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Broken Age

"Business practices" excites Schafer most about next-gen

Self-publishing for indies is more exciting than any hardware advances says Double Fine's Tim Schafer. This and much more in our Gamelab interview.

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We had a nice chat with Double Fine's Tim Schafer about all things Double Fine following his speech at Gamelab on topic of games as an art form.

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"I don't think a lot of people don't think of games as art and I think it's important to think about them as art and to think about yourself as an artist when you make them," says Schafer on the topic of his Gamelab session. "Because I think it's important to make that connection between people and I think that's something that art does really, really well. That deep connection that lets you know that people have a lot of the same things going on down deep. And I think that games can do that in a really powerful way, but only if you pull these ideas from deep within yourself and stay honest and true to yourself and not just something that you came up with in a committe or for marketing reasons or for anything like that."

Schafer went on to talk about his creative process and of a morning he walked into the office feeling tired ending up basically designing an entire game. According to Schafer this is a perfect illustration of why you need to write every day - "cause some days are really productive and some days you just write a bunch of junk".

Schafer also talked about the status of bring Broken Age: Act 1 to more platforms:

"We like to be everywhere, I mean in Double Fine we try to have our engine on all devices, but right now we're just focusing on the PC, Mac and Linux, Ouya and iOS version," says Schafer. "The iPad version is really nice because it actually has a little bit of extra art, you know, because the aspect ratio is a little taller on those iPad screens, so we didn't want to put black bars, and since we knew we were going to be on that from the beginning, we always had the artist paint a little extra on every scene; and it's a very natural interface."

"It's exclusively on the Ouya as the only console it's on now, for the time being, but you never know what might happen in the future."

Schafer didn't want to share too much on Act 2, but had this to say:

"I think now you've seen, well I don't want to spoil in case you haven't played Act 1... The first game was about them [the kids] breaking out of their life cycles that they'd been stuck in, kind of prescribed, scripted lives and they'd been that were set up for them by adults. And they broke out of those and now they're going to deal with the ramafications of that, and what it means and they could be finding themselves stuck in unfamiliar situations and having to deal with that. And solve puzzles to maybe change the world for good."

Schafer also spoke of his appreciation of Stick it to the Man ("I love games that go inside people's minds, the fantasy of mind reading and it has a really beautiful artstyle") and of the return of adventure games he had this to say:

"People said they were dead for years. And we didn't make them for a long time, cause you couldn't find anyone who would fund them and something like Kickstarter comes along and the fans themselves fund it. So instead of someone deciding 'will I make 30 times my investment on this game', if I make an adventure game, the fans just saying 'I want to play this game, and I will give you some money to make it'.

Schafer also spoke of why he supported the Ouya and how he feels Sony and Microsoft have paid attention and adapted to make their platforms more open.

"More exciting than any advancement in the hardware for this generation I'm just more excited about the advancements in the business practices. As far as letting indies self-publish and all that."

Sounds like we may very well see Broken Age on other consoles in the future, surely if Grim Fandango could make onto consoles - why not?

Schafer also spoke of the "miracle" that Grim Fandango will see re-lease as all the moving parts of big companies came together to make it possible.

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