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Double Fine explain lack of PC, Wii releases

Double Fine explain lack of PC, Wii releases

Double Fine's Tim Schafer says risk-averse publishers are to blame for the lack of PC releases.

Double Fine founder Tim Schafer has explained to fans why there are few PC versions of the studios games, which include Brutal Legend, pinning the blame firmly on risk-averse publishers.

The comments come in a new FAQ on Double Fine's official site, where Schafer lays out why the developer doesn't have control of target platforms for the games it makes.

'As a developer we do not have final say in the SKU plan for our games,' wrote Scahfer. 'That is the decision of the person investing the money, i.e. the publisher.'

'We have much of the technology in place to produce PC versions of all these games, but there is still some more work required to make them shippable and that costs money. So far, our publishers have not elected to fund that work. Not because they hate PC gamers, but because they don't see enough financial reward.'

Schafer pledged that, if Double Fine ever got 'super stinking rich' then it would go back and release old games on other platforms. He also singled out the Nintendo Wii as a platform he would like to work on, but hasn't had a chance to.

'Double Fine would love to make something for Nintendo's fine machine, but it's not up to us. I personally would have loved to make Psychonauts for the Game Cube. Well, not literally me personally. I would have loved to tell someone else to make it, and I would have loved to watch them do it, and I would have loved yelling, "Faster! Faster!" as they worked.'

Elsewhere in the FAQ, Schafer also talks about the likelihood of ever working on sequels for Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle or Full Throttle. Ultimately, it comes down to licensing concerns, with Schafer hinting that it's unlikely he'd ever end up working on those games. There are currently still no plans for sequels to Brutal Legend or Psychonauts, either.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

18 Comments

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Flibblebot 25th November 2010, 11:53 Quote
Presumably the licences for Grim Fandango etc. are still owned by LucasArts, which is why he's unlikely to work on sequels. Although, that said, Telltale managed to do it with the Monkey Island franchises - not sure what the arrangement between Lucas & Telltale was, though.

Lucas seem to be uninterested in anything that doesn't involve raping the crap out of the Star Wars universe.
wuyanxu 25th November 2010, 12:10 Quote
this is where nvidia come in :)

and this is something the PC gaming alliance should work towards.
Grape Flavor 25th November 2010, 12:34 Quote
obligatory Give us Psychonauts 2! On PC too of course!
B1GBUD 25th November 2010, 13:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
obligatory Give us Psychonauts 2! On PC too of course!

Not yet please... I'm still to finish the first one!
mastorofpuppetz 25th November 2010, 14:46 Quote
No one in the PC wordl is stepping up to fund some Pc games, not even those who direclly benerift i'e AMD, Nvidia, intel. idiots. Microsoft are a terrible company, IMO. No innovation, relying on buying third party exclusives and timed DLC, they dont make 1 first party game, living off their one real claim to fame, windows.
schmidtbag 25th November 2010, 15:15 Quote
from what i've heard, the main problem about pc development is pirates. although that is a legitimate reason for companies to not want to put much effort in pc games - ITS THEIR OWN DAMN FAULT. seriously, if blizzard didn't do that stupid fake code for starcraft 1, even they had a sense of how to effectively stop piracy over 10 years ago. the reason they are so wealthy is because they make great games and you can't easily pirate them and do whatever you want. i just don't understand where companies think that stupid randomly generated code you type in works - it does nothing! they get cracked within a few hours.

as i see it, if a company is a afraid of piracy, either come up with a GOOD and EFFECTIVE form of antipiracy, or shut the hell up and be fair to everyone. pc users shouldn't be punished because a company is too lazy to protect themselves. just look at microsoft - they were bragging about how windows 7 should be more difficult to pirate, yet it got pirated BEFORE it was even released in stores!

i noticed some companies are creating physical anti-piracy methods where you have to plug in a usb dongle in order to use the program. to me, this a GREAT idea - computers these days are flourished with usb ports, and if you had a bajillion of these dongles one day, you could just get a usb hub for them - its not like they'll be very demanding.
Zurechial 25th November 2010, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag

as i see it, if a company is a afraid of piracy, either come up with a GOOD and EFFECTIVE form of antipiracy, or shut the hell up and be fair to everyone.

