Eurogamer: I was talking your old colleague Ron Gilbert...
Tim Schafer: Lies! Lies! Complete fabrications!
Eurogamer: ...And he was saying the same thing.
Tim Schafer: The more directly connected you are with the player, the better. There are so many levels between you and the player. With Brutal Legend, just trying to get things to them... We had some DLC that we tried to get through the system. There are so many levels of bureaucracy you have to get through.
It's interesting to see what will happen, because now we talk about it like it's a different type of game. At an awards show there will be the best downloadable category. In the future that's going to be more of the norm.
Eurogamer: Microsoft used to have a cap on the size of a downloadable XBL game could be, but they scrapped it.
Tim Schafer: Yeah. Hard drives are getting bigger on the Xboxes. Why wouldn't they want to distribute everything that way someday?
What we don't want is to have them look cheap. The great position that we're in now is we have this engine from Brutal Legend that we invested millions of dollars in, so we can make a smaller game but have it look really nice. We can have all the shaders, effects and tech we built for a bigger game in a smaller game.
Eurogamer: Now that the dust has settled on Brutal Legend, what is the first word that pops into your head when you think about the experience you had making that game?
Tim Schafer: It was really, really exciting. It was something I wanted to do for a long time. I got to meet so many childhood heroes of mine, I got to work with a great team, and make this game that we're really proud of.
It was frustrating when we got reviewed in terms of what people were expecting and what the game actually was. I feel like not enough people got to experience it the way they could have. Part of that's our fault.
When a game takes four years to make, you get used to playing it so much that a lot of things just seem natural to you. One of the things I wish I had done more is tutorialise in the game just naturally how to play the strategy part a bit better, so people understood it more.
I tried to fix that by writing a thing on my web page about how to play it, and people said I was just trying to tell them why they were holding their iPhones wrong... That's not what I was trying to do. I was trying to make up for the fact that I didn't put enough tutorials in the game. Still, I really like that game and I'm very proud of it. And I will play with anybody online, anytime.
Eurogamer: You had a high-profile dispute with Activision over Brutal Legend. I've read the lawsuit took its toll it came at a time when you were busy with the game. Is that true?
Tim Schafer: It took a lot of my time, and it caused me to have a big crunch at the end of the project to write the dialogue. There is a total of 35,000 lines in the game. 20,000 lines of that I wrote in the last couple of months of the game because I was so distracted with that whole lawsuit.
I can blame it on that, but the odds are I probably would have put it off until the end anyway... Who am I fooling? I'm a procrastinator. I still haven't written my Develop speech yet.
Eurogamer: You don't think the lawsuit affected the quality of the game then?
Tim Schafer: Oh no, not at all. If anything, it's great to have a period of time with no publisher. It's scary because no one's paying you, but it's really great when just you and the team can sit there with the game and push it towards what you think is good.
With some publishers, you spend all of your time getting ready for the next green light meeting. There are all these hoops you've got to go through. That can be distracting and take you away from what you need to do, which is play the game, listen to the game, and... [Puts on awesome Irish accent] The game will tell you.
In print that's going to look really pretentious because I didn't get my awesome Irish accent over the top.