Gamer Limit was recently able to procure a phone interview with the legendary developer Tim Schafer. Tim has definitely had his share of ups, with only one recent down (Psychonauts), and it looks like he has a real winner on his hands with Brütal Legend ; one of the most anticipated games of the year.
So join us as we jump right into our conversation with Tim and learn some interesting information on his latest work!
GL: It seems like you have a knack for creating picture-perfect villains. Are there any artistic mediums that influenced you in this regard?
Tim: “Well, Doviculus [Brütal Legend's main villain] had a gold mask at first, and he was really weird. We ended up looking at Vincent D’Onofrio from the movie The Cell, and eventually, Tim Curry’s Legend performance as the Lord of Darkness. In fact, this is one of the reasons we chose Tim Curry to do his voice!”
GL: What can you tell us about the controversial decision to axe Dio from voicing the main villain and replacing him with Tim Curry?
Tim: “To be honest, no one else could play him. You’ll even notice while playing the game that he’s a little “kinky;” sometimes he’ll enjoy pain when you hit him. Curry was great for this!”
GL: What is your favorite band outside the genre of metal?
Tim: “I suppose I listen to a bit of grunge, and rock, and pretty much everything, but metal is my real passion. I think of Brütal Legend as a ‘heavy metal trojan horse’ for non metal fans: watch out [laughs]! Metal really had to be ‘it’ for this game, because the lore that metal has really fits, and really impacts the game.”
GL: What are your plans for post game content? Do you have any extra modes or difficulties ready?
Tim: “We’re tossing around ideas for DLC, fun stuff. Or, we’ll work on new stuff. Nothing’s concrete yet.”
GL: Do you have dreams of making Brütal Legend a trilogy, or even a series?
Tim: “There’s an epic story for Brütal Legend that could span more than one game…definitely more stories to tell. We’ll see!”
GL: Do you have any plans to court the casual gamer?
Tim: “There are three difficulty modes: Gentle, Normal, Brutal. Multiplayer has a lot of different mechanics as well. You can really choose to play your way in the multiplayer. For instance, you don’t have to fight. You can use guitar solos to change weather, order dudes around, and if you want, hack n slash.
There are also video tutorials, and single player really is a step by step tutorial for the multiplayer.”
GL: Metal is known for over the top scenes and imagery. Are we going to see any of that in the game?
Tim: “Well, definitely with the giant leathery demonic wings Eddie sprouts [laughs]. Jack Black also shouts hilariously during the power slide attack, where you slide on your knees while playing a power chord.”
GL: You’ve done a host of adventure games, but only two full action games – are you adapting this medium because of the lowered interest in adventure titles, or are you becoming partial to action?
Tim: “I always follow what I’m inspired to do. In order to bring the world of album covers and epic music to life, you have to give the guy a broad axe [in reference to Brütal Legend], which requires an action game. As for Psychonauts, that was inspired by my experiences playing Ocarina of Time/Mario 64.”
GL: Finally, I know as a designer it must be hard to get exactly what you want. Were there times when you told the team what you envisioned, and when they actually finished it, were you disappointed?
Tim: “Back in the graphic adventure days, I could program it exactly the way I want it. But, when games [be]come more complicated, it’s tough…it’s not “exactly what I’ve done”. I have to work with really great people; it’s a collaborative effort. So yeah, sometimes I don’t get what I want, but they go right back and work on it again. I have 60 really talented people working together on Brütal Legend. It’s really an experience.”
GL: Thanks for your time! It was a real pleasure, most definitely because I grew up playing your games; Day of the Tentacle was my first real adventure experience.
Tim: “Why thank you, I’m glad you liked it [laughs]! And no problem.”