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Tim Schafer's advice on managing teams and more from the  Psychonauts 2  AmA

Tim Schafer's advice on managing teams and more from the Psychonauts 2 AmA

January 11, 2016 | By Christian Nutt




"Letting the team make its own creative decisions builds their capacity to do even bigger stuff in the future, so I think giving them freedom makes for a more skilled team which makes for a better product and means more money, hopefully."

- Double Fine's Tim Schafer

Today, Double Fine head Tim Schafer participated in a Reddit "ask me anything" session regarding Psychonauts 2, which recently crossed its $3.3 million funding threshold on crowdfunding and crowd-investing platform Fig.

Here are a few things we took away from the Q&A.

Managing teams is hard but rewarding. The quote above comes from a larger answer he gave about his management style, which is reproduced here: 

Well, I think my management style, for better or worse, is to hire people smarter than me, and then get out of their way. Whenever they are doing something I wouldn't do, before I butt in I ask myself, "Do I really need to control this?" Because even if their way is different, it's probably six-of-one-half-dozen-of the-other and not worth me overruling them. Then I just try to do my best work and work hard to make great stuff myself and basically earn the right to be on the great team I've assembled. Balancing teams creative freedom with making money: Letting the team make its own creative decisions builds their capacity to do even bigger stuff in the future, so I think giving them freedom makes for a more skilled team which makes for a better product and means more money, hopefully. Ways to improve: Get my writing done faster so I can leave my door open more. :)

He hopes the addition of investment to crowdfunding can lead to bigger games. When asked if the company would crowdfund a sequel to its 2009 game Brütal Legend, Schafer replied: "Man, that would be tough (i.e. expensive). But if Fig can use its new investment features to grow crowdfunding into those kind of budgets, then I might try it! Then again, I want to make new stuff too."

Grim Fandango HD is "doing great." Double Fine has cut deals with Disney, owners of the LucasArts back catalogue, to bring Tim Schafer's old games out in new versions. Day of the Tentacle is still forthcoming, but according to Schafer, things are looking good for what is arguably his most beloved game: Grim Fandango.

"It's been doing great! Soon it will surpass the unit sales of the original game, if it hasn't already. Wouldn't change a thing," he said.

It's no secret that revivals of old IP do well with modern audiences -- hence Psychonauts 2 -- but consider this another example of the phenomenon, and proof that they can exceed even their original releases.  

Of course, you can comb through the AmA, if you're so inclined.



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