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Schafer Admits Fantasy Of Flatulence On Youth

February 11, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

Sometimes I'll be playing some long, deep, giant mainstream game, and then I'll have a download game on the side. My main gameplay session of the night will be a whole bunch of the big game, but I'll be fatigued. But I'm not quite ready to turn off the 360 yet, so then maybe I'll dive into some download game for awhile. Do you guys ever think about that?

LP: Yeah, all the time.

TS: Yeah, because I've had Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood at my house for a long time and I know it's good, everyone says it's good, I can't wait to play it.

Yet when I get home, put the baby to sleep, talk to my wife for awhile and then she goes to bed, I get like an hour and I'm like, "I know there's going to be at least an hour of tutorial in that game. Okay, I'll play something else instead." You know what I mean? And it's like I'd rather play Pac-Man or get through [Costume Quest DLC] Grubbins

LP: I think there's this variety, too, just in terms of… No, I don't want everything to be a big, almost stressful experience -- sometimes, it is, to take on those big games! I mean, I really enjoyed some of those games, but I like watching sitcoms as well as movies. I sort of see them as just a different "I'm in the mood for something small."

There's a lot going on, there's a lot of things you want to try, and it kind of weighs down if you have too many big games going concurrently. It's almost stressful, in a weird way, and there's so many things -- like so many great iPhone games and downloadable games that are grabbing my attention, too.

I really like pick up and put down experiences. And I don't think that means they need to be shallow, I just think they need to be structured in such a way that you feel like you can come back, and still have fun, and still build towards goals.

I'm not surprised that Stacking is an artist-led project. It's so creative in the visual sphere. One thing that your Amnesia Fortnight did is give you a chance to put people in different disciplines in charge of projects, right?

TS: Yeah, you can definitely see the mark of Lee or Tasha [Harris, lead for Costume Quest] on their games, and I think that's one of the cool things. Because if you're going to make this argument about games as art, then I think they have to be an expression of the people who make them. Not just the person in charge, but the whole team, and the company who made them.

I think with games, you should always look at them and be like, "There's no one else who could have made that game, except for the person who made it." As opposed to a lot of games where they could've been farmed out to any work-for-hire developer. Which is fine -- but you know, the thing our company is going to do is to try and make games that are more expressive.

Last time we talked, it was right before Costume Quest was going to come out and now it's out. You probably can't talk specifics, but are you satisfied with performance?

LP: Yeah, it came out and it won a few awards already, and we've got DLC coming out for it. And one of our goals is try and make it extend beyond Halloween by having this DLC that's not Halloween-specific. And cross our fingers, maybe we'll continue on... I'm always torn, because it would be fun to keep going with DLC and have like Valentine's Quest and Easter Quest. Well, maybe not Easter Quest.

But then there's also like, "What else could that team come up with? Something fun, that's new?" too, so that's always kind of the question. The great thing about games that are this inexpensive is that they don't have to sell a ton to make money, or to break even.

Well, that's been a big question. You were stung by that. It's not just you -- it's this generation's big problem.

TS: Brütal Legend sold like 1.4 million, last time I asked, and I was like, "That's more than any game I'd ever made, up to that point." And I should be going like, "Woo!" but instead it's like, "Well, it didn't sell 5", and that's the problem with those big games.

That's what Peter Molyneux said at GDC last year. "Fable sold 3 million in the past but we really need to take it to 5."

TS: I can't even put 5 million people in my head. I'm trying to imagine them all standing there.

It's just the problem with the cost of production this generation. I'm curious if you're finding out whether you can sustain a company.

TS: I mean, in some way the money's the same. The budgets for the four projects, it's like we divide the budget into fourths. And so, it's totally sustainable in terms of the amount of money it brings in; it's just more complicated.

We hired a new VP of production; we need some more infrastructure, another producer to manage all that stuff. And so it's more complicated, but in terms of how much money it brings in, it's the same amount of money, with more stability because you know, like I said before, one of the engines can go out and the plane's still flying.

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Leonardo Ferreira
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Its great t know there are people in the industry that think that attracting new audiences to games is a matter of appealing, singular content, and not disguising the game elements of a game. Game like Stacking and Costume Quest are interesting because of their original aesthetics, fun mechanics, and intelligent sense of humor that appeals to everyone. Instead of plunging gaming into a niche for the "durr durr zombies tits nazis awesome" crowd, or the shallow and sometimes insidious tatics of most casual games, these games attract new people because their level of entry is not threatening, nor abandon their gamey quirks; they are interesting in the same way a movie, or a book, or a play are, by making their human element relevant.

Also, Psychonauts IS one of the best games of all time.

Sherban Gaciu
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The downloadable space seems like the perfect fit for Double Fine -- a niche that embraces stylish, quirky, and short experiences. Since risk is much lower, I hope other developers (beyond thatgamecompany who are also delivering fabulous downloadable titles) can follow their lead.

Laurie Cheers
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I just wish Double Fine would start putting their stuff on Steam. It seems like the perfect audience for them. I want to play these games!

Rikard Peterson
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Steam or not, I want to see it on Mac (or Windows will do).

Haavard Skjaervik
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I couldn't agree more Laurie! If would be perfect for Steam (and I would become poor from buying all their great games xD)

Eric Schwarz
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It really is a shame, but apparently THQ are the ones who decide where Double Fine release their games. Since Double Fine have primarily been a console developer, I guess THQ feel that the name recognition and audience reside mostly on consoles, despite Tim's largely PC-centric following.

Michiel Hendriks
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I don't care about Steam.

But I would welcome PC releases, and I'm very willing to put done an extra $5 for a physical copy.

Diego Leao
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This vision that Tim Schafer expressed for games is world changing. And I think that not only downloadable titles should benefit from it: we need more of these unique, expressive games at the AAA market!

Not all game visions can be trimmed down to the scope we see in downloadable titles so, to do that, we need to reduce production cost and time.

Comparing games to movies, our biggest problem today is that we can only have "Avatars" and "Transformers" kind of success in AAA games. Every game that is not a blockbuster ends up considered a failure. To make things worse, in the games industry even a "Transformers" project can fail miserably.

There is no place for medium sized games (medium being a lucrative project, but not a blockbuster). Right now, the only place you can get that is in the downloadable market, but my point is that even highly polished games should be selling more, and the reason they don't is the price point of $60,00 needed to support the enormous production time of it.

If we don't learn to streamline the production of those AAA games (3 to 4 years to release a single game???) we are down the road to bankruptcy and creative death.

The creative minds switching to downloadable projects, and the AAA market dying little by little until we only have COD, Halo and GOW to play. How many games die nowadays because so much publisher money is being spent on AAAA (extra "A" intend) games?

One of the ways we can achieve price reduction is by making games a 2 hour experience, for example. Like a movie. You pay $10,00 and play the game as a disposable piece of entertainment. If you like multiplayer experiences, you can have it for extra money.

This is not the only way, but it is much better to have 3 new medium, creative games than one flashy but ridiculously expensive and mediocre title.

Richard Cody
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These guys are grown-ups. No wonder they nail their (family) demographics so well. The whole "Pick up, put down" mentality is huge. As much as I like GoldenEye and NBA Jam Wii I often will just pick up my iTouch because I can game quicker.