Tim Schafer told Polygon he is not sure where his company will stand in the next generation of consoles--or if it will even participate. After all, Schafer said once Double Fine acquired the rights to its cult classic platformer and started to distribute it on Steam, "we made more on Psychonauts this year than we ever have before."
Double Fine has done well carving its own path. Smaller scale projects like Costume Quest and Iron Brigade, not to mention the paradigm-shifting success of the Double Fine Adventure, have allowed the developer more financial security and autonomy than ever before.
"Our fear was that next generation was going to be only big, triple-A games. It was only going to be a place for Call of Duty and Halo. But we've talked to [console manufacturers], and told people what things would be hard for teams our size with regards to consoles," Schafer said. "Especially self-publishing, in terms of the cost of certification and patches and TCRs and cost of even being considered a developer, you know. We'd still like to be active in that space, we care about consoles, but unless they open things up a lot more like what we have on Steam … if they opened things up more it would be a more friendly place from our perspective."
Schafer said he knows the console companies can't make changes overnight, but hopefully they'll do their bit to make sure the systems are friendlier places for self-publishing developers.
Whether Double Fine products appear in the next console generation or not, Schafer doubts the company will work on many more huge (and financially cumbersome) projects like Brutal Legend. Though a Psychonauts sequel does sound mighty tempting...
"I don't think that we'll go back to that risk of putting 40 million dollars into something and cross our fingers and hope that it works," Schafer said. "I do think that if we were to work with a partner on Psychonauts 2, I think that would be a game where [a higher budget] would be appropriate."