Schafer: Double Fine has four games signed

Legendary dev extolls the virtues of going low-budget and multi-project

Tim Schafer has detailed the future of his studio Double Fine Productions - making multiple projects with low budgets.

"We got a phone call from a publisher saying "we're not going to do a sequel to Brutal Legend." My fault was that I had not prepared for that, so we did not have a project ready to go," he said at the Develop conference in Brighton this morning.

However, the company had a number of game prototypes made in two weeks as part of a team motivational exercise. "So we picked the best four took them on a roadshow and showed them to publishers," he said.

"In a couple of months all four games got signed. So we became officially a multi-project studio. Trying to kill us made us multiply."

"Some of the games are downloadable, and some are retail," he confirmed.

Explaining that Brutal Legend took four and half years to make, and that both of Double Fine's games to date had suffered temporary cancellation and publisher interference, he was convinced that "going small" was the way forward.

"We've seen the benefits of it right away. The advantages of doing small budgets means there's less compromise. Publishers are not as afraid of doing something unusual with smaller budgets, of $2 million or less. They're less likely to grab your IP rights if you're only asking for a small amount of money."

Revealing that some of the four projects (spanning multiple genres) would see release this year, he celebrated that "we have choice now" in terms of what future projects would be. "We have as a company found our way as a result of this challenge."

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Latest comments (3)

Al Campbell Studying Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee11 years ago
So long as spreading themselves across multiple projects doesn't dilute the quality of Double Fine's games, this can only be a good thing. It's a shame that Brutal Legend 2 isn't on the cards, but given what DF have been able to do do with creative freedom thus far, it's not too great a loss.
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At the Develop Conference, I was discussing that most studios in their start up to middle phase could adopt a multi pronged approach of

1/ Working up smaller AA lite projects with quicker 1-1.5 year turnarounds
2/ Acquire funds to gear towards a AAA quality project without the commensurate cost/staff size (2.5 year plan)
3/ Episodic/continuing content in between
4/ Develop IP for others in between

In addition, be able to capitalize on digital distribution for themselves/partner on any/all platforms it has the capability to license for to ensure maximal revenue streams (without overstretching its staffign capabilities)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dr. Chee Ming Wong on 15th July 2010 11:11am

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Mario Di Pesa Senior Level Designer, 2K Games11 years ago
I think that's a very good thing! Schafer's best games (to me) were his older adventure games, and I really hope that at least some of these projects will be going back to these roots, especially since the Monkey Island remakes and episodics, along with other Telltale stuff have demonstrated that there's still a market for that genre!
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