Legendary game designer Tim Schafer's studio Double Fine has seen a noticeable shift in the sort of games it produces. After spending roughly six years on the psychedelic epic Psychonauts and another four on the metal-themed genre-blender Brutal Legend, the studio shifted its focus to smaller projects, releasing five games in the last couple of years with four more on the immediate horizon (The Cave, Double Fine Adventure, Kinect Party, and Middle Manager of Justice).
"It seems like this little project could have an impact beyond itself". So said Tim Schafer's understandably shell-shocked post on Double Fine's Kickstarter page as the money pledged towards the studio's crowd sourced adventure game sailed past its $400,000 target in less than eight hours.
Tomorrow, Double Fine Productions CEO Tim Schafer will deliver a keynote presentation to the Develop Conference in Brighton. He's set to discuss the studio's ten year anniversary, presumably with reference to hit titles Psychonauts and Brutal Legends.
Eurogamer recently discovered one of its very own personal heroes padding around EA's Guildford offices wearing a hoodie and looking eminently lovable. In-between gazing longingly at him while he ate free sandwiches and attempting to force him into playing Time Gentlemen, Please! by stutteringly telling him that "it's definitely not rubbish", we interviewed him about Brutal Legend, Psychonauts and all his new celebrity rock royalty friends. At no stage did we climb into his lap and tell him that the Milkman level in Psychonauts was fabulous, and that we should definitely be best friends forever. That's for next time.
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.
Tim Schafer's latest game takes place in a pick-and-mix fantasy world culled from a thousand different heavy metal album covers. A love letter to the enduring appeal of chrome, valkyries, ramshackle skeletons and the artistic potential of a well-handled air brush, it's a gnarly, frightening landscape, but also an oddly familiar one. As you might expect from Double Fine, the studio behind the leftfield charms of Psychonauts, it's a place in which all the little details are just so: each mountain of skulls has exactly the right number of dinosaur jawbones peeking through the clutter of teeth and eye sockets, and every mysterious druid you encounter has a hooded tunic of the most perfectly malevolent shade of scarlet.
We've had indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, and fighting and strategy, which just leaves the glamour girls of action, adventure, shooters and racing to strut their stuff.
Tim Schafer has an impressive CV, having worked on games such as Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango and more recently, Psychonauts. In other words, he's a bit of a big deal.