Tim Schafer and Double Fine love video games. They are particularly passionate about their own video games, and it shows with over seven years of fantastic games. Unfortunately, in a twisted turn of fate, the company is renowned for producing great games that just don’t sell. Psychonauts is perhaps one of the most praised platformer of the last generation, but even after all the years since 2005 only 400,000 people know that.
Speaking to Eurogamer, he revealed that he’s very fond of the free-to-play model and wishes he could have embraced such a business plan for 2009′s Brütal Legend.
“I’m really interested in some of these free-to-play models that are coming out, even if some of them are done scarily and slime-ily. I think there’s a lot of potential in allowing us to release a game that we can stay with and keep making improvements for because it’s funded by the free-to-play stuff in the game.”
Brütal Legend is another example of a fun game that deserved way more sales. Although not as drastic as the release of Psychonauts, even Jack Black playing the lead character couldn’t save the game from flopping slightly. Despite how great the game was, in typical Schafer fashion Tim wishes he could have made the games even better using a higher focus on fan interaction.
“With a lot of our games I really wish we could have had an ongoing relationship with the fans like [with] Brutal Legend. Making more content, or playing the multiplayer game and hearing what people liked or didn’t like… I’ve never been able to do that, so a free-to-play game is a great opportunity.”
“There’s so many modes to multiplayer in Brutal Legend that we had to leave out because we didn’t have time. There were a lot of different options that we wanted to add. We had a whole faction for Lionwhyte that we wanted you to be able to play.”
He also feels that the marketing behind the game was problematic and misleading, which could have factored into the sales numbers.
“Vivendi was like ‘No. Absolutely not. We’ll never say RTS, ever. Even if someone asks us if it’s an RTS we’ll say no.’”
“EA mostly just didn’t emphasise it. They never told us not to talk about it. In fact, they did a whole press event at a bar in San Francisco that was all about the multiplayer. We released our multiplayer tutorial trailer before the game came out, so they weren’t hiding it at all.”
“The demo was kind of an accident,” explains Schafer. “The mechanics ramp up slowly over time, so the demo is usually the first mission, so you just don’t know those complicated RTS mechanics yet.”
“The reason I went along with it is because it became something different. It started as an RTS, but it evolved over time and it really became different from an RTS game. Like I said after release, if you play it like an RTS game you won’t win. You have to play it like this new RTS/action hybrid. So because it became something different I felt it was not correct to call it an RTS anymore.”
After all the many hardships Double Fine has faced, Tim isn’t letting any regrets prevent him from remaining proud of the final product.
“But I stand by it. I think it’s still a lot of fun. People would play it online and they’d really enjoy it.”
Gotta love that guy!
[Source: Read more at Eurogamer]