Tim Schafer on PS4: “We’ve got guys playing with the features to see what we can do with it”
Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has been speaking about the studio’s contact with PS4, saying that Sony approached them and asked what they wanted from “this new box”, adding, “we’ve already got some guys playing with some of the new features to see what we can do with it.”
Double Fine on PS4
Speaking to Schafer at this year’s PAX East he told me, “Let me just say we’ve been talking with Sony, can I say that? I don’t know, I think I might get in trouble”. Apparently the studio was approached by Sony directly, something that he considers unusual, “because we’re not Bungie, or let me put that in PlayStation terms, we’re not Insomniac”.
This initial contact seems to be more about stirring up interest and creativity than anything else. Schafer says, “This is one of the first times where we’ve been approached by a platform holder like Sony and asked, ‘first, what do you guys want from this new box? We have this new feature, what could you do with it?’” He then admits, “We’ve already got some guys playing with some of the new features to see what we can do with it”.
It looks like Sony’s ‘developer first’ PS4 strategy might be a winner here because when I talked about how it was being clever by focusing on what studios wanted, and approaching names like Jonathan Blow, he replied: “Yeah, I mean it’s not that hard to win over developers because all we want is to be treated with just a little bit of reason. Because often you just get told the most unreasonable, crazy things and you’re like ‘really? That’s how you’re going to treat us?’ Just doing things like letting us patch our games when we want to, put our games on sale and release our games in territories that they should be released in – just doing a few things like that can make a developer very enamored of you”.
Double Fine have been pursuing a self publishing route recently with titles like Stacking and The Cave on PSN and it doesn’t sound like that’s going to be changing anytime soon. When I asked Schafer if there was no going back to the more traditional publisher/developer relationship he laughed, “You can’t put us back in the bottle now, the genie’s out!”