Clarifying a statement from earlier this week, Psychonauts creator Tim Schafer said that even though he doesn’t think fans should worry about game sales, that doesn’t mean developers shouldn’t be concerned with them.
On Monday, the buzz around the web was that Tim Schafer apparently wasn’t worried about whether a game would sell well or flop. Predictably, his statement was met with a mixture of admiration, derision, and more than a bit of confusion. After all, this was the man behind games like Psychonauts and Grim Fandango – critical hits to be sure, but with sales that were lukewarm at best.
Despite Schafer’s belief that the upcoming Brütal Legend would be an exponentially more marketable game than his previous ventures, this “Que Sera, Sera” attitude was puzzling. Surely actually selling games enables Schafer’s Double Fine studio to pay its employees, feed their families, and fund further development, right? How could a man not be concerned with being profitable?
As it turns out, well… looks like Schafer does worry about that sort of thing after all. As he says in a post on the Double Fine blog:
I think games sales matter a lot. I just think that the people who should worry about sales are the people who have vested financial interest in a game. If your money or livelihood is dependent on a game, then you should concern yourself with its sales. But if it isn’t, then you should try to relax and just enjoy playing them.
…And that’s why, unless it’s your money on the line, game sales don’t need to keep you up at night. The market and game executives do not dictate what games get made-They just dictate what gets made easily. They affect what can be made without a fight. As long as there are creative people out there willing to fight for ideas they care about, then there is nothing that the market or anyone else can do to stop them.
Well, folks, there we have it. Schafer isn’t totally devoid of economic sense after all. But while he and his team can worry about how well Brütal Legend will sell, all we have to worry about is playing it. I can live with that, Tim.