Tim Schafer has carved himself out a nice little niche in the gaming circles as a guy who carves himself out a nice little non-classifiable niche in the gaming market. Schafer's games have all become renown for being unique, and infamous for being poor blockbuster releases. Well, the Schafmaster is at it again, this time he talks about why publishers are so afraid of new IP.
In an interview with Digital Spy [via GI], Schafer, studio head for Double Fine Productions, says...
"Publishers often don't want to release anything new, I mean they're scared of new IP, and Double Fine specalises in new IP,"... "That's always been our challenge, is getting a publisher to invest millions of dollars in something brand new like Brutal Legend."
The thing is with today's publishing world, it's not like the yesteryears of gaming. If a publisher dumps $10 million into a game they expect it to sell an upward of 1 million copies within the first quarter of its release. A tough goal, yeah? Yeah. Schafer's Brutal Legend was a blockbuster bomb, so was his other highly acclaimed title Psychonauts, a platforming game about kids who traveled into the psyche of other people in order to solve their psychological problems.
Schafer, at this moment, is now focused on smaller indie projects. He's getting back to the humble roots of game development and him and Double Fine are now focusing on projects with meagre budgets. Schafer stated that...
"It has helped to have games that are smaller, like digital download games are smaller so the budgets are smaller, like Happy Action Theater. The whole reason it got made was that I was asking for very little money to get it made,"..."And once it proved the power of it, money was invested in it, but the original thing that we were asking for was very small."
However, not everyone thinks Schafer and crew needs to stay relegated to the lower tier of game development. In a strange twist of fate, Mike "Notch" Persson, creator of MineCraft, actually offered his services (and money) to Schafer, willing to fund a new project if Tim is up for the challenge. Blues picked up the following Tweet, with Notch saying..."@TimOfLegend Let's make Psychonauts 2 happen."