reasons for avoiding 3D altogether, and I almost trick him into making a sequel to Day Of The Tentacle.