Surfing across the internet yesterday I came upon un trésor
: An interview with le Schafer en français
. (For those of you who don't know, this is French
and not a monkey typing on a keyboard, although it may seem that way to vulgar animals such as le English
So I decided to start translating it using my mad translating skillz
but I stopped halway through when I realised how inadequate my English is. Mock my attempt:
"jeuxvideo.com > Tim Schafer, you worked on some of the references of the plays d' adventures (Monkey Island 1 & 2, Day off the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango) before leaving LucasArts to create your own company DoubleFine Productions with which you left Psychonauts. This last n' was not a play d' venture strictly speaking but a title d' action/platforms s' supporting on an excellent scenario and a direction of l' twisted enough humour. Precisely, by looking at your course, it is obvious that l' humour occupies a very important place in each one of your plays. Do you consider l' humour like l' one of the keys to success in a play? Would you be therefore to work on a project known as " sérieux" who wouldn't contain any joke, nor element of comedy?"
You may weep openly for this interview you will never read.
Unless...Well, if anyone here is awesome enough to translate this interview
from French to English (that foul, vulgar language), then you will have the thanks of Mojo and the maniacal fans of Tim Schafer. I would do it myself mon ami
, but my English is a little faible
: Everyone, I want you to say, "Thank you GuybrushtheDwarf for translating the interview, and doing it so well." Thank you GuybrushtheDwarf, for translating the interview, and doing it so well! Thank you so very, very, very much! All I can say is that if I were a hot girl, I'd be totally attracted to you right now and think you were sexy. That's right.
To everyone else: to read the interview, just continue reading below.
<:MORENEWS:> Once again, Mojo did not conduct this interview. It was done by these nice folks and translated by the awesome Guybrushthedwarf. Read on!:
Tim Schafer hasn't made a lot of games in the last decade. In fact, he's only made a single one: Psychonauts, in 2006. His name has however going around since the Vivendi-Activision merger. His forthcoming game Brütal Legend was included in the batch of games that were left on the side of the road by Sierra after the transaction and whose future remained uncertain. Today, Schafer and his team can relax, as Electronic Arts saved Brütal Legend from its fate and the game is now announced for Fall 09 on PS3 and Xbox360. Reassured, Tim Schafer let us in on the game development during a phone call.
jeuxvideo.com > Tim Schafer, you worked on a lot of seminal adventure games (Monkey Island 1 & 2, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle et Grim Fandango) before leaving LucasArts to found your own company DoubleFine Production, with whom you released Psychonauts. This title wasn't an adventure game per-say but more of an action platformer rooted in an excellent scenario and a twisted sense of humour. By the way, looking back at your career, humour obviously plays an important part in your games. Would you say humour is the key to the success of a game? Would you be get involved in a so-called 'serious' game which would contain neither jokes, nor comedic elements?
It is not something I plan ahead of time. I like comedy, and so do the people I work with. We like to have fun when we create our games and inserting things in our titles that make us laugh at work comes naturally. In fact, we try to entertain ourselves first thus most of these things end up in our games. Even if we tried to craft something serious, we'd end up turning it into comedy. Brütal Legend is the perfect example of that. Like Full Throttle, in fact. The characters of these games aren't comedy characters. They remain serious through the whole story. But sometimes this is where the comedy comes from.
jeuxvideo.com > How would you define Double Fine Productions's games?
We focus on innovation and creativity. My main goal and my team's is to create brand new and amazing universes that players have never roamed before. Universes with their own rules and protagonists they can relate to as soon as they start playing.
jeuxvideo.com > You said times and times again that it would be fun to develop sequels to your old games from the 90's but that it would be impossible since you don't own the rights to these [they belong to LucasArts]. So why haven't you built a sequel on Psychonauts instead of a creating a brand new world for Brütal Legend? That would have been much simpler, even more so for an independent game studio like Double Fine.
