Jump to content

Home

Do you think Tim Schafer would ever make another point and click game?


Recommended Posts

When Broken Age was announced I thought it was the first of many new point and click games from Double Fine now that they could get the crowd funding for it.

 

However, after Broken Age... that was that. Was it such a troubled development that they decided to never do another one? Or was it always planned as a one off.

 

I hope one day we see another one 🥰

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know that it was a particularly troubled development, in comparison with any other game he's made. Certainly the original Psychonauts, and Brutal Legend had a rather troubled development, they had to make lots of cuts from Full Throttle, and so forth.

 

The main difference between Broken Age and those other games is that it was developed under public scrutiny, so things that would have happened in the dark and maybe talked about years later instead happened in the open.

Like, let's say there'd never been a Kickstarter, but instead Tim got funding from a publisher to make Broken Age and it was announced at some point during development. Well, at the point where they started to realise they didn't have enough money to realise the whole vision, probably one of 3 things would have happened:

1) They ask the publisher for more money, they get it, and nobody ever hears or cares about that they had some budget issues.

2) They decide to make significant cuts to the game, and maybe people think it's a bit short, but by the time they release the game, whether they had to cut bits out would have been a matter of speculation and nothing more until they talk about what they cut years later (like Full Throttle)
3) Something like what they actually did, they decide to split the game and release it part 1 first, standalone. They're free to act like this was always the plan because they never announced otherwise, and they use the profits from it in order to fund the 'sequel'.

I wonder if in any of those scenarios we'd really be thinking of Broken Age as having a 'troubled development' or if we'd just be thinking of it as a game (or two games) like any other that had its development ups and downs and eventually got released in some form.

It's a bit like the situation with Psychonauts 2... people overemphasised in press chatter about it how long it was in development, but that development time was artificially inflated by 3 factors:

1) Because of the Fig funding, it was announced WAY before a game of this type would usually be announced, which made the development time feel much longer.
2) The Microsoft buyout bought them time and funds that they took advantage of
3) COVID slowing development for the second half.

I guess what I'm saying is that a lot of this stuff has always felt like a bit of a false narrative generated by DF's relative openness compared with other devs. It says more about the stuff we DON'T see about other games, than it does about Broken Age, P2, etc.

But... to address your question, I don't know.

My sense from following DF closely for a number of years is that Tim isn't overly interested in revisiting the past. He'll dip into it with the remasters, and with Broken Age as an adventure game, and with Psychonauts 2, but all those had as much to do with keeping the company afloat as they did with what Tim wanted to do. I'm not saying they were cynical projects, but at some point it must have occured to the folks at DF that there's decent money in being able to capitalise on Tim's most beloved works, so it's a bit of a no brainer.

But when you hear Tim talk about what he wants to do next, it's always something he's never tried before, and I think that's what he'll be drawn to especially now he knows he's not going to have to go round the world knocking on doors for money.



 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder how many people thinking Broken Age had a troubled development have watched the whole documentary? The backer forums were a calm place throughout the whole process, but that's where everyone knew what was going on. Outside of those forums you'd think the DF offices were on fire or something. It seemed like all the non-backers totally freaked out on behalf of the mostly happy backers.

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I don’t think so. I think in the early LucasArts days, Tim was hampered by three things:

A: his own lack of experience as a designer (although he had huge potential.)

B: the fact that the only way to tell a decent story in video game form back then was an adventure game (and I think Tim is a storyteller at heart.)

C: that LucasArts at that point mostly made adventure games (or Star Wars games) (not counting the occasional Afterlife or Outlaws).

 

The moment he left LucasArts he immediately jumped to another genre with Psychonauts, and another with Brütal Legend. Now he’s a veteran game designer who can think out of the box way easier to come up with a gameplay style to suit the story he wants to tell.

Not only that, but he’s turning 55 this year. I can imagine that being a turning point in thinking ‘what do I want to create with the time I have left’, and I doubt it’s going to be retreading a genre which he has fully exploited in the past already.

Lastly, Double Fine was bought out by Microsoft. And even though they say they bought it with the intention of ‘letting them do their thing’, I’m sure if their thing was making another adventure game that wasn’t a sequel, there would be some serious questions to answer to.

 

I hope so though! Another adventure game by Tim would be a dream come true!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to preface this comment by confirming unequivocally that I adored Broken Age and would love Double Fine to make more adventure games if they want to.

 

When Double Fine did their Tim Schafer Adventure Game kickstarter, I found out about it maybe 6-8 hours after it went live. As I'm sure you all remember, by that point it had already reached its funding goal and was well on its way to setting all kinds of records. It proved, immediately, that there was an appetite for adventure games. I remember thinking about that old infamous LucasArt's quote about "current marketplace realities" and sort of smugly thinking, "see? if you build it, they will come" - or in this case, if Tim Schafer asks us if we'd pay him up front for a new adventure game, the answer would be a three-million-dollar "YES".

