Hi! I'm here to answer all you questions, which I expect to mainly be about my beard. But any questions are welcome!

My Proof: https://twitter.com/TimOfLegend/status/685279234504261634

EDIT: Since some of these questions involve details about Fig, I'll let Fig's CEO /u/Fig_JUSTIN_BAILEY answer some of those.

EDIT: Hi everybody! Thanks for all the great questions! I'm moving on to our livestream today for the FINAL HOURS of our PSYCHONAUTS 2 www.fig.co Campaign. Come watch us at www.twitch.tv/doublefine

Comments: 3409 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

DramDemon2744 karma

How does it feel having an all-time great voice acting legend, James Willems, audition to be in Psychonauts 2?

EDIT: Thanks for the gold, kind stranger! /\

TimOfLegend1279 karma

I don't want to make any comments here that might affect the outcome of his audition. Official review will be tomorrow during our livestream. :)

Insanefoo334 karma

Did you actually write the script for his audition as is claimed in his video description?

TimOfLegend561 karma

Yes. Unless you didn't like it. Kind of a Hitchhiker's Guide rip-off, but I was in a hurry. :)

mynameisholywhutuh159 karma

Will you be documenting the development of Psychonauts 2? Those documentaries are amazing.

TimOfLegend233 karma

Not sure, but 2 Player Productions is still lurking around the halls, filming stuff...

johndoz1938 karma

Hey Tim. Many people have lost trust in your company due to the mishandling of several past games resources, such as the space base debacle. What would you say to ease the fears of those worried psychonauts 2 may suffer a similar fate?

TimOfLegend1350 karma

Hey, John. When you say “mishandling of several past games resources” I assume you’re talking about two things: games going over budget, and then Spacebase.

Regarding games going over budget: Many times in the past I have made the choice to invest more in a game than the original budget specified. That is because in the end, my highest priority is the quality of the game. Most of the games you play (not all of them, but more than you think) went over budget and extended their schedules at some point. Double Fine is just more honest and transparent about it. There are many things that lower the risk of Psychonauts 2 going over budget. It’s a sequel, so the gameplay and IP of the game are already known. We are using the Unreal Engine, so we don’t have to write an engine from scratch. And our team is much more experienced than when we made the first game. But if even after that, if the game has any overages, Double Fine is committed to paying for them ourselves, as we have done in the past.

We have successfully completed and shipped both of the games we crowdfunded (Broken Age and Massive Chalice) and are very proud of them. The majority of our fans and critics enjoyed them as well. We have put three games through early access--Hack ‘n’ Slash, Massive Chalice, and Spacebase. Two of these worked out great, and one of those was a disappointment to many people. We have shipped 17 titles over the last 15 years and overall we have a great track record of shipping great games and being extremely transparent and honest with our community. That is the more lasting reputation of Double Fine, and the reason people can feel confident about Psychonauts 2!

Wargmonger155 karma

Why the move to Unreal? Is the Buddha engine just showing its age after all of these years?

TimOfLegend333 karma

We just want to focus on the design side of the game, and not about competing, engine wise, with much larger developers. The Buddha engine is still alive and looking great in Headlander though!

Zilean15 karma

After watching that one guy speed-run your game, are you going to put more invisible walls up in levels now?

TimOfLegend63 karma

I don't think we could. That was an eye-opening experience for us. I have a lot more respect for the skill and inventiveness of speedrunners now, and would actually be less inclined to purposefully ruin their fun times. On the other hand I wouldn't make it to easy for them either. I wouldn't put in exploits or let any stay in that I found. They are quite capable of finding new ones. :)

Zombies_hate_ninjas11 karma

I hope he answers this question. I don't think he will, but he might. I'll check back in a hour. Here's hoping.

Honestly I don't know why Double Fine doesn't hire a money manager or a talented CFO. I personally don't expect artists and creators to be skillful financiers. Having someone on staff who could set realistic financial restraints is just good business. Boring yes, but necessary.

TimOfLegend49 karma

That was a quick hour! :)

S_Hawking434 karma

I know the Broken Age Kickstarter started with essentially no design docs other than a vague idea in your minds eye. How much pre planning has already gone into Psychonauts 2?

TimOfLegend859 karma

The story for Psychonauts 2 is something I wanted to do back when Psychonauts was released. In the intervening years I've been keeping a document of ideas going, with new mental worlds and story ideas going in as I think of them. So I'm starting this game with the rough story figured out, ideas for brains and mechanics, and an engine (Unreal).

