Psychonauts. Costume Quest. Brutal Legend. Stacking. And, more recently, The Cave. These are just a few of the games to come out of Double Fine studios, one of the most creative independent, or “indie,” game studios. Tim Schafer, the head of Double Fine studios, got his start in game-making with Lucas Arts Studios in the 1990’s, making memorable hits such as Day of the Tentacle, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Grim Fandango. Tim Schafer left Lucas Arts in 2000 due to “creative differences” and founded Double Fine studios, whose first game was Psychonauts, an underrated cult classic action/adventure platformer about a boy who runs away from home to avoid joining the circus and absconds to a summer camp for psychics. This game set Tim Schafer and Double Fine on their way to becoming one of the premier indie studios in the video game world today.
In reverence for Sony and their efforts to support the indie community and make it easier and more profitable for indie studios to produce games on the PlayStation 4, Tim Schafer, in an interview with EDGE Online, defended his position of supporting Sony:
“Sony has reached out to us, and asked us our opinions about what we’d like to see with new platforms, and they’ve been really good with indies – allowing them self-publish and entering into partnerships and stuff like that. Microsoft has been focused elsewhere up until now, I’ve kind of had my fingers crossed that hopefully they’ll change their minds about that, because I think it’s really critical. There are just too many options right now for indies as far as publishing goes. Steam is huge, mobile and all of those things are really profitable for indies, so there’s too many reasonable and successful alternatives for indies to look towards – we don’t really need to go through the arduous process of acquiring a publisher that we don’t need just to be on a certain platform. I hope [Microsoft figures] it out.” — Tim Schafer
(Quote pulled from a report on PlayStation Universe by Mike Harradence.
Sony’s big message with the PlayStation 4 reveal is that “Gamers come first on PlayStation 4”. While re-watching the PlayStation 4 reveal from last February, I noticed that the event was entirely about the games, not nifty tricks your console can do. “Games,” “gamer,” “developer,” and “indies” were uttered quite a bit, as if to remind people that the PlayStation 4 is, first and foremost, a video game console. And, in order to sync their message and really bring it home, Sony has been proactively reaching out to indie developers more. Sony, being a multimedia conglomerate with stakes in movies, music, pictures, hardware, software, TV, DVD, radio, video games, etc, has always has great third party relationships. It’s one of the reasons the original PlayStation was so successful, and that the PlayStation 2 is, to this day, the most popular video game console ever created. Sony, it seems, is setting the bar even higher for the PlayStation 4.
E3 is only a short ways away. Personally, I’m super excited to see what Sony’s going to bring to the table with the PlayStation 4. I’m hoping Double Fine has an appearance at E3 as well. Double Fine is my favorite indie studio, with Psychonauts being in my top 10 games of all time, and The Cave currently being by favorite indie game.
Does this news of Sony teaming up with indie studios like Double Fine excite you? What about Microsoft? There is a perfect opportunity for Microsoft to open themselves up to indie studios and undo some of this media damage since the reveal of the Xbox One, but it seems like they may miss that bus. Thoughts on all this? I now give you permission to comment below.