Tim Schafer has said that Double Fine got the idea for Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster thanks to project lead Nathan Martz’s idea for an game with “cute, furry little monsters, making music and having fun.”
Speaking with Gamasutra, the Double Fine duo said Martz got the idea after the brainstorming session the firm had for Costume Quest and Stacking.
As the team worked on the game’s monster Marco, it was made aware that Sesame Workshop and Warner Bros. has just signed a deal, so Double Fine saw an opportunity to present its ideas to Warner as the team’s prototypes fit well with Sesame Street.
“The codename of the project was ‘Happy Song’, said Martz. “It was basically like a prototype of almost a musical toy where these happy monsters of different shapes and sizes help you make your own personal happy song. And that monster is actually Marco, who you see in the screenshot. He was the very first monster that we built.
“I’m a child of the very late ’70s and ’80s, and Jim Henson’s character designs were a huge part of that. We looked to his inspirations to design characters that were original but inviting, complex but accessible. Of course he came up with a lot. Sesame Street was a huge influence for both Tim and I. I actually grew up maybe just 30 miles south of where they filmed the TV show, where they still film it, actually.
All that came together, the early ideas of making a game that’s uplifting, then we heard about Kinect, and we thought, ‘This is great’. We want to do something good with mechanics, here’s a great, innovative interface that we know is going after that family market, which just seems natural for it. Sesame Street was actually just the final piece of the puzzle, getting characters and a franchise that we felt really supported our values, and we support its values.
“It’s really a great opportunity for this title to just springboard off of Sesame Street’s very well-known brand.”
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster is slated for release in the fall.