In Psychonauts 2, Raz will finally get to go to Psychonauts headquarters--his lifelong dream. There he can see Sasha and Milla in their natural environment--international espionage. But he finds several things strange about the organization. While Truman Zanotto was missing, several changes to the direction of the organization were made by his second in command. Funding was cut from traditional psychic research and peacekeeping, and redirected to unorthodox, fringe endeavors, including the discredited practice of necromancy. Raz soon uncovers sinister things at work in the shadows of Psychonauts headquarters, including double agents and evils of the past. Raz’s own family history plays a pivotal part in the story, and Raz must confront the roots of the curse placed on his family once and for all. And also deal with this whole “girlfriend” term and what it really means. :)

Tarage323 karma

Hey Tim,

One of the big things a lot of people talk about is the idea that if someone big enough gets a lot of money and doesn't have restraints, they end up making things that are often lesser in quality than when they were under constraints. Peter Molyneux is a prime example of this, as well as George Lucas.

How do you feel about this? I know it's a designer's dream to have complete control over a project like you do, but do you ever feel like perhaps some of your decisions should have been reigned in a bit? Not trying to be insulting, I'm genuinely curious about how you feel about the creative process and restrictions.

TimOfLegend323 karma

I think it's a very interesting topic. Who is really responsible for a collaborative work? The auteur associated by name? I think it can be largely that, but also the context in which they made the art. Not just the budget, but also the collaborators. I recommend reading this book. Great stories about how Lucas and Bogdonovitch collaborated with their wifes, etc, in the early days and then stopped. http://www.amazon.com/Riders-Raging-Bulls-Sex-Drugs---Rock/dp/0684857081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452545371&sr=8-1&keywords=easy+riders+raging+bulls

I think the only way to test this theory, however, is to give Double Fine tons and tons of money and let us have that problem! :)

LongIslandReal212 karma

Why was there no Dio music in Brutal Legend? I know having him as a voice actor kinda fell through; is that why none of his music was included?

TimOfLegend247 karma

I wish I could tell that story. Maybe some day. :(

SpudTheBlackLab200 karma

Hi Tim, my daughter and I both played the original Psychonauts and loved it so we both backed Psychonauts 2 so we can have our name in the credits. And we were wondering, is there any chance we can get our names next to each other in the credits?

Also, keep up the good work, we love Double Fine!! =D

TimOfLegend177 karma

I don't suppose your names are next to each other in alphabetical order? :)

TimOfLegend236 karma

Here's another solution:

Luke Skywalker Luke Skywalker's Father Darth Vader

(oh sorry, spoiler alert)

randy_buttcheese194 karma

Is Raz going to have all of his previous powers and will we see any new powers? Also, will we ever see an older Raz?

TimOfLegend405 karma

A mix of old and new powers. Raz will be a few hours older than in the first game, because it takes place soon after the events of Psychonauts.

JohnnyWalker2001140 karma

Erik Wolpaw is credited as co-writing Psychonauts with you, how did you split the writing duties? Who was responsible for what? Is he co-writing Psychonauts 2 in the same capacity?

TimOfLegend165 karma

He will help with the writing like he did on the first game, but he's also coming on the project earlier in its production so we'll be able to get even more of his ideas into it.

demusdesign113 karma

So what's your big takeaway from doing the DoubleFine Adventure doc? Did all the transparency gain you more trust or suspicion from your supporters?


Edit: Link to the full 20 episodes on YouTube - WARNING: YOU WILL WANT TO BINGE WATCH THEM ALL.

TimOfLegend144 karma

Well, we definitely learned a lot. The encouraging thing was how many people loved the documentary and found it enlightening and inspiring. The negative side was finding out that some people take only some of the facts you are offering, and creating an inaccurate narrative out of it. Not sure what to do about that.

caseymalone107 karma

Hi Tim! Casey Malone here. Where are my keys? Thank you in advance.

TimOfLegend168 karma

They're in the last place you left them, young man.

j/k they fell out of your pocket at the opium den.

liamquane73 karma

Hi Mr. Schafer, what was your inspiration for the Milkman on Psychonauts? Thank you :~)

TimOfLegend120 karma

The Manchurian Candidate, MKULTRA, Telefon, and maybe that Mel Gibson movie about conspiracies. Conspiracy Theory?

Frijid67 karma

What's the worst part about designing games?

Any notable stories about the biggest fans of DoubleFine games?

Would you rather be a lung fish or an agent of the milkman?