Easier said than done. It's all well and good to say "come up with a better form of antipiracy", but the developers will tell you (and they're probably honest about it too) that they've been coming up with different methods for the past 30 years and it isn't as easy as clicking your fingers to get it done.
That said, the better systems are already out there, such as Steam; but everything has its downsides and it can't please everyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag

i noticed some companies are creating physical anti-piracy methods where you have to plug in a usb dongle in order to use the program. to me, this a GREAT idea - computers these days are flourished with usb ports, and if you had a bajillion of these dongles one day, you could just get a usb hub for them - its not like they'll be very demanding.

If you ever had to use these regularly you'd know they're a pain in the arse. USB dongles for anti-piracy are very popular in professional applications (Music production, CAD & Graphic design software) and almost anyone who has to deal with them gets sick of them quickly.
Unless you managed to get every company using the same licence management software to interact with the dongles then you'd end up with a ton of bloatware and crappy drivers infesting your system just to cover the various systems in use. It only adds to the typical bullshit and clutter we're expected to fill our PCs with.

Plus, they're no more pirate-proof than CD-protection. There are dongle emulator applications out there that install a dummy driver and present the application with a faked licence to trick it into working without the physical dongle; while in other cases the pirates just crack the code of the main executable to remove its reliance on the dongle, just the same as CD cracks but slightly more involved.
schmidtbag 25th November 2010, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag

as i see it, if a company is a afraid of piracy, either come up with a GOOD and EFFECTIVE form of antipiracy, or shut the hell up and be fair to everyone.

Easier said than done. It's all well and good to say "come up with a better form of antipiracy", but the developers will tell you (and they're probably honest about it too) that they've been coming up with different methods for the past 30 years and it isn't as easy as clicking your fingers to get it done.
That said, the better systems are already out there, such as Steam; but everything has its downsides and it can't please everyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag

i noticed some companies are creating physical anti-piracy methods where you have to plug in a usb dongle in order to use the program. to me, this a GREAT idea - computers these days are flourished with usb ports, and if you had a bajillion of these dongles one day, you could just get a usb hub for them - its not like they'll be very demanding.

If you ever had to use these regularly you'd know they're a pain in the arse. USB dongles for anti-piracy are very popular in professional applications (Music production, CAD & Graphic design software) and almost anyone who has to deal with them gets sick of them quickly.
Unless you managed to get every company using the same licence management software to interact with the dongles then you'd end up with a ton of bloatware and crappy drivers infesting your system just to cover the various systems in use. It only adds to the typical bullshit and clutter we're expected to fill our PCs with.

Plus, they're no more pirate-proof than CD-protection. There are dongle emulator applications out there that install a dummy driver and present the application with a faked licence to trick it into working without the physical dongle; while in other cases the pirates just crack the code of the main executable to remove its reliance on the dongle, just the same as CD cracks but slightly more involved.

well obviously it is easier said than done because otherwise we'd have more effective methods being used by now, but nobody has come up with completely new methods of antipiracy, which is my point. using those stupid codes clearly don't work and never have. even if you tie the code to something else like a CD, its still going to get cracked anyway; theres almost no way out of it. steam is pretty effective, but its also an alternative - you don't have to use steam to play most games.

i actually haven't used one of the usb dongles, but i don't see why they'd be a pain if you just kept them plugged in. its a shame that they're not more protected than cd protection, i would have thought that whoever invented the idea wouldn't make it so easy to just simply create a virtual dongle.

anyways, like i said earlier, blizzard is just about the only company i can think of that has created very effective forms of antipiracy. they allowed their games to be played offline, but online they made it difficult, and thats where people tend to enjoy their games the most. just about every computer these days has an internet connection, if companies want an effective form of antipiracy, they'll make it so only 1 computer can be registered to use the program at a time. so if someone else logs in with the same account number, the account number can be considered void and not used again, making it impossible to pirate.
AstralWanderer 25th November 2010, 16:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
obligatory Give us Psychonauts 2! On PC too of course!
Amen to that. Sadly, I suspect Double Fine's previous problem with a certain publisher may have had a role to play in their recent release schedule.

