Throughout this 12 months’s E3, it was introduced that Microsoft is acquiring Double Fine Productions (creators of Damaged Age, Grim Fandango) to affix Xbox Sport Studios.
What does this acquisition imply for Double Wonderful, a studio that’s famously unbiased? Will the studio’s signature, distinctive really feel be rebranded? With Double Wonderful’s roster of splendidly bizarre titles, it is a cheap concern, however Double Wonderful CEO and President Tim Schafer has been fast to qualm these fears (he even did so instantly while on stage at Microsoft’s press conference). We sat down with him at E3 to raised perceive this transition.
“We weren’t actually seeking to get acquired, however we had been speaking about different issues and [Microsoft] talked about they had been doing this with different firms and people different firms look like they’ve very sturdy identities, like Ninja Principle,” Schafer says. “These aren’t firms that want to earn cash on Microsoft merchandise. We requested [Microsoft] why they had been seeking to purchase firms, they usually talked about creating numerous, extensive ranging content material for Sport Move.”
At first, although, Schafer had issues about his studio’s id shifting or that this transfer would end in much less inventive freedom.
“I used to be very involved about our tradition and id,” Schafer says. “They defined the brand new manner they’re doing these acquisitions with unplugged studios that aren’t built-in into Microsoft. They’re left alone, they do their very own factor and keep unbiased, however are effectively funded. It feels like an excellent deal.”
Psychonauts 2 continues to be releasing on all its promised platforms (PS4, Xbox One, PC) and Schafer introduced up within the video beneath that backer rewards on Fig, in addition to different commitments the group made, can be fulfilled.
It helps that Microsoft and Double Wonderful have an extended historical past of working collectively via partnerships on video games like Kinect Celebration and Iron Brigade, so a longer-term deal is not utterly out of the blue. It offers Double Wonderful extra monetary safety to proceed its quirky signature video games.
“I believe it is good for us, as a result of we are able to simply give attention to doing our impressed bizarre video games, and never fear about how we will get our subsequent deal. We aren’t chasing down our subsequent funding and eager about what number of extra months of funding we’ve on a regular basis.”
When requested if Double Wonderful would ever let different groups inside Microsoft work on considered one of their IPs, Schafer mentioned whereas it would not “instantly make sense to have anybody else do them,” it will nonetheless be a “case by case” determination.
“If somebody’s like, ‘I grew up taking part in Center Supervisor of Justice and I actually need to put my entire growth group behind that,’ I imply, we’d discuss to them, but it surely’s it is in all probability extra possible that we’d do our personal [IPs].”
Schafer spoke briefly about Starbreeze too, the corporate that was previously publishing Psychonauts 2. Following the launch of the poorly obtained Overkill’s The Walking Dead and ensuing monetary instability, nevertheless, it is turn into obvious that Starbreeze may not last much longer. Schafer displays that the studio’s relationship with Starbreeze was constructive, however that the Microsoft acquisition guarantees extra stability and safety.
“Starbreeze had some challenges,” Schafer says. “That they had at all times lived as much as their dedication to us. They at all times paid their invoices. They by no means, you realize, they weren’t getting flaky with us. Nevertheless it wasn’t 100% positive that there could be sufficient of them right this moment there to have the ability to help the sport the best way that Microsoft can. [The acquisition] makes positive that the sport is totally polished, and that we do not minimize ranges out of it.”