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Gilbert Rejoins Schafer At Double Fine For New Title

Gilbert Rejoins Schafer At Double Fine For New Title

September 27, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

September 27, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Though it's been nearly two decades since they last collaborated, fellow Monkey Island humor pioneers Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer will be teaming up again at Schafer's studio, Double Fine.

The pair broke the news to consumer weblog Kotaku, where they said neither Gilbert's official title -- or even salary -- have yet been determined, but that Gilbert's project, like upcoming Costume Quest, will fall among the series of four smaller downloadable titles announced by Schafer in July.

According to Schafer and Gilbert, who built a reputation as a comic pair together at LucasArts in their work on fan-favorite PC Adventure The Secret of Monkey Island its sequel, and on Day of the Tentacle, Gilbert joined Double Fine as an extension on an existing friendship and working relationship: Gilbert says he regularly borrowed a little bit of desk space at Double Fine because it was easier for him to concentrate at the studio than at home.

"For the last couple of months Tim has been loaning me his desk here, as he has in the past," Gilbert told Kotaku. "We have just been talking about different ideas I've had for games, kinda going back and forth like we do, and then Tim suggested, 'Hey why don't you come here and build this thing.'...It kind of sounded like a good idea."

The studio's current situation, wherein it's working on several smaller projects as opposed to one on the scale of its most recent major release, Brutal Legend, makes the timing ideal for Gilbert's concept, according to Schafer. As for Gilbert, he wrapped work on DeathSpank with Hothead Games earlier this year, leaving the studio after the creative elements of its development were finished, but before the game launched.

Gilbert didn't discuss the specifics of his newest idea with Kotaku, but called it "an idea that I've been batting around for many, many years." Said Gilbert: "I've been talking to Tim over the last couple of months about it and it sort of percolated back up. It's very different than DeathSpank, it's a bit of a departure from that. It's going in a very interesting direction."

The natural question that arises from a Gilbert-Schafer reunion is whether the pair will develop another adventure game after the beloved old tradition. Neither would confirm, but Gilbert did say that "fans of those old adventure games will like it," and suggested that an increasingly diverse multiplatform game environment means such titles "really could come back."

Still, the pair said that the elements of humor, story, characters and distinctive style are part of all the work they do. Gilbert was the original coder of the iconic SCUMM engine on which LucasArts' adventures were built, starting with Maniac Mansion, which he also designed.

"I don't think I could ever leave that behind," he said of the genre he played a major role in birthing.

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