TimOfLegend131 karma

worst part: Creative block Biggest fans: Finding out Elijah Wood and Jack Black were fans is how we got them in our games! Lungfish, definitely. Because she exists in the real world!

Megadoomer264 karma

What gave you the idea to make Meat Circus? All of the levels in Psychonauts are so inspired and interesting, so I could ask the same thing about any of them, but Meat Circus seems so different from the rest in terms of its concept.

TimOfLegend189 karma

Originally, the game had two final levels. One in Raz's mind that was his memories of the circus. One was in Oleander's mind, in his father's butcher shop. Our publisher was pushing us to cut one level, so we combined the last two! :)

Mikejamese45 karma

Any chance of a playable Lili in the future? I always wanted to see more of her character.

TimOfLegend55 karma

That would be awesome!

articleofpeace44 karma

Hey dude,

  1. Can we realistically expect a Brutal Legend 2? Is it within the realms of possibility, realistically? I don't mean is it being made, or any concrete details about contracts or NDAs etc. Simply: is it possible/likely?

  2. I work on ancient religion - I'm just finishing my PhD now. Brutal Legend is the game with the best mythology of any game I've ever played. It's wonderfully well-rounded, believable, and it uses all of the ingredients and archetypes that you'd expect a religion to. It's just brilliant. How did you guys achieve this? Obviously there's a lot of direct Norse influences, but I've seen some less explicit nods to Greek religion, Mesopotamian and Near Eastern stuff, druidic, and others. What was your methodology for building this mythology?

Just a final comment, I have a constant few copies of Brutal Legend for PC stored on my accounts. I give them away a lot, just because the PC port is decent and the game is fucking amazing. If someone wants a copy I'd be happy to give one away.

TimOfLegend43 karma

  1. Not impossible but not super likely any time soon. Possible though.
  2. Thanks! You are correct in assuming Norse Mythology played a big part. I read a ton of that stuff and love it. But I also love all folklore and mythology. The class I took in college (Forms of Folklore by Alan Dundes) was part of the inspiration for Grim Fandango. These stories survived for thousands of years--with no marketing! :)

KidoftheThird42 karma

Do you slice your sandwiches across or diagonally?

TimOfLegend109 karma

Diagonally! I had a boss at a summer job once and I had to go out for sandwhiches, and when I brought his back and it was cut diagonally he groaned and said, "Did a girl cut this?" So I guess I cut like a girl.

MyUsernameIsAwful37 karma

Hey, congrats on funding Psychonauts 2! My question is from the Psychonauts Wild Mass Guessing page on TV Tropes:

The whole game takes place inside someone's mind

Pfft. I thought it was obvious. We are inside Tim Schafer's mind!

There's something to this - the tagline of the game is "A psychic adventure from the mind of Tim Schafer.

So does Psychonauts literally take place inside your mind? Confirmed? Or Jossed?

TimOfLegend68 karma

I think the game takes place inside of YOUR mind. :)

Sxeptomaniac34 karma

Love Psychonauts, and have played it more times than I can count on three different platforms, including my Linux system, which, many years ago, I expected never to be able to do much (if any) real gaming on. I've loved that DoubleFine has been releasing pretty much every game with Linux support these days, and have bought most of them.

What led DoubleFine to support Linux so well, compared to most studios?

TimOfLegend46 karma

Pretty much Humble Bundle. And also Cheeseness from our forums. :)

Geonidas31 karma

When I went to high school, there was a rumor that our Chemistry teacher was the brother of "that guy who made Psychonauts". Was there any truth to that rumor?

TimOfLegend33 karma

Was your chemistry teacher a tall friendly named Marty? Then yes!

monkeyman51227 karma

In Psychonauts 1 the difficulty curve was less of a slope more of a right angel. Why did this happen and what is the plan to avoid this in number 2?

TimOfLegend61 karma

There were two main errors I made with Meat Circus. When some people said it was too hard, I asked my lead tester what he thought. "No way! It's my favorite level," he said. Forgot that testers are unnaturally skilled at games, especially ones they play over and over. Not his fault--mine. Secondly, I asked our lead designer what he thought, and he said, "Well, it's hard, but I think it's good that the game has at least one really hard level." Which I understand, but looking back, it probably should have had one medium hard level before it at least. :) Third thing was there were some bugs that made it harder than it should be. So when we got the pub rights back to it and updated it for Steam we fixed those bugs and made a couple other changes. We left it hard, but not too hard I think, and people who play it on Steam have responded well to the changes.

wagiwombledog20 karma

Why do you think so many writers in the games industry find it hard to write funny characters and dialogue without making the characters seem like caricatures and the dialogue seem forced? This is one of my favorite things about your games, characters that are odd or funny yet still believable, just wondering if you had any thoughts on the matter.

