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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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Grim Fandango to be re-released on PS4 and Vita... for now?

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Grim Fandango to be re-released on PS4 and Vita... for now?

We tuned into the PS4 E3 presser out of curiosity about how the other half live, but nothing could have prepared us for the shock of seeing a Grim Fandango remastered re-release for current PlayStation systems like the PS4 and Vita.

But no word on a PC version. Oh, Sony press conference, you are an emotional rollercoaster.

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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 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 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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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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Double Fine acquire distribution rights to Costume Quest and Stacking following “top-secret midnight raid on the Nordic Games headquarters”

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Double Fine acquire distribution rights to Costume Quest and Stacking following “top-secret midnight raid on the Nordic Games headquarters”

The gaming press are rarely interested in the boardroom chat of big publishers. The talk is dry, involves big numbers, and the chance of a good biscuit is practically nil. However, that often means we miss out on the talk of daring midnight-raids involving gyrocopters flying low over the Wien river.

If the reports are true, this is exactly what Double Fine did to secure the distribution rights to Costume Quest and Stacking, two of their games which were bundled up and sold to Nordic Games during the auction of THQ’s assets.

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Jack Black's magic lips return to Double Fine's voiceover booth in Broken Age

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Jack Black's magic lips return to Double Fine's voiceover booth in Broken Age

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

Tenacious D’s Tribute popped up unexpectedly on the radio yesterday, but even fresh from the memory of its opening acoustic widdlings I remain convinced that Jack Black’s performance in Brutal Legend is the best thing he’s ever contributed to pop culture. Intermittently funny, but above that warm and chummy, his Eddie Riggs was the roadie who kept an otherwise disorganised band of good ideas together.

Black’s returning for a small part in Double Fine’s original Kickstarter smash, Broken Age. At the very least, that means we get to see him in the same room as Tim Schafer for a few seconds.

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Double Fine and the third most funded Kickstarter game ever head to Steam Early Access for more cash

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Double Fine and the third most funded Kickstarter game ever head to Steam Early Access for more cash

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

Broken Age, the game formerly known as Double Fine Adventure, has run its Kickstarter coffers dry - despite attracting enough cash to meet its original goal eight times over. As such, Schafer and co. have decided to split the game into two - one half to be sold on Steam’s Early Access service next year, and the other to be finished with the resulting extra funds and released as a free update at a later date.

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Double Fine still want back catalogue distribution rights after THQ sale: "not for business reasons", but to "tidy up things"

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Double Fine still want back catalogue distribution rights after THQ sale: "not for business reasons", but to "tidy up things"

When THQ filed for bankruptcy shortly before their implosion in January, Double Fine took an active interest in one small piece of the publisher’s DNA - the distribution rights for Costume Quest and Stacking. But in the auction that followed, the rights were scooped up alongside hundreds of others by relative unknowns Nordic Games.

Double Fine head Tim Schafer isn’t very happy about that - though he doesn’t particularly care about the money.

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Humble Double Fine Bundle: “I can taste the value”

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Humble Double Fine Bundle: “I can taste the value”

Having already had one exclusive Humble Bundle back when they ran the Amnesia Fortnight Bundle, you would have thought Double Fine would have other things to do than offer all their lovely and awesome games in a low price juicy package.

Luckily, they don’t so read on to find out how you can buy Brutal Legend, Stacking, Psychonauts, and Costume Quest for less than $10.

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Brutal Legend announced for PC; preorders get into multiplayer beta

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Brutal Legend announced for PC; preorders get into multiplayer betaDouble Fine's rock opus Brutal Legend has long been absent from the PC. Despite coming out on consoles more than three years ago, we've been left resorting to less pure forms of rock gaming (rock, paper, scissors is pretty much the extent). These dark times are nearing an end however as earlier today - though spotted in the Steam database last week - Double Fine announced Brutal Legend is coming to the PC.

There's no release date as yet, though there is a trailer and news of a playable multiplayer beta.

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Notch won’t be funding Psychonauts 2

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Notch won’t be funding Psychonauts 2Sometimes, Twitter is the electric blue conduit that joins the dots between human beings and makes things happen - campaigns, revolutions and running jokes. But on other occasions, it’s a hub of hubbub, misinformation and exciting propositions that end in disappointment.

See, when Notch told Double Fine’s Tim Schafer via Twitter that the pair should “make Psychonauts 2 happen", he really meant it. But that was before he’d seen the price tag.

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