It’s always nice to finally see a great piece of entertainment get the recognition it deserves. In this case, Double Fine’s cult-classic Psychonauts has finally become the commercial success that many had hoped it would always be.
Speaking with Kotaku, Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has discussed his company’s move to self-publishing and crowd-funding. Recent games like Broken Age have been able to make it through the development process because of fan contributions, but a large part of the funding also comes from Double Fine now being able to make some cash flow through the digital distribution of its older games.
“The Kickstarter was obviously a huge new way of doing things, but the biggest change was going into self-publishing where all those games you were saying didn’t do well, they actually sold fine for someone who was doing self-publishing…
…So now that we have the publishing rights for those games back, they make us a lot of money that we used to invest back into Broken Age.”
Tim Schafer offers up Psychonauts‘ success as an example the small company sees under its new identity.
“Psychonauts has been out so long and developed such a cult following that every time there’s a Steam sale it’s generating a bunch of money for us. The scale of those sales makes the most sense for a company of our size. It might not be a blip on the radar for a company like Microsoft or EA or a huge company like that, but, for us, it allows us to make a thriving business off of creative ideas and inspiration-driven development.
We made more money off of Psychonauts in the last two years than we ever did before – mostly because we didn’t have the publishing rights.”
Later in the interview, Schafer still says he’s pushing to reclaim the rights to his older classics like Grim Fandango and Full Throttle from Disney, who picked them up in the purchase of LucasArts, but he is having trouble doing so.
“I would like to have them be available so people could buy them instead of pirate them if they wanted to. They don’t even have that option now. And I think if someone were going to do a nice version of it, it should be us. If someone was going to do a nice version of Grim [Fandango], I think it should be us.
We want to do it and we have talked to them. We’ve always talked to whoever had the rights and we’ll see. I’ll never give up. Someday someone will slip and accidentally give me…”
Have you gotten around to playing Psychonauts yet? The insanely cheap prices you can find it for nowadays almost feel like stealing. Check it out the next time a Steam sale rolls around.