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Tim Schafer on Double Fine publishing and not being told what to do

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Tim Schafer on Double Fine publishing and not being told what to do

Double Fine has, in the last five years, has gone through quite the transformation. The studio was treading water after Brutal Legend in 2009, but now it has complete control over its IPs, has successfully experimented with emerging business models - in many ways setting a trend - and is now assisting other developers with the Double Fine Presents label. 

Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Tim Schafer chalked the big shift up to not liking being told what to do. And now he wants to help new indie developers chart their own course. 

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That's a relief: Grim Fandango to be released on PC alongside PS4 and Vita

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That's a relief: Grim Fandango to be released on PC alongside PS4 and Vita

When a remastered version of Grim Fandango was announced at E3 last month, my heart skipped a beat. And then it broken when there was no mention of a PC version, only PS4 and Vita. The pieces were put back together again when Tim Schafer tweeted that other platforms would be talked about soon.

Today, Double Fine has announced that PC, Mac and Linux versions of the classic adventure game would release alongside the Sony’s consoles. And all is right with the world once more. 

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Xbox One for all: Massive Chalice is still coming to the PC on time

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Xbox One for all: Massive Chalice is still coming to the PC on time

Double Fine’s really big cup of turn-based tactics turned up on Microsoft’s stage at E3, where the two were declared married by Phil Spencer, with a thousand baying games journalists as their witness.

But it’s a complicated, open relationship - one which prohibits cavorting with Sony, but does nothing to affect the PC’s blossoming love affair with Massive Chalice.

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Double Fine come out swinging on Steam Early Access with Hack 'n' Slash

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Double Fine come out swinging on Steam Early Access with Hack 'n' Slash

Hack first, slash later if necessary. That’s the mantra of Double Fine’s genuinely unprecedented top-down Zelda-like. It’s not about hacking bits off orcs, nor even hacking the mainframe, man, but rather actual rearrangement of the game’s code in real time to suit your needs.

It’s also just now become Double Fine’s second game to launch on Steam Early Access.

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Double Fine Presents Last Life: 4 hours to catch a killer on Mars, what's a dead detective to do?

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Double Fine Presents Last Life: 4 hours to catch a killer on Mars, what's a dead detective to do?

With Escape Goat 2 being distributed to the masses, Double Fine has added another title to its fledgling indie publishing wing - Double Fine Presents. The game in question is Sam Farmer’s Last Life, a sci-fi noir adventure game that juggles a pulpy detective story, a striking cuboid art style and transhumanism. It's also got a Kickstarter.

Last Life is inspired by the new wave of adventure games; the likes of The Walking Dead and Kentucky Route Zero, where story and atmosphere trumps puzzles. It looks like Last Life has both in spades. 

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Hack 'n' Slash Early Access trailer implores you to "check it out", subsequently "delete evil"

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Hack 'n' Slash Early Access trailer implores you to "check it out", subsequently "delete evil"

I haven’t had time to catch up on the reels of film from Double Fine’s latest Amnesia Fortnight - but would be terribly surprised if it had produced an idea more compelling than Hack ‘n’ Slash, born during last year’s two-week internal jam.

Hack ‘n’ Slash is Zelda, but with a hacking system. Not a Deus Ex node network; not a BioShock pipes minigame; but an opportunity to make genuine alterations to the game’s code to circumvent your enemies.

Double Fine have put together a dimly-lit trailer in the spirit of the game’s ‘90s red-pill vibe. It is fun.

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Tim Schafer would love to make Brutal Legend 2, but it probably won’t ever happen

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Tim Schafer would love to make Brutal Legend 2, but it probably won’t ever happen

Master of adventure Tim Schafer has been having a little chat with Edge this week, and talk soon got round to Brutal Legend, Double Fine’s best selling yet polarising heavy metal ‘em up. Despite being at the end of some acidic opinions due to the game’s odd/interesting use of RTS elements, Schafer would still love to return to his rocker universe for a second outing. One that would still involve real time strategy, too. 

