LOS ANGELES – “We’ve been independent for the past 19 years. Then Microsoft came up to us and said, ‘What if we gave you a bunch of money?’ And I said ‘OK, yes.'”
That was the just kidding Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts† Brutal legend† broken age) founder and president Tim Schafer introduced the company’s newly announced acquisition of Microsoft Game Studios. Schafer took the stage at Microsoft’s pre-show conference ready to joke about the new partnership with head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty.
“I’m a team player,” Schafer said on the podium. “Whatever you need from Double Fine, we’ll make it for you. Halo stuff, forza stuff, excel stuff. Whatever you want, we’re here.”
“Tim, we just want you to make great games,” Booty said.
In posted a slightly more serious video on twitter, Schafer clarified that the company’s “existing obligations” will continue to be met after the acquisition. That includes providing versions of Psychonauts 2 to crowdfunders on the platform they originally chose. In the future, however, the company will focus on “Xbox, Game Pass and PC,” Schafer said.
Schafer was also clear in his commitment that a Microsoft subsidiary wouldn’t change the kind of games Double Fine makes, or change the “unique spirit” the company has acquired.
“Microsoft wants us to be who we are and the kind of games we already make,” he said. “The thought of being able to develop” [those ideas] without dragging them around the world, pitching them to every publisher in existence is really fun to think about.” Psychonauts after a 2004 publishing deal with Microsoft fell through and Schafer’s long search for Psychonauts 2 then financing.
The news comes a year after Microsoft bought Undead Labs (State of dissolution), playground games (Forza Horizon), Ninja theory (hellblade) and Duress Games (We Happy Few) for its first-party lineup. Microsoft now has 14 different Xbox Game Studios and unveiled 14 different exclusive games from those developers at this year’s pre-E3 conference.
While the news was accompanied by a brand new trailer for Psychonauts 2today’s announcement didn’t mention RADthe roguelite action game that Double Fine has been working on as part of a publishing deal with Bandai Namco Games.