Double Fine Seeking Rights to "Own Everything" It Makes

Double Fine Seeking Rights to "Own Everything" It Makes

Costume Quest Screen

Citing "emotional attachment" and a need to "tidy things up," Double Fine's Tim Schafer wants the studio to have all rights to its games.

Double Fine head honcho Tim Schafer has been pretty vocal about the importance of the studio owning its games. Since getting back the distribution rights to Psychonauts, Double Fine has attempted to regain control of its other intellectual property. It was one of the many parties interested in THQ's property when the publisher dissolved earlier this year, but ultimately the distribution rights to Costume Quest and Stacking ended up elsewhere. Double Fine is still working on getting them back, however, as well as a few other games it's developed in an attempt to "tidy up things."

In an interview with Polygon, Schafer said that he wanted Costume Quest and Stacking, now distributed by Nordic Games, back at Double Fine, though not necessarily for financial reasons. The royalties from the downloadable titles is "not, like, a lot of money," according to Schafer. However, the studio is on a "mission" to "own everything that we make," and those games are "this loose end that kind of bothers me."

A similar interview in Game Informer revealed that Double Fine was also hoping to get back the rights to games that weren't part of the THQ fallout. "We're trying to get the Brütal Legend IP from EA, and we're interested in Iron Brigade coming back in," Schafer said.

It's interesting to see how Double Fine's approach to its games has changed in the last few years. Its last big-budget console game, Brütal Legend, suffered as publishers Activision and EA duked it out in court over the game. Since then, the studio has changed gears, creating smaller downloadable games and even turning to Kickstarter to fund a new project. Schafer notes that an "emotional attachment" to Double Fine's games puts the developer at a disadvantage while negotiating. "They can still say, 'Well, how much do you want it for?' and it's, like, 'Aw, you know this isn't valuable to you.' It's valuable to me, but not for business reasons, in a sense."

Just because Double Fine regains the rights to its games doesn't mean it plans on making any sequels; since the studio owns the Costume Quest and Stacking IP, it could already continue those series. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice to see sequels to those games, and maybe even a Brütal Legend follow-up that isn't overshadowed by publisher shenanigans. Hey, I can dream, right?

Source: Polygon, Game Informer

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I would definitely buy a Brutal Legend or Costume Quest sequel if they made either.

Costume Quest sequel would be glorious.

But if any IP should return to Double Fine, it should be Iron Brigade. Being owned by MSFT is preventing them from patching it properly and tying its online to GFWL is a death sentence.

Well they aught to really: bit ridiculous own the IP but not the distribution rights.

Constume Quest: 2 SUPAH COSTUUUME QUESTO!

I need this in my life... like right now.

Wait, what? Then who's doing the Humble Double Fine Bundle right now?

Double Fine is, but probably part of the profits go to the respective publishers of the games they don't own the full copyright to. Which is probably part of the reason why they want those rights back, they need every penny they can get to complete Broken Age.

deathbydeath:
Wait, what? Then who's doing the Humble Double Fine Bundle right now?

Well since they do not own all of those games or the distribution rights it has to be a collaboration. Its actually really funny since it points out one of the flaws about those humble bundles. A lot of the time you are not giving money to who you think you are. I remember EA owning the distribution rights to a game in one of the humble indie bundles and once again money is going to EA from Brutal Legend being in there.

Little Gray:

deathbydeath:
Wait, what? Then who's doing the Humble Double Fine Bundle right now?

Well since they do not own all of those games or the distribution rights it has to be a collaboration. Its actually really funny since it points out one of the flaws about those humble bundles. A lot of the time you are not giving money to who you think you are. I remember EA owning the distribution rights to a game in one of the humble indie bundles and once again money is going to EA from Brutal Legend being in there.

No, I remember a statement made somewhere that it all goes to Double Fine.

I don't know what witchcraft they used to get Brutal Legend on there, and frankly, I don't want to know.

lacktheknack:
No, I remember a statement made somewhere that it all goes to Double Fine.

I don't know what witchcraft they used to get Brutal Legend on there, and frankly, I don't want to know.

Schafer: "Hey guys, let me do a Humble Bundle and I'll shave my beard!"

Everyone: "This I gotta see."

It always baffles me that studios will cling to IP's they specifically plan on doing nothing with, rendering them essentially worthless from a business standpoint.

I understand that they'd want to sell the IP & make some money, but they're just sitting on them. It is worth literally zero to them, unless they take a personal glee from keeping things like Psychonauts 2 or System Shock 3 from us/me

 

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