It's been an interesting week for Tim Schafer. First, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick accused the Brütal Legend creator of missing milestones, going over budget, and, perhaps worst of all, making poor games. Schafer then hit back in his own, unique way. All this amid the hiring of old LucasArts pal Ron Gilbert and the completion of Double Fine's first downloadable game ever: the cute, funny, Halloween-themed RPG Costume Quest.
The fun and games all began, of course, in July, by the sea in sunny Brighton. Now, as we sit down for round two with perhaps the funniest man in gaming – and lead animator and chief architect of Costume Quest Tasha Harris – the rules are different. Tim has a publisher – THQ – and is on a tight leash. Still, we didn't want to let you down.
Yeah. Well, you know I was making a joke about how I didn't know the mic was on. These things never show up as jokes.
Costume Quest... Tasha?
How strange. That's strange that you would be revolted by the idea that you were eating a worm.
Obviously your potty training was botched. That's what Freud would say.
It might harken back to when I was in kindergarten – it's funny, you only remember these certain aspects of when you were that young – but I remember a kid putting a worm in a girl's milk carton. And her not drinking it, but spitting it out, like on the ground. And the worm was... Oh.
Maybe subconsciously I was thinking about that when I did it.
Sometimes a worm is just a worm, Wesley.
That was just what Tasha likes.
A lot of it is that. We had some focus tests with kids, and I wanted to make it very accessible for all players. With kids, it gives them more time to think about things. It's not twitch-based gameplay where you have to wrestle with a whole bunch of controls. It's something that's more accessible for a kid. The Pokémon games are like that. Mario RPG.
Yeah. And the old-school RPGs, obviously.
Yeah. Tasha's a real expert on EarthBound and games like that. But I came into liking RPGs later in life. Later in life, as an older man, when my brain started moving slower.
Yeah. A friend of mine pointed out, how many turn-based Western RPGs are there? And I was like, oh man, I can't really think of one. Maybe the new Penny Arcade games?
Yeah. Well, people who grew up with those games are now making games.
The one that made an impact on me was Skies of Arcadia. I really liked it. It was turn-based combat between regular warriors, and also you could fly in a pirate ship.
It always works. Pirates always work.
Yeah, definitely. Halloween is one of the days when kids can go out and explore their neighbourhood, maybe even by themselves. So I wanted to get that aspect into the game.
How far did you get with her?
Maybe the classic Disney villains, the evil queens.