It's always simpler to do the same thing over and and over again. But that goes against our creative nature, which is constantly pushes us toward producing something new. I think it's fun and enjoyable to offer players something new. As a matter of fact, that's even beneficial for the whole game industry. I'm not against sequels. If a worthy opportunity should arise, I would do a sequel. I'm always having these ideas for sequels, but at the same time, I've always had new ideas that I decided to explore first. Maybe one day we'll manage to produce two games at a time at DoubleFine, then we'll see...
jeuxvideo.com > What's the greatest challenge you're facing as an independent studio?
Our greatest challenge is linked to our will to remain a small structure bound by a quasi family spirit yet able to create great games. We wish to create games that stand the comparison with the best titles of the market while limiting our team-size in order to not lose our identity. We thus need to be careful and be smart when we develop our games so that they look like they've been made by a team of a thousand people when we did it with half a hundred.
jeuxvideo.com > Where did the idea for Brütal legend come from?
For years, I've been gathering ideas that ended up in this game. During my career, there always was something else to do first and this was never the right time to “implement” these. However, I knew that one day I would make a game in a extreme fantasy world such as Brütal Legend's. I wondered how this game would be called and I found the title Brütal Legend more than 10 years ago. Since then, I've always wanted to make a game called Brütal legend. I love this title! I've been following the elements that would make this game for a while: heavy metal, hot rods...I've scratched my head about all that for years and then, at the end of Psychonauts' production, it seemed to me that the technology was finally there and that I had the experience to create the title.
jeuxvideo.com > Hoagie from Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and now Brütal Legend; you do have an obsession toward heavy metal...
That's true. Even back in the Day of the Tentacle days, I met a guy who was a roadie for a heavy metal band. He had so many unbelievable stories to tell that I immediately thought he'd make an awesome character with his peculiar vantage point on the rock scene that fascinates so many of us. A roadie gets the opportunity to see the glamour of a rock star but also gets the dirty work done. He's the one carrying the amplifiers or cleaning spilled beers. In fact, it's thanks to him that the magic is happening. I always wanted to make something out of this kind of character. My first attempt was Hoagie from Day of the Tentacle. It's true it was more of a comedy-oriented character that appealed to the player because he was pretending to tear the head of hamsters, but the core idea was already there. Long before Brütal Legend, [the roadie] already was a backstage guy, hidden behind the rock star. The one who gets the job done, who gains nothing from it, but who's the true hero.
jeuxvideo.com > It seems music doesn't only serve the story of Brütal Legend but also the core gameplay. The official site tells us that it would possible to trigger guitar solos to defeat ennemies. Can you tell us more about this?
You'll have to wait a while before this particular point is revealed. All I can say is that music really is part of the core gameplay and that our hero Eddie Riggs always wear an axe and a guitar on his back.
jeuxvideo.com > Jack Black plays Eddie Riggs, the main character of Brütal Legend. Were you thinking of him when you began writing the game?
Yes, working with Jack Black really inspired us on the game a lot. His movie, Tenacious D [& The Pick of Destiny] was very rock 'n roll and really funny. Same goes for School of Rock. Those things inspired us a lot. It never occurred to me that we could actually have him but we were hoping that, at least, he would like our game since we got all these things from him. And then, we ended up meeting him and he turned out to like what we did. So, from first inspiration he went on to be a full-blown collaborator.
jeuxvideo.com > After being dropped consequently by the Vivendi/Activision merger, how did you get the moral and motivation of your team up and continue development?
We only work on games that are dear to our hearts and in which we get totally involved and that we love. I've got a team of very passionate people that really make the project their own.
It is their game. During this troubled period, the team never felt the game was done for. On the contrary, they got got even more involved in order to make Brütal Legend as good as possible. This goes to show the deep engagement of our team toward the project. So we kept on working and we got the chance to show the game to EA. The good news is that they liked it just the way it was. They were really receptive to the characters, to the fantasy setting and to all that we showed them, in the end. The fact that our work please to these people and that EA Partners already housed others studio that one can only rave about , gave us the guarantee that we found the perfect partner for this game.
jeuxvideo.com > Will having EA beside you influence the development in any way?
I think it will make the development even better and allow more people to hear about our game. I love Brütal Legend and I'm looking forward to showing the game to a greater number of people thanks to EA.
jeuxvideo.com> Thanks, M. Schafer
.And you, Guybrushthedwarf!