Tim Schafer has long been outspoken about the nature of new IPs, and the lack of trust and increased pressure and risk that comes from reporting to publishers whose only consideration is their bottom line. It has, to a certain extent, created a culture of fear and Schafer makes the point in a recent interview that publishers are often "scared" by the thought of releasing an unknown entity. All of which makes things a little tricky for Schafer's studio Double Fine, considering that they specialise in new IP.
"Publishers often don't want to release anything new, I mean they're scared of new IP, and Double Fine specalises in new IP," Schafer told Digital Spy. "That's always been our challenge, is getting a publisher to invest millions of dollars in something brand new like Brutal Legend."
"It has helped to have games that are smaller, like digital download games are smaller so the budgets are smaller, like Happy Action Theater. The whole reason it got made was that I was asking for very little money to get it made, and once it proved the power of it, money was invested in it, but the original thing that we were asking for was very small."
Schafer also spoke last week about the difficulties securing funding from publishers, suggesting that companies looked more kindly upon projects with smaller budgets, which in turn allows for greater autonomy on the creative side of things. "It’s very hard to convince a publisher to give a lot of money for a new IP, a risky IP, especially when there are some really big, safe bets they can make. The more money you take from a publisher the less autonomy you have. We have a great relationship with Microsoft on [Happy Action Theater]; they let us make the game exactly like we wanted to make it. But we were asking for a small enough amount of money."
With the studio split into smaller dev teams working alongside one another, Schafer was also asked if he was tempted to go back in revisit earlier games. He responded saying that he hadn't done sequels simply because that would have meant losing the opportunity for fresh IP, but he wasn't ruling it out for the future.
"I'm not against doing a sequel, it's just that if you do a sequel it takes the place of doing a new game," he said. "So if I did a sequel to any of the games I had before, it would have prevented one of the [new games]... if I did a sequel to Full Throttle there wouldn't have been Grim Fandango, and so on and so on down the line.
"It's hard. But now we have multiple projects, we have multiple teams, one of us could be working on a sequel and one of us could be working on a new game. It opens up a lot of possibilities."
Of course, LucasArts still own the rites to the likes of Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, and for some incomprehensible reason haven't re-released either yet. We considered chaining our naked selves to their front door wearing only Manny Calavera masks...but we couldn't afford the plane tickets.