Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has said his company needed a nudge to make the transition from publisher-funded triple-A development to smaller projects.
Speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun in a terrific interview feature, Schafer said Double Fine was keen to make the plunge but couldn’t get the nerve up.
“We wanted to do smaller games for a lot of reasons, but it’s hard to get that started when you don’t have to. Those resources always get sucked into the big game. We were like that kid sitting on the edge of the pool going, ‘Uh, I want to get in, but it looks cold,’” he said.
“Then some big bully kicked us in, and then we were really happy. It all worked out. We’ve done Amnesia Fortnight ever since them. We did it publicly this year.”
The big bully, in this case, was EA, which cancelled the sequel to Brütal Legend, leaving Double Fine in extreme difficulty. It bounced back by producing a number of smaller titles like Stacking and Costume Quest, releasing ports of its older games, and later turning to Kickstarter.
As a result, the scrappy team is now in charge of itself, Schafer said.
“When you’re strapped to the front of that giant rocket, you don’t have much control. It’s an exciting ride, but you aren’t steering anything,” he said of triple-A development.
“That’s one of the reasons I started the company, for control. I was part of a big publisher in LucasArts and I could do a lot of things that I wanted, but there were still bigger entities that controlled what I did. Not that I control every single game and everything that’s going on here. Other talented people are controlling things as well. But we control our own destiny. We can choose what we do and what we don’t do. That’s been great.”
Brütal Legend, Double Fine’s last triple-A title, recently released on Steam. Do check out the full interview feature if you have any interest in Double Fine, metal, Brütal Legend or Tim Schafer; it’s stuffed to the gills with great little moments.