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If you follow video games and aren't familiar with the name "Brad Muir," there's a good chance you will be familiar soon.
He's a game designer at Double Fine, the studio headed up by the larger-than-life Tim Schafer. But Muir (pronounced "moo-ear"), with his utterly infectious enthusiasm and trademark-pending open-mouthed smile, has a big personality that stands out on its own.
Muir is leading development of Massive Chalice, which Double Fine describes as "A tactical strategy PC game on an epic fantasy timeline" influenced by genre staples such as XCOM, Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem. A fan of the strategy genre, he already has proven his design chops with his excellent Double Fine digital release, Iron Brigade (formerly known as "Trenched").
Massive Chalice is the second Kickstarter from Double Fine -- the first one being for Schafer's own Broken Age, the game that unquestionably blew the door open for video game crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Following that act is no small feat. Nevertheless, Muir's project handily passed its $725,000 goal and will officially wrap up today, comfortably exceeding the $1.1 million mark.
How has the Kickstarter been treating you mentally and emotionally?
It was like a rollercoaster. Leading up to it, I was super stressed out about it. I had a lot of reservations about it. When I pitched Tim [Schafer, Double Fine president] the idea of the game, it was going to be my Amnesia Fortnight game this year. We'd prototype it, hopefully, if people vote for it. We'd been pitching Brazen for a whole year, it looked like it wasn't going to happen.
Brad Muir - clearly an emotional wreck.
So we started talking about what we were going to do next, so I pitched him an idea for Massive Chalice. Tim was like, "Yeah, sure, that sounds pretty cool." But then later said, "Actually, that sounds really cool. I've thought about it more!" Then he said we should just Kickstart it.
I'm like, "...What? You want what?! No! We can't do that." He asked me, "Why not? We have multiple teams, we'll be open about development, be very transparent, we'll tell people I'm not working on it because I'm working on Broken Age. It'll be totally fine," he said. "It's a new IP and everyone will be excited about that."
I was still thinking, "Are you sure this is going to work?"