After many years of being independent, bouncing from various publishers to self-publishing the many variety of games they develop, developer Double Fine was one of the many studios swooped up by Microsoft in their buying spree over the last few years. Emotions and feelings are always mixed when things like this happen, since it most likely means going forward the once multiplatform developer will have their games now restricted to the Xbox ecosystem. The company’s latest release, the long in-development Psychonauts 2, is out now and the studio founder has thoughts on how they’ll fit into their parent company’s new strategy.
Talking to GamesIndustry Biz, Tim Schafer spoke in length about where he sees Double Fine going forward. While he acknowledges the fears around the subscription-based future, he sees it as an inevitable. He looks at the output Double Fine has done as a good fit for Microsoft’s Game Pass, however, and that it will ultimately find their audiences faster, saying they can continue to make surprising and original without worrying about their game competing financially with bigger releases.
“I think everything is moving in some form or another to subscriptions. That’s just a relationship with players which I think is really great for Double Fine, where we want to do something new and original and surprising, which means there might be a higher barrier of entry for players who don’t know what this is. And by lowering that barrier financially where it’s not a matter of buying one $70 game over another and it’s more about the time it takes to download them because they’re all up there on Game Pass, I think that’s a huge way for Double Fine games to find their audiences faster.”
If you are familiar with Double Fine’s output at all, you know that while the company has been something of a joy to follow and always managed to find interesting and offbeat voices, their games have often struggled to find audiences, and largely lead to them creating smaller scale titles as development moved to the HD era. The company’s latest game is Psychonauts 2, which you can read our review of through here, and it is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC, and of course is also available via Xbox Game Pass.