As for PC piracy - it could be a factor but there are plenty of others involved also which to me, makes piracy more of a convenient scapegoat. These other factors include:
  • major price drops in PC games after a couple of months (to allow retailers to clear shelves for new stock - this however kills off the longer term profitability of games);
  • huge variety in PC hardware/software configuration, requiring greater testing before release and more support after release (patches, etc);
  • greater competition with the PC having a longer lifespan, more commercial software and more freeware (including mods to existing games) than any console (even the richest gamer has limits on the time they can spend playing);
  • the rise of MMOs, principally though not exclusively a PC phenomena.
leveller 25th November 2010, 18:12 Quote
Let's be clear, if a publisher thinks a game will make money on the PC then they will give the OK to go ahead.
Yslen 25th November 2010, 19:01 Quote
Hold on, Valve makes enormous piles of cash... why don't they start funding game development as a publisher? That way they could have titles exclusive to the steam platform, other than the ones they make themselves...
AstralWanderer 25th November 2010, 23:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yslen
Hold on, Valve makes enormous piles of cash... why don't they start funding game development as a publisher? That way they could have titles exclusive to the steam platform, other than the ones they make themselves...
They do have exclusives - Civilization V and Napoleon Total War being two examples. However asking for more could be a dangerous thing - Valve already has the ability to close your account and block you from your Steam collection, so do you really think it a good thing to have more exclusives?
Helz 26th November 2010, 04:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
obligatory Give us Psychonauts 2! On PC too of course!

Not yet please... I'm still to finish the first one!

That's the problem. Everyone wants to play Schafer's games, but nobody ever does. Double Fine is simply cursed. Their games are always brilliant, but they never sell.

Before Brutal Legend, you could argue that their games simply weren't marketed properly. That one even had Jack Black when he was still popular, but it didn't matter. It sold poorly, as their games always do. I feel for Schafer, but you've got to give the guy credit for never giving up.
r4tch3t 26th November 2010, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
They do have exclusives - Civilization V and Napoleon Total War being two examples. However asking for more could be a dangerous thing - Valve already has the ability to close your account and block you from your Steam collection, so do you really think it a good thing to have more exclusives?
So basically if Paypal screws you over and tells Steam you are committing fraud it's Steams fault? In pretty much all those cases it was Paypal refuting a payment for whatever reason. They just need to contact Paypal and not let up until it is resolved. Steam has millions of users and they have these methods in place to prevent people committing fraud, if it was a mistake you can get it fixed, just keep at it.
AstralWanderer 26th November 2010, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
So basically if Paypal screws you over and tells Steam you are committing fraud it's Steams fault?
Yes, when Valve chooses to disable an entire account (which could have several hundred pounds/dollars value of games linked to it) over a single purchase, instead of just disabling the item in dispute.

This also means that your consumer rights to seek a refund over an unsatisfactory product are compromised - when purchasing by credit card you have the option (and a legal right in the UK) to request a chargeback from the credit card company if the merchant fails to meet their obligations. Try that with Steam and bye-bye account.
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
In pretty much all those cases it was Paypal refuting a payment for whatever reason. They just need to contact Paypal and not let up until it is resolved. Steam has millions of users and they have these methods in place to prevent people committing fraud, if it was a mistake you can get it fixed, just keep at it.
Banks handle fraud in a (mostly) consumer-centric fashion by refunding the amount in dispute pending an investigation. There's no reason for Paypal to do any differently and no justification for Valve/Steam to treat their customers as "criminals by default".

This is one reason why I wouldn't touch Steam (and similar systems) with a bargepole, since I expect my consumer rights to be respected. Any continued growth in "Steam exclusives" however makes that a harder choice and threatens the freedom/choice of gamers generally.
r4tch3t 26th November 2010, 12:29 Quote
I do agree that they could just disable the game/games in question.
But I can also see why they would ban the entire account as if one game was bought fraudulently then the rest probably followed suit. I don't know if this is a huge problem, as I haven't actually seen too many people complaining about it, but they probably should have something in place to remedy it easier. But it still, from my point of view, seems to be Paypals fault, with Valve just having a generic rule for fraud. I would probably ask Valve to put a bit of though into this and have a system in place to reverse it if it was a mistake.
Xir 26th November 2010, 14:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helz
That one even had Jack Black when he was still popular, but it didn't matter. It sold poorly, as their games always do. I feel for Schafer, but you've got to give the guy credit for never giving up.
Actually, for me that's a reason NOT to play it...there are little "actors" I find as annoying as Jack Black.
AstralWanderer 26th November 2010, 19:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
... if one game was bought fraudulently then the rest probably followed suit.
Paypal doesn't reverse payments only cases of fraud - they reverse them on the slightest whiff of something different, like you making a payment from a different IP address or ISP (as noted in the third link). When I used Paypal, I had 2 payments reversed for no good reason (requiring me to pay via other means) so I now avoid them.

Also note the fourth link was nothing to do with Paypal or (alleged) fraud. This makes it even more arbitrary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
I don't know if this is a huge problem, as I haven't actually seen too many people complaining about it...
See for yourself.
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