Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions is a stud. I mean, this is the guy who gave us Psychonauts! Grim Fandango! Day of the Tentacle! Full Throttle! If I ever meet him I will kiss him. He probably wouldn’t appreciate it, but still.
But I don’t think Tim will kiss Bobby Kotick, Activision/Blizzard CEO and asshole. There is no love there. But Tim is a nice guy and has apologized for calling Kotick a “prick,” which he totally is.
Tim’s Double Fine Productions studio has been through some rough spots. Psychonauts only wound up selling well after a Steam sale (that saw it shoot up to #2 in total units moved); his latest game, Brutal Legend, received middling reviews and didn’t do great at retail.
His studio was cut off during the Activision/Blizzard/Sierra/Vivendi merger, and Double Fine bolted to EA for publication of Brutal Legend. Activision, thinking it might have killed a goose that was gold, started carpet-bombing with lawsuits. Short version: Double Fine won, kept its IP, and published Brutal Legend through EA, which went on to be a disappointment, sales-wise.
Anyhoo, Schafer recently did an interview with Eurogamer, in which he calls A/B CEO Bobby Kotick a dick. And a prick. He suggests, and I agree wholeheartedly, that Mr. Kotick might be happier selling ball bearings, or bars of soap – products where creativity isn’t an issue. He said Kotick doesn’t like games. He said that you don’t need to behave the way Kotick does to succeed in the industry.
This was like a day or two before he gave a keynote speech at the Develop conference, and he very loosely apologized for his remarks. Very loosely. By saying that Kotick was Darth Vader. Well, implying it, is more like.
That’s the kind of apology we like to hear!
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What about Cliffski vs. Epic? http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/?p=769
Develop was quite the crazy horn-locking session this year. I wish I’d been there.
Assuming it really went down the way Cliff Harris says it did – and since there are plenty of people who were there and no one has disputed his account I imagine it did – then Mark Rein is in fact a jerk. At what point does your ego grow so big that you heckle and lecture a panel of speakers from the audience? I’d expect that from teenage griefers, not a high-powered industry executive.
Cliff Bleszinski has suggested that maybe Rein was just disputing Harris’s argument that indie developers have more direct customer contact than the big developers, but even then, there’s a right and wrong way to do it.
I’m glad that Mr. Schafer has an upcoming project in the works.
Day of the Tentacle was one of my favourite games as a kid, Full Throttle was great too, but I still have yet to finish Psychonauts, which I really should do.
It’s on The List.
“He suggests, and I agree wholeheartedly, that Mr. Kotick might be happier selling ball bearings, or bars of soap – products where creativity isn’t an issue.”
I dont know about that…take for example Grim Fandango, years in the making, and…art design, while being whole, obviously wasnt fitted to a GAME, and actual gameplay outside of non-interactive cutscenes consisted of two whole hours ? Thats a crappy product you’re selling, Tim.
Ouch! Not sure how many you’ll find who agree with that, Karry, but to each their own.
But more importantly, even if the game-ness of Grim Fandango was in question, it was nonetheless a masterpiece of creativity. I think what Schafer was arguing is that creativity requires a certain ecosystem to thrive, and Kotick neither understands that, or works to foster that ecosystem. Quite the opposite, in fact.
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