 

What we ended up getting from Double Fine, as others have said in this thread, was more than just an adventure game. We got a fully transparent production of an adventure game from inception through to release, and it was truly money well spent as a backer. I got plenty of goodies from my pledge level and in the end I also got an adventure game that I truly enjoyed. Tim Schafer took on the project from the position of a former-adventure game developer who was returning to the genre after a long gap, and wanted to modernise the experience. This was (and is) absolutely fine - just like Ron with Return to Monkey Island, I wanted Tim to make the game that TIM wanted to make. But a part of me felt like the kickstarter had really been about nostalgia, and wanting to revisit the LucasArts days. Had Tim decided to go down that road and make a game in the style of, say, Full Throttle, I'd also have been happy about it. (Actually, I wonder if that was the original intention now - a small low budget, SCUMM-style game. And then it only expanded into what it became because they got so much more money than they were asking for. I'm sure the answer is out there somewhere in an interview or on the documentary, but I guess it's irrelevant now.)

 

What I'm meandering to here is that Thimbleweed Park felt like a conscious response to this. A similar kickstarter to the one Double Fine did, but this time explicitly with the intention of making a throwback, retro adventure game. As they put it at the time, they wanted it to feel like finding an old LucasArts game from the late 1980s in a drawer and realising you'd never actually played it. And I found myself being, for whatever internal reasons, massively more excited by the prospect of Thimbleweed Park than I was by Broken Age.

 

Of course, Thimbleweed Park came and went, and I found it to be a really entertaining adventure game, just like Broken Age was, but it felt way closer to the early LucasArts games of my memory because it used retro graphics and had verb interfaces and all that stuff. It was truly a product for a person like ME, and I was really grateful for it.

 

Now Ron Gilbert is working on his next adventure game, Return to Monkey Island, and we all know it isn't going to be a Thimbleweed Park. It's going to be a Broken Age. It's going to be Ron Gilbert consciously bringing his design sensibilities into 2022; the graphics will not be retro, there will not be a verb interface, and it will not feel like a game we found in a drawer and had forgotten about. And that's fine! But it has made me think about what I even WANT from these old LucasArts developers when they sit down and make new games for us.

 

Do I want Thimbleweed Parks, or do I want Broken Ages? I have a natural tendency towards nostalgia, so it's little wonder I'm drawn more to the Thimbleweed Park style games. But of course, it's utterly unrealistic to expect those games now. It was frankly a miracle that we even got ONE more of them. And I'm not stupid enough to think that the old fashioned pixels and verb interfaces are inherently BETTER than any other way of playing adventure games. The fact of the matter is, I loved Broken Age, and I'm really excited for Return to Monkey Island - I couldn't care less what type of interface Ron thinks is right in this day and age, I just want to explore another world created by these game developers.

 

So in answer to the question about Tim Schafer, I don't really think he's ever going to make another "point and click" adventure game again. But that's okay. Whatever he makes in the future, I'll be there to give it a try.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the topic of what I want, I think I'm more part inclined to want something that feels modern than a throwback, mainly because I don't really enjoy the perception of adventure games as a throwback genre. I think they can, and sometimes do, tell great, contemporary feeling stories now.

 

And it was for that reason it's taken me a long time to play Thimbleweed Park. Firstly, the graphical style it's going for wasn't one I'm particularly nostalgic for (I like the look of the backgrounds but those MM style characters don't do much for me) and Secondly I was worried it was going to be so self-consciously a throwback that it would end up getting in its own way.

I've played Thimbleweed for 4 hours at time of writing, and while I'm used to the art at this point, and actively enjoy aspects of the look, I do think parts of my second worry are at least partly true.

It feels like it can't go five minutes without some sort of self-conscious joke about some aspect of adventure game mechanics, or some reference to the old days, and I... just don't find that sort of humour that engaging when it's overused. Monkey Island arguably had 3 'you can't die' jokes in its first 3 games (the falling off a cliff joke, I guess the falling into the acid pit joke, and the gravedigger's joke in CMI) but I've played this for 4 hours and there have already been 3 or 4 jokes on this theme. It was okay by the first time, but a little tedious by the 3rd time. It's so self-aware that I actually think it wraps back around to being not self aware about just how self aware it's being. And I am enjoying it, more than I thought I would, but with those caveats in place.

If Tim or Ron or anyone else wants to make a throwback adventure game, my thought is by all means let 'em, but please, I beg you, constantly winking at the camera and saying, 'see, this is like what those old games were like' doesn't actually make it feel like the old games, it just reminds me of how far we are removed from them now.

Personally, I'd rather they avoid the problem altogether and focus on making a great, modern game, with great characters and world building and puzzles, and trust the player to make the connection between this and what they made in the past all by themselves.
 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a troubled development, Tim simply loves to experiment, push boundaries and try new things. If not, we wouldn't have gotten Psychonauts, or Stacking, or Brütal Legend, just a Duke Grabowsky. Which I'm not saying I don't love but... you know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, elTee said:

Had Tim decided to go down that road and make a game in the style of, say, Full Throttle, I'd also have been happy about it. (Actually, I wonder if that was the original intention now - a small low budget, SCUMM-style game. And then it only expanded into what it became because they got so much more money than they were asking for. I'm sure the answer is out there somewhere in an interview or on the documentary, but I guess it's irrelevant now.)

