At E3 2019, Microsoft announced that they’d acquired Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions of Psychonauts fame, adding one more reputable developer to their ever-growing lineup of first parties at Xbox Game Studios. Schafer recently got to talking about the acquisition, and in an interview with Game Informer, revealed that talks between the two parties hadn’t originally started as discussions about a possible acquisition.
Though that’s the direction that talks ultimately went in, Schafer said that he was initially concerned about what an acquisition might do to Double Fine’s identity and culture, but when he realized that they’d be able to retain their identity and their independence while also having the assurances of financial backing by Microsoft, he quickly hopped onboard.
“We weren’t really looking to get acquired, but we were talking about other things and [Microsoft] mentioned they were doing this with other companies and those other companies seem like they have very strong identities, like Ninja Theory,” said Schafer. “These aren’t companies that are looking to make money on Microsoft products. We asked [Microsoft] why they were looking to acquire companies, and they talked about creating diverse, wide ranging content for Game Pass.”
“I was very concerned about our culture and identity,,” he continued. “They explained the new way they’re doing these acquisitions with unplugged studios that are not integrated into Microsoft. They’re left alone, they do their own thing and stay independent, but are well funded. It sounds like a good deal.”
Schafer went on to talk about how, in his view, the deal is perfect for Double Fine, because they get to keep on doing what they have been doing, while also not having to worry about funding for their future projects any longer.
“I think it’s perfect for us, because we can just focus on doing our inspired weird games, and not worry about how we’re going to get our next deal,” said Schafer. “We aren’t chasing down our next funding and thinking about how many more months of funding we have all the time.”
Double Fine are currently working on the long-awaited platformer Psychonauts 2, which was crowdfunded before their acquisition, and as such is scheduled to launch across the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It recently got delayed to 2020.