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?