One of the unsung heroes of the industry, Double Fine has been behind such gems as Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Costume Quest, and The Cave. And, of course, Brutal Legend.
The studio branched off into publishing indie games in 2014 and help smaller studios gain exposure. Double Fine took a cut of overall revenue in return.
And then, E3 2019 rolled around and Microsoft announced they had acquired Double Fine. This brings Microsoft’s in-house studios to 15 studios, for anyone keeping count.
Schafer Steps In
Speaking to Destructoid recently, Double Fine founder Tim Schafer had the following to say;
“How Double Fine Presents will evolve is kind of an unknown. It doesn’t make sense to do exactly the kind of publishing stuff if we can’t do it– like if the platforms are limited. From a business sense, I don’t know if it structurally makes sense to have a publisher within [another publisher]. It’s a complicated issue.”
This isn’t to say that Double Fine Presents (the publishing arm for Double Fine) has to cease to exist. It merely means that the capacity to do so becomes slightly more complicated than before.
“Whether or not we’re still hands-on publishing those games ourselves, we can still be fulfilling that mission of just helping indie devs even though we’re a part of Microsoft.”
Microsoft Makes Their Mark
So, arguably, the decision might come down to Microsoft giving their approval or not. Speaking to Game Informer, Microsoft Studios boss Matt Booty revealed that they would consider allowing games to be released on other consoles. This, however, would be on a case-by-case basis. When Booty was asked if Microsoft would allow Double Fine to release future titles across different platforms, he replied; “Yeah, I think we would.”
Whether this means Microsoft will allow Double Fine to continue their Presents programme remains to be seen. However, Schafer expressed how the studio still has the desire to help indie developers in other ways.
“We can also still do things like Day of the Devs which is another part of Double Fine Presents that helps elevate 70 or 80 games, and we let people come meet those developers and play those games, and it’s free to the public,” Schafer added.
“It’s a great way to approach that same mission, and we can still do that without officially putting our name on it and taking a share of the revenue. We don’t have to do that anymore.”
What the future holds for Double Fine and Double Fine Presents remains to be seen. Microsoft’s recent acquisition of various studios has made several in the industry wary. However, until we know any different, we can at least look forward to Psychonauts 2, which is due out next year.