TimOfLegend23 karma

Thanks! I don't know why that is, because there are a lot of funny people in the games industry. I think people aren't convinced that a funny game can be a big hit.

tjackmorris18 karma

How do you fell about FunHaus member, James Willums, avid obsession with Psychonuats?

TimOfLegend29 karma

What you call obsession I call good taste!

Thrillar17 karma

Did The Nightmare before Christmas have some sort of inspiration on psychonauts? I noticed that Dr. Lobot resembles Dr. Finkelstein and that the insane asylum also looks similar to the tower in the nightmare before christmas.

TimOfLegend24 karma


TehOwn17 karma

Have you considered multiplayer or co-op sections in Psychonauts 2?

Perhaps two player with Raz and Lili? I'd love to have this with shared screen on PC.

TimOfLegend24 karma

That would be neat!

HeavyCoreTD15 karma

Hi Tim,

I've worked as a Sound Designer for theatre my whole life. I've won awards and accolades, but I've never been given the chance to do sound design in games. What's the best route to that goal? Even if it's just starting out learning the programing behind it, I'd love some guidance.

Thanks Tim

TimOfLegend19 karma

Hm, tough question. Let me see if I can get our audio supervisor to answer this. :)

Frentis13 karma

What's the top three things your beard have ever done for you?

TimOfLegend44 karma

Well, I think it was my old sideburns that got me married. So for my beard I will have to credit mostly with saving the remnants of the greatest ribs I ever ate in my life for several hours.

sleepwalkcapsules12 karma

What do you think about all the misinformation spread about Double Fine crowdsourcing efforts? (like people saying DFA was split in two with backers having to pay twice, which didn't actually happen, of course)

Many of those created the idea that "Tim doesn't know how to budget". What's your opinion on that?

Thanks for the awesome games.

TimOfLegend36 karma

That's why we're here, doing this ama. Lots of misinformation out there. But our fans and backers do a great job of straightening out the record for us, which is incredibly touching and inspiring. :)

On the second question: If I was really that bad with money, I don't think DF would have lasted 15 years like it has.

Dobogin11 karma

What do you think of the Mario Galaxy games? What about Retro's two revisits to the Donkey Kong series?

While I appreciate the love you guys have for some of the earlier 3D platformers and their more adventure/puzzle centric design, I've always been drawn to the genre for some of its franchises' unabashed focus on gameplay over everything else. While I obviously expect Double Fine to play to its strengths with a heavy focus on characters and writing, is competing with the more technically demanding platformers something you guys would like to explore, at least in one place or another, with Psychonauts 2? (I would like to see a devs play on one of the two franchises mentioned above, Super Meat Boy, or something similar, as I think most of the platformers you guys have touched on this season fall more under the collectathon/adventure schools of design instead- Crash possibly excepted)

Parting shot- just because it gets a ton of flak- I actually liked Meat Circus.

TimOfLegend20 karma

I LOVE the Mario Galaxy games (even though Psychonauts did relative gravity first :D {And I think Ratchet did it before us}). I like the more challenging platformers too, but I think those would have to be an optional thing, like on a harder difficulty setting, so they don't exclude more story-minded players.

Wracky10 karma

Brutal Legend! When I first saw images of it as it was announced, I thought it would be a massive hack'n'slash game. Something I could really see myself play to the tune of some great metal. Now I did enjoy Brutal Legend, but I did miss some truly epic mobs to put my axe into, and the stage battles didn't really give me that. Did you receive feedback on this from other players? And are there any plans to tweak the gameplay if Brutal Legend 2 will see the light of day? Thanks!

TimOfLegend18 karma

Yeah, a lot of people didn't like the rts stuff. But I did. If we did BL2 we'd just make it better.

Djosh_Unchained9 karma

Are you related to Bobby Moynihan?

TimOfLegend32 karma

Yes. We are twins, and actually switch places all the time. Bobby Moynihan was running Double Fine as me at the time we did that thing you don't like. And I was on SNL as him when he did that Beyonce dance.

gutatraisr9 karma

Hi Tim! What have you been playing lately?

TimOfLegend24 karma

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Fallout 4. And Undertale. All great!

whothere7889 karma

Little bit late but oh well. Hi Mr. Schafer, What are your thoughts on the use of Virtual reality headsets in video games. Would you consider making a game with this technology?