 

Just as a point of information, yes, Tim has said that if they had only gotten around the $400K mark they were planning on making a low-fi SCUMM/Flash-like adventure game. (Also, I should point out that the budget for FT was over $1mil in 1995 money, so at $300K - iirc they planned for 25% of the money to go on the doc - it wouldn't even have been in the FT range!)

 

As for if Tim will make another PnC, I feel like maybe he might decide to do something interesting with them again, but it won't be for a good 5-10 years.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Considering the kind of reception that Broken Age got I don't think he will. Broken Age was great if you ask me but it was fairly obvious that Tim is on a different wavelenght than what the audience of a classic adventure game is. So Broken Age wasn't a "classic", it didn't have a sense of continuity with his past work at Lucasarts and that created a lot of complaining from people who expected another DoTT or Grim. It's a game that can give off the developer's message of "man, it's kind of a bummber that this is an adventure game, I'd love to do so many different things."

 

Compare that to Thimbleweed Park, a game that pretty much nailed what a classic adventure game is and it just had this sense of a master of his craft doing what he does best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh and just to add to that I don't really see how Double Fine's smaller games could be affected by Microsoft but I think with the number of studios they have now they'd want DF to focus on just one bigger project at a time. That might give us the likes of Brütal Legend 2 but it can really put a stop to any point and click they might want to make.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure Tim has gone on record saying the next thing it he makes he'd want to be completely new, but it wouldn't shock me if he revisited Brutal Legend in a few years. I think that'd happen before another adventure

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, elTee said:

(Actually, I wonder if that was the original intention now - a small low budget, SCUMM-style game. And then it only expanded into what it became because they got so much more money than they were asking for. I'm sure the answer is out there somewhere in an interview or on the documentary, but I guess it's irrelevant now.)

 

Yes, Tim has said that that's exactly what happened. When the budget exploded, they updated their plans. Tim's original idea (as seen in the Kickstarter pitch video, IIRC) was to even help program the thing like a Scummlette. He used the example of tweaking the timing on the scrolling on the Fettuccini Brothers circus tent scene in MI1, which he said he took ages to get "just right". He wanted more of that low level experience again. But when they had the money to do something more polished and modern, he took the opportunity instead to do that.

 

Edit: Scrolled down and Ben beat me to it.

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, KestrelPi said:

Personally, I'd rather they avoid the problem altogether and focus on making a great, modern game, with great characters and world building and puzzles, and trust the player to make the connection between this and what they made in the past all by themselves.

 

Yep, when given the choice, and I stop and I think about it, that's the route I'd take, too. I think I'd rather see Tim (and Ron) fully flexed than them constrained by a deliberate attempt at recreating the past, for example. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Zaxx said:

 

Oh and just to add to that I don't really see how Double Fine's smaller games could be affected by Microsoft but I think with the number of studios they have now they'd want DF to focus on just one bigger project at a time.

I think this view discounts the existence of Game Pass. Double Fine’s medium size games seem like they’d be an awesome fit for that service. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Glokidd said:

Incidentally I think the world of Brütal Legend and the lore they introduced beyond the main story would make a wonderful TCG like magic the gathering 

 

I wasn't thinking card game but something it already was: an RTS. I know they'll most likely never do that since RTS doesn't really work on consoles but an actual strategy game in the BL setting would be amazing. There are so many possibilities to come up with crazy unit and map designs and I don't think it would be a huge stretch to imagine DF's usual art style working wonderfully for a Blizzard style RTS game. Add the awesome writing and storytelling from the first game to that and it's a winner.

Edited by Zaxx
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Jake said:

I think this view discounts the existence of Game Pass. Double Fine’s medium size games seem like they’d be an awesome fit for that service. 

 

That's super true, I just don't know if I believe the "promotion" around Game Pass that says it will give attention to smaller games. That sure is something MS could use it for and to some extent I think they will but my guess is that in a few years GP will be a live service game nightmare. And I really hope I'll be wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/29/2022 at 1:00 AM, ThunderPeel2001 said:

 

Yes, Tim has said that that's exactly what happened. When the budget exploded, they updated their plans. Tim's original idea (as seen in the Kickstarter pitch video, IIRC) was to even help program the thing like a Scummlette. He used the example of tweaking the timing on the scrolling on the Fettuccini Brothers circus tent scene in MI1, which he said he took ages to get "just right". He wanted more of that low level experience again. But when they had the money to do something more polished and modern, he took the opportunity instead to do that.

 

Edit: Scrolled down and Ben beat me to it.

There's a part of me that would have loved to seen this. I think a more intimate smaller team with a less ambitious scope might have led to have a better game. I think this was one of the reasons i felt Thimbleweed park worked better.

 

But then if Double Fine Adventure wasn't a huge success we might not have got Thimbleweed park and other games.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...