Don’t hold your breath though, it’s not likely to happen without $30million landing in Schafer's lap. Don’t mention Kickstarter, either. 

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Double Fine is tailoring its publishing process to the diverse needs of indies

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Double Fine is tailoring its publishing process to the diverse needs of indies

Yesterday’s launch of Escape Goat 2 wasn’t just a big deal for developer MagicalBeanTime; it’s also a new chapter for Double Fine, which has gone from needing publishers, to independently publishing its own games and now to publishing other indies. 

But Double Fine have been trying to play it down. The company wants to leverage its experience to promote and assist other developers without taking away attention from the game, said CEO Justin Bailey in a chat with Game Informer.

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Double Fine's Hack 'n' Slash lets players break and reprogram the game

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Double Fine's Hack 'n' Slash lets players break and reprogram the game

The “hack" in Double Fine’s dungeon-crawling title, Hack ‘n’ Slash doesn’t refer to a violent act - hacking away at the bodies of foes until they die. Alice the elf has a USB sword, you see, and while it can be used as a mundane weapon, it’s much more useful as a code-altering device. 

Enemies, obstacles and puzzles can all be messed around with using the variables that Double Fine put in the code. If they have a USB slot, Alice can plug in and change their properties. 

Double Fine was at GDC to show off an early version of the game, and what at first seems intimidating reveals itself to be rather simple, demanding creativity and experimentation instead of an understanding of coding. 

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Double Fine take a second bob at the apple with Costume Quest 2

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Double Fine take a second bob at the apple with Costume Quest 2

Double Fine splitting their company into four teams post-Brutal Legend hasn’t just meant four times as many games - it’s meant four times as many announcements.

In a games news world where the time between discovery and release can be long enough to encompass excitement, backlash and entrenched opinion, that’s been nice: a series of bite-sized chunks of anticipation followed by (more often than not) fulfillment.

Here’s another: the studio’s very first sequel. Costume Quest 2 will see the return of protagonist twins Reynold and Wren - though not lead designer Tasha Harris, who has since returned to a career at Pixar.

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Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight Bad Golf pitch being made into a game by fans

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Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight Bad Golf pitch being made into a game by fans

Double Fine’s Patrick Hackett really wants Bad Golf to exist. In a previous Amnesia Fortnight, he pitched the idea of a 4-player golf game where you harass your fellow players by running over balls with golf carts, demolishing the fairway and breaking their carts. It sounded great, but failed to get the necessary votes to get turned into a prototype.

In this year’s Amnesia Fortnight, he pitched Bad Golf 2, the sequel to the game that would never be. Once again, his dreams were dashed. Instead, Mnemonic, Steed, Dear Leader and Pendleton Ward’s Little Pink Best Buds made the cut.

The story of Bad Golf could have ended there, were it not for diligent fans who decided that they would make the game a reality. 

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Double Fine have sold enough Broken Age Part 1s to finish Part 2

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Double Fine have sold enough Broken Age Part 1s to finish Part 2

Last year, Double Fine announced they’d overscoped their eight-times-funded Kickstarter adventure game and would be funding its second half with the sales of its first (which we really liked in our Broken Age Act 1 review). More profound than the split of the game itself was the sudden and cataclysmic rift in its audience - while backers who’d been watching the dev team’s progress month-by-month seemed to take the news in their stride, broader public goodwill turned instantly to goodwon’t.

Whatever your stance, Double Fine’s financial statements say that it’s worked.

Said Tim Schafer: “We've made enough that we can make the second half of the game for sure."

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Two weeks of lunacy: Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight starts with community voting

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Two weeks of lunacy: Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight starts with community voting

The fine folk at Double Fine have once again locked themselves away, presumably in a magical cave, taking a break from current projects to spend two weeks developing four new prototypes. For this year’s Amnesia Fortnight Double Fine has recruited Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward to take charge of one of the projects. 

