Double Fine's Tim Schafer

On fans, funnies and roadie love.

Eurogamer is standing in a dark dungeon of a room in a ridiculous ark-shaped building in west London. Cloth flames flicker melodramatically in the corner, and a bearded man is wiggling a fake skull behind our head. That would be Tim Schafer, he of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango immortality.

And creator of Eurogamer's favourite game of 2005, the fabulous Psychonauts.

Schafer is holed up backstage at an EA event to show off his latest project, Brütal Legend, a heavy metal-themed action-adventure starring Jack Black as Eddie Riggs, the world's greatest roadie, that exploits the magnificent ridiculousness of rock to uproarious effect (you can read all about it in our latest preview).

A keen Twitterer himself (as @TimOfLegend), when we tweeted we were going to meet him, the gushing responses we got back illustrate the esteem in which the designer is held by gamers and fellow game designers alike. And also how many people want to get in our knickers.

So when we grabbed some time with the boss of Double Fine Productions, we had a good old chinwag about fan-love, how to make a game funny, and why Eurogamer needs to invent a new award to commemorate the release of his latest game.

Be sure to click below to check out our video highlights from the chat, and look out for an exclusive opportunity to put your no doubt superior questions to Schafer directly in the next few weeks...

Schafe as houses.

Eurogamer: As I just mentioned, I tweeted I was going to meet you and in terms of the love that's out there for you [reads from phone]: 'Tell him I love him and will he please make more Grim Fandango. And, and, and pants'.

Tim Schafer: 'And, and, and pants'?

Eurogamer: In asterisks, as in gasping with excitement!

Tim Schafer: Oh, pants!

Eurogamer: "Tell him, Johnny - don't ask, tell him - more monkeys and skeletons, please."

Tim Schafer: [Laughs]

1

Jack Black stars in Brütal Legend, Schafer's digital ode to the roadie.

Eurogamer: Given your past and the legacy of the projects you've worked on, how do you react to the interest?

Tim Schafer: We've always had a great response from fans. I don't know why, it's a certain kind of people who like maybe humour in games, or they like the care we put into the characters, because I guess the characters are real to us. We write them, or when we animate them, or when we put them in the game and the things that happen to them, we treat them like people that we know and we care about, so hopefully people who play the games care about them in the same ways and that just turns itself into a great fan response.

Eurogamer: Your fans are always saying, please, please, please remake your old games, which is nice obviously as it shows how well loved those old games are. But do you always want to be doing something new?

Tim Schafer: It's really nice when your fans like your old games enough to ask you to do another one. That's very flattering and that's exactly the response you'd want. But - I don't want to sound patronising - they don't necessarily really want that. If they like that game, what they like about it hopefully was not that it was specifically a biker game or specifically about pirates; I think what they really related to was that it was a surprise, something new that was fun, entertaining and creative. I think that's what they really want: make me something fun, entertaining and creative that I've never seen before. So that's what I try to do with every game.

2

Monkey Island's lead was originally just called "Guy" until George Lucas intervened.

Eurogamer: Why do you think there are so few actually funny games?

Tim Schafer: Ah, I don't know why there are so few funny games. There's a lot of comedy in games. There's a lot of things like, LittleBigPlanet is a really funny game; and in unexpected places like in Okami there'll be these funny moments. You don't call that a comedy game, but there's these funny things that happen. But actually coming out and declaring your game is a comedy or something, maybe people aren't expecting it. Games tend to be a little imitative, so once Brütal Legend is a huge, huge hit you'll see all games will be comedy games!

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