TimOfLegend15 karma

We are! It's called Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin! It's awesome! http://www.doublefine.com/news/comments/announcing_psychonauts_in_the_rhombus_of_ruin/

Giorno-Giovanna9 karma

If you were a character in a big submarine, what kind of a character would you be and what's your special weapon?

TimOfLegend12 karma

I would play the Spirit of Claustrophobia, moving invisibly among the crew. My special weapon would be wet hugs.

greasyjohn9 karma

What were your inspirations for your vehicle designs in full throttle, grim fandango, and brutal legend? I love hot rods, they're not represented enough (or all that well) in video games.

TimOfLegend13 karma

KeystoneKops9 karma

Question for Tim's beard: What portion of Tim's creative output are you responsible for behind the scenes? Is it true that the inspiration for LeChuck's beard is based on your struggles with addiction to beard oils?

TimOfLegend19 karma

(Tim would kill me if he sees me typing this. He doesn't let me talk to anybody. Please call the beard police. I need help!)

ItsMimsy9 karma

Do you like buffalo wings?

beerdude268 karma

Also, how long until these burgers are ready?

TimOfLegend15 karma

wippersnapper! I'll flip YOU!

TimOfLegend8 karma

Yes. Ohhhh man.

Matrinka8 karma

Hi, Tim! Any chance of Double Fine getting the rights to Monkey Island and making a few more games? A girl can dream.

TimOfLegend6 karma

Very, very low. :) But maybe we'll make up something new you like!

Ki11igraphy7 karma

Brütal Legend was an epic game but I feel it would have done better as a hack & slash over being an RTS. What are the chances of a sequel ? Is it possible to jump genre? And what was it like the hang with Jack Black

TimOfLegend9 karma

If I made a sequel it would have TWICE AS MUCH RTS. :)

Jack Black was hilarious, easy going, and super nice.

koolman_collective7 karma

Howdy Tim, loved your work ever since being up all night playing 'Full Throttle'. Man, was that game cinematic. The dialogue in the subsequent Grim Fandango was so hilarious, it rivalled or exceeded anything I saw in theatres at the time (this was the time when Pixar was in full swing, yet dialogue, especially funny dialogue, in videogames was still considered a niche thing).

Anyway, my question is, in running your own business for 15 years, how much time of your day do you spend on business/finance type things vs. creative things like writing and game design? Is it a 50/50 type thing? Also, you being the boss, how many hours do you work in a day? Do you pretty much have to work 16 hours a day or something? I can imagine that you don't have a separation of work and life, since this probably is your life. Or do you try to go the opposite route and stay "regular" so to speak, in terms of office hours. I have my own shop and go back and forth, promising to have regular hours, only to get all jumbled up again and suddenly finding myself working at 4 am.

TimOfLegend13 karma

Well, I'm staying here late tonight because of this ama :) but usually I go home on time, especially since I've had a kid. My time spent on business changes depending on what's going on--during a crowdfunding campaign I spend a lot of my time on that. But then I'll go into writing mode and do that for 60% of my day. In general I fight to get as much of my day to be as creative as possible and try to trick other people into doing the practical business stuff. :)

VicareyG6 karma

Hi Tim! Big fan glad you've done another crowdfunded game as now I'm finally a backer, and of Psychonauts 2 no less!

My question:
What game genre appeals to you, not counting 3D platformer or Point and Click adventures?

TimOfLegend18 karma

Depends--what genre would you call Katamari Damacy and Hohokum? Because I like those games a lot. As for genres besides the two you mention, I'd say I like jrpgs and rts.

flaagan5 karma

Hey dude, do you still do visits to game dev schools?

Your verbal 'pat on the back' for my level design work on a Game Club zombie game back at Cogswell Poly over a decade ago was the kind of positive input that kept me working on games. I eventually landed a gig as an fx artist at Cryptic Studios and worked there for about five years til I got fired over what later turned out to be an art director playing favorites. Unfortunately, full time fx jobs at that time proved to be hard to find, and now I'm working as a mechanical designer, though the years of working on video games is a big reason why I have the job I have now.

Just wanted to say thanks, many years late, but thanks indeed. You and the crew you work with are an awesome bunch.

TimOfLegend13 karma

That's good to know! We haven't done that lately, but probably should.

NiiceChris3 karma

Who would win in a (big) fight between Governer Marley, Maureen, Milla Vodello and Ophelia?

TimOfLegend2 karma

I think Milla would try to make peace, Maureen and Ophelia would run away (opposite directions), and Marley would say she had more important things to do.