Last week when I read Double Fine, developers of Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, were working on a Sesame Street game I almost gagged on my lunch. I then checked the calendar to ensure we hadn't entered April early. But, lo and behold, the news was true, and whether you like it or not Time Schafer and co are helping bring the likes of Elmo and the Cookie Monster to the interactive scene. Gamasutra sat down with Schafer and project lead, Nathan Martz, to discuss why the fan-favorite studio is working on such a brand.
Early on in their interview with Gamasutra, Schafer eliminates any fears of Double Fine selling out for the Sesame Street brand by claiming the game began as an entirely unrelated prototype headed up by Martz that happened to feature cuddly, furry monsters. "It was immediately just this charming experience, and it kind of evolved from there", explains Schafer, with work on the project beginning three and a half years ago and bubbling alongside bigger budget efforts like Brutal Legend. "Then the idea of Kinect came up, and it seemed like an interesting way to interact with these monsters".
But how exactly did this nascent prototype develop into a full-blown Sesame Street title. Well, it already included numerous references to Jim Henson, picking up on The Muppets and the brand it would eventually take shape into. Sesame Street was close to both men's hearts, as well, with both Schafer and Martz spending their childhoods thirty miles away from where the show was filmed.
Martz actually noticed Sesame Workshop and Warner Bros had announced a partnership to produce games on Gamasutra's very site. They eventually contacted them, arranged a meeting in which they must have impressed the brass, as they've been given the full-backing of Sesame Workshop who have helped guide Schafer and Martz's production of the title to keep in line with Sesame Street's core tenets. The game is intended to help develop numeracy and literacy skills like the original show, but also to instruct kids on "making friends, facing fears, solving problems together". Color me suitably intrigued. [Gamasutra]