Previous Amnesia Fortnights yielded the delightfully nostalgic Costume Quest and curious matryoshka adventure game, Stacking. 

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Broken Age Act 1 review

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Broken Age Act 1 review

For the first time in 15 years, Tim Schafer - he of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango fame - has made another point-n-click graphic adventure. It’s a small, simple game, but one that towers with importance. It’s the first of the Kickstarter generation, a game only in existence because thousands of fans threw millions of dollars at Schafer and demanded he made a new adventure game, without even knowing what he had planned beyond “there will be pointing and clicking". The result of this is Broken Age, the story of two children from separate worlds, which strives to recreate the wonder so present in those 1990s adventures.

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Kickfinished: Broken Age Part 1 now available to non-backers

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Kickfinished: Broken Age Part 1 now available to non-backers

The first half of Broken Age has been released; read our Broken Age Act 1 review.

Four hours or so of the first Tim Schafer-led graphic adventure in 16 years are now buyable and playable for just shy of £20 on Steam. A bit like a real game might, rather than a nebulous concept predicated on nostalgia and desperation for an ill-served genre.

Don’t worry: it’s turned out good.

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Omega Jam is for those developers who have trouble climaxing

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Omega Jam is for those developers who have trouble climaxing

Don’t worry. You’re amongst friends here. Admit it, you... me... we have trouble climaxing. I’ve trouble climaxing in the bedroom so I tried climaxing in the kitchen. A friend told me that I might get lucky in a coffee shop but I couldn’t climax there either. Now I go to my local library to climax and, damn, is it satisfying to finally be able to knock out an article again.

I’m not alone. Wolfire Games have been trying to finish off Overgrowth for five years. That’s a long time to wait on a climax.

They, along with other developers struggling to put the finishing touch on their games, have got together to have a group session at Double Fine’s offices. And they’re going to broadcast the whole thing.

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Double Fine's Broken Age hits digital shelves on January 14th via Steam Early Access

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Double Fine's Broken Age hits digital shelves on January 14th via Steam Early Access

The first half of Broken Age has been released; read our Broken Age Act 1 review.

Grim Fandango was released in 1998. Sixteen years ago. Just let that sink in. The last time I played an adventure game from the mind of Tim Schafer, I was still in school, and my ability to play games was restricted by my ability to finish homework first. 1998 was also when it became clear that the adventure game genre was in serious trouble, a pickle it wouldn't get out of for a decade. 

But now we live in brave new times, and Double Fine's new adventure game, Broken Age, is set to release through Early Access on Tuesday, revealed by Schafer himself on Twitter. If you backed the Kickstarter, expect to get sent codes for the first episode soon, with the public beta getting announced after. 

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Double Fine's Hack 'n' Slash is to 2D Zelda what Deus Ex was to Doom

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Double Fine's Hack 'n' Slash is to 2D Zelda what Deus Ex was to Doom

Oh, this is terribly exciting. Spacebase DF-9 will be good in the not-too-distant future, I’m sure, but it was never the most alluring prototype to emerge from last November’s Amnesia Fortnight. No: that was Hack ‘n’ Slash - a Zelda-style top-down adventure in which you’re more likely to modify a guard’s stats to read ‘HP=0’ than stick him with a pointy stick.

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Broken Age trailer reveals Elijah Wood as voice of the boy, Shay

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Broken Age trailer reveals Elijah Wood as voice of the boy, Shay

The first half of Broken Age has been released; read our Broken Age Act 1 review.

Along with Jack Black’s and Wil Wheaton’s, Double Fine have sucked out Elijah Wood’s voice and pumped it into one of Broken Age’s characters. In the case of the young hobbit, Double Fine have chosen one of the game’s co-leads, Shay, for Wood’s talents. 

Shay’s spent his life in a space station designed to cater for his every need. It was a fine place for a child but as he grows older and bores of the distractions the ship has to offer he begins to explore the fringes of his world.

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