Legendary game designer Tim Schafer might’ve walked away empty handed at the British Academy Game Awards – Neil Druckmann won Best Story for The Last of Us: Left Behind, beating Schafer and Broken Age: Act 1 – but his fans didn’t suffer the same fate. In an interview after the ceremony, Schafer discussed his long and storied career, and mentioned two games he’d love to return to: Psychonauts and Brutal Legend.
Psychonauts, a 3D platformer about a group of psychic children at a troubled summer camp, was first released in 2005, when it was met with both critical acclaim and dismal sales. Since then, the game has gone on to become a cult classic, and its inventive platforming and Tim Burton-esque art style have aged surprisingly gracefully. Psychonauts fans are extremely passionate – Minecraft creator Marcus “Notch” Persson even offered to fund a sequel – and think that the world of Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp is ripe for more stories.
Schafer agrees. This isn’t the first time that Schafer has said that he’s ready for a Psychonauts sequel, should the opportunity ever arise, and he’s got lots of ideas. After all, every level in Psychonauts takes place in the psyche of a different character, making it an easy world to dive back into. “Psychonauts you can just imagine,” he says. “You can just keep creating more brains every time you meet somebody and wonder what the world inside their brain looks like.”
Schafer also expressed interest in revisiting Brutal Legend, Double Fine’s heavy-metal-inspired strategy/action title. Unlike Psychonauts, Brutal Legend wasn’t an instant classic, and most critics agreed that the gameplay didn’t live up to the standards set by the energetic and well-realized world.
There’s a reason for that. According to Schafer, “we had to throw away half that game to get it done two years late,” meaning that a sequel would be a pretty easy proposition: just take all those missing gameplay elements, and throw them back in. Besides, Schafer notes, a new Brutal Legend “would be a great excuse to work with Jack [Black] again.”
However, Schafer nixed the idea of ever doing a sequel to Grim Fandango, which just saw a remastered edition come out on Sony platforms and home computers. Schafer thinks that skeleton-detective Manny’s story is “done,” and he’s not sure if he wants “to go back down that road with someone who isn’t Manny.”
Of course, ideally Schafer and Double Fine will spend their most of their time working on something new. Schafer is one of the best and most experienced digital storytellers around, and whatever he comes up with next is sure to be exciting. Broken Age: Act 2’s release date should come any day now. After that, it’s not clear what Schafer will be working on, but whatever it is, it’s likely to be amazing.