Hello, you. I thought you’d like to know that Stacking is out on Steam. Stacking is Double Fine’s puzzley adventure based on nesting dolls. It’s proper lovely. There’s even “money off” until the 13th. But should you buy it? There’s no demo! Well I played a couple of hours of it on the console box, and it was okay – but don’t take my back-handed recommendation as your guide, instead, look into your heart>, and if there is only a clown’s face in there, staring silently back at you, wait for Alec’s Wot I Think, which should turn up later this week.
In the second part of our interview with Double Fine‘s Tim Schafer (the first part is here), we get to talking about the nature of the adventure game, and reflect on some of Schafer’s defining classics from the 90s, Day Of The Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, to consider what lessons they offer for today, the reasons for avoiding 3D altogether, and I almost trick him into making a sequel to Day Of The Tentacle.>
Industry legend Tim “Industry Legend” Schafer has been at the front of gaming news for the last couple of weeks. After the twitterstorm that followed Notch’s somewhat speculative offer to fund Psychonauts 2 came the record-breaking Kickstarter project, that saw Schafer’s company, Double Fine, raise over $2 million in a fortnight. I spoke to him over the weekend to find out how the process has been, what the intentions are for a new 2D adventure, to reflect on the classic adventures of the 90s, and to see if there were any other dream projects he has left. In the first part of this two-part interview we discuss the reactions to the Kickstarter, the role dads play in playing adventures, and where things are with Psychonauts 2. Tomorrow we’ll go into the lessons learned from Schafer’s previous adventures, memories of Day Of The Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, and how that will affect design today.>
The Psychonauts soundtrack was composed by Double Fine mainstay-maestro Peter McConnell. While no soundtrack may ever replace McConnell's own Grim Fandango in my heart, this one perhaps demonstrates his depth to an even greater degree.
For all of its Danny Elfman-ish flourishes, psychedelic country guitars, and emotionally charged Spanish bullfighting music, the theme that plays whenever Raz goes to Agent Cruller's HQ is my favorite.
It crept up on me, the slowly building horns, the choir, that noble melody... and the single chord change that lifts things ever so slightly… yeah.
It felt like a good first "Listen Here" for Kotaku Melodic. If ever you need to get in the mood to mete out some justice, this piece is a good place to start.
Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson gained a lot of attention for his offer to chip in personal funds towards Psychonauts 2. The internet responded the way you'd expect for a dormant, cult-hit property, so Persson has taken to his blog to set reasonable expectations.
He says that he and Tim Schafer have only exchanged "a couple of e-mails" and might meet at the upcoming Game Developers Conference. He says that the budget for the game is three times higher than he though, and Double Fine will most likely be busy with its Kickstarter project for a while anyway.
"I would not be investing in this as a charity," he says. "It would be because I think the game would be profitable. And naturally, I wouldn't want to have any creative input in the game. It would be purely a high risk investment in a project I believe in." He also points out that other investors have expressed interest.
Persson says that this kind of investment would require a lot of discussion, but he says he has advisers to help him with that aspect. "All I know is that IF the numbers work out and IF they still want to do it and IF they don't decide to self fund a sequel by doing more crowd funding (which is honestly what I would've done if I were them), I would be most interested in doing this type of investment."
He says his reasons for setting more realistic expectations is that he's "incredibly scared of the very real risk of people feeling let down just because I took a chance at something that doesn't end panning out." He jokes that if the deal doesn't work, he'll "just go into hiding for a few years."
Even if the investment is higher than expected, Persson seemed unphased by the dollar amount as of a few days ago. He said he "can do" $13 million if necessary. Whether this is ultimately determined as profitable, though, is unclear -- and with Double Fine focused on its adventure game, we might not know for quite a while.
Minecraft maker Notch has downplayed his potential funding of Psychonauts 2.
Notch set the internet alight after offered to fund the game in a tweet to Double Fine boss Tim Schafer.
Schafer later said it would cost at least $13 million to make the game, to which Notch apparently replied: "I can do that."
But now it appears as if Notch isn't sure the game's a goer.
In a blog post titled "Hype" the Mojang chief said Schafer's development budget estimation was three times higher than he expected.
"Tim and I haven't spoken much at all other than a couple of emails," he said. "We mentioned meeting at GDC, I hope that will happen. I assume Double Fine will be very busy for many months with the Kickstarter project.
"The budget for doing a Psychonauts 2 is three times higher than my initial impression. A couple of other parties have mentioned also being interested in investing in it. I would not be investing in this as a charity. It would be because I think the game would be profitable. And naturally, I wouldn't want to have any creative input in the game. It would be purely a high risk investment in a project I believe in."
Notch's mention of the Kickstarter project is in reference to Double Fine's hugely successful crowd-sourcing of funding for an adventure game.
Schafer raised $1 million in a day after setting a $400,000 target on Kickstarter. The total raised is now approaching $2 million.
This game, Notch believes, is of higher priority than any Psychonauts sequel.
"I have NO idea if this is actually going to happen," he said. "The Kickstarter stuff obviously changes the playing field a lot. Investing that incredibly high amount of money also requires a lot of planning and discussion, and I've never done anything like that before, but I do have contacts and advisors to help me out.
"All I know is that IF the numbers work out and IF they still want to do it and IF they don't decide to self-fund a sequel by doing more crowd-funding (which is honestly what I would've done if I were them), I would be most interested in doing this type of investment."
Notch called for calm: "Point is, stop hyping over this, internet! You're going to scare me into doing things secretly instead of being open and transparent via Twitter. I am incredibly scared of the very real risk of people feeling let down just because I took a chance at something that doesn't end up panning out.
"Also, I realize you won't stop hyping, so I'll just go into hiding for a few years if it falls through."