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Double Fine is just fine with self publishing, says Tim Schafer
Double Fine is just fine with self publishing, says Tim Schafer
February 26, 2014 | By Christian Nutt




"We made more money off of Psychonauts in the last two years than we ever did before -- mostly because we didn't have the publishing rights."
- Tim Schafer on Double Fine's cult classic debut game in a new Kotaku interview.

When Double Fine took the chance to break itself into a group of smaller teams and make multiple games, and when it took the risk to Kickstart Broken Age, its future became assured.

That's according to Tim Schafer in a new interview on Kotaku.

Beyond the money from 2005 cult classic Psychonauts that's now flowing into the San Francisco developer's coffers, it's also now receiving the proceeds of sales of Brutal Legend, the story reports.

"The scale of those sales makes the most sense for a company of our size. It might not be a blip on the radar for a company like Microsoft or EA or a huge company like that, but, for us, it allows us to make a thriving business off of creative ideas and inspiration-driven development," Schafer tells Kotaku.

In the interview, he reveals he's made attempts to gain the rights the rights to Grim Fandango from current owner Disney, though as yet has been unsuccessful.


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Comments


Jonathan Murphy
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This is the future for most modern devs. At least till the market settles back into sane budget and dev cycles. Broken Age is awesome. Keep up the great work guys.

John Paduch
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I don't know, this seems like it could be either great for them or a catastrophic failure, primarily due to scope creep and overspending in the budget. Their latest game is a perfect example: they make 9x more money than they asked for, the budget balloons out of control, and they have to sell the first half on Steam Early Access in order to fund finishing the second half.

Say what you will about big publishers, at least they can reign-in something like that. I don't think Schafer has come anywhere near proving that he can be trusted with all the power.

Adam Bishop
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Broken Age has released Act 1 and Schafer has said they've got enough money to finish Act 2. If they had to take a bit of an unusual path to get there, that's fine with me. That's one of the great things about being an indie developer, you get to try out different paths if the one you start on doesn't work. It sounds like Broken Age will be profitable for them and as a gamer I've had fun playing it (and watching the great documentaries about its development). Would any of this have been possible with a publisher? Probably not. So I'd say it's working out.

John Paduch
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Whether you like the game or not, as well as "would a publisher have paid for this" are irrelevant points. Yes, Broken Age is good (if that type of game is your thing), but it doesn't change the fact that they did NOT have the money to finish before releasing on Steam Early Access. They needed more money, and despite how much hype the game had, it was still a gamble. Further, they were only quietly called out on it in the VG media, I'm assuming due to the love of Schafer & Co.

You also didn't address the greater point: Schafer and Co. have a reputation for scope creep and over-designing their games to the point of needing a publisher to reign them in. If they did the same thing on their first big independent venture, there is no reason whatsoever to think that they'll change their ways going forward.

jaime kuroiwa
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Regarding the Grim Fandango recovery mission; I wonder if Disney is not talking with Mr. Schafer since they have Pixar working on a Day of the Dead movie. They could easily borrow *cough* ideas and concepts from GF to adapt for their movie, and just refurbish GF for a re-release.

I guess my suspicions would be confirmed if the movie after that was about a post-apocalyptic biker gang.


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