Adventure game development hero Ron Gilbert is having trouble shopping his new story-driven project around, and reckons that publishers are missing a trick by not funding small, low-budget games.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Gilbert said his new project, which he's working on from home, is a "very story-heavy, story-based kind of RPG game".
"The thing I'm trying to do with the game right now is kind of meld it with an RPG. So what you've got is the kind of large world exploration that you have in an RPG that you don't really have with an adventure game. You've got the action, some light combat, you know, Diablo-style combat going on with it, but it is also infused with really good adventure-game-style puzzles and adventure-style sensibilities to the storytelling," he explains.
"So what you can do there is take those puzzles and that storytelling that really appeal to people on a certain level, but you can fuse it with the kind of action and mindless play mixed in. I think you can really broaden that audience, and really get to the people who are buying and playing games today."
It wouldn't break the bank to turn it into a full game, Gilbert says, but right now nobody's interested. "You sit down with a publisher and the minute you mention anything like an adventure game or something story-based or adventure-game-like in any way, the meeting's basically over," he says.
"I think a lot of it is that they cannot point to anything like this that is successful in the market today," he adds.
That's because publishers are "like baseball players that only want to hit home runs," he reckons - and he wishes that somebody would adopt the Disney/Miramax approach of setting up a small label to help develop different games. "It was a little different because they were known for their wholesome family entertainment," he says of Disney. "So you know, they don't want to come out with Pulp Fiction under the Disney label, but Pulp Fiction under the Miramax label is just fine." It's not utterly different to what happened when Humongous splintered into Cavedog, which developed Total Annihilation, he says.
Elsewhere in the interview, Gilbert also offers his views on storytelling in games - and right now he's not impressed, complaining that most games are just setting up scenarios rather than telling stories.
For more of Gilbert's views on all of this, read the full interview.