For gamers of a certain age, Tim Schafer needs no introduction. Responsible for giving the world adventure classics like The Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, and Broken Age, he’s a man who’s created some of gaming’s most iconic characters. Unsurprisingly then, his many contributions to video games were recently recognized by the British Academy.
We managed to grab him after he received his BAFTA fellowship for game design and ask the one question on everyone’s lips. Where the heck is Brütal Legend 2?!
A (Brutal) Legend Returns?
“Brütal Legend was a highpoint for me,” Schafer says with a grin. “ I’d love to [make a sequel].
If I found a bunch of money somewhere or if someone out there wants to fund something like that give me a call.”
A unique blend of action, real-time strategy (RTS) and heavy metal, Brütal Legend was arguably Schafer’s weirdest and most ambitious game to date. Naturally, we had to ask how this underappreciated gem came to life.
“I really love heavy metal. It was a very personal game. A lot of weird fantasy moments I’ve thought about while listening to that music I was able to make happen, as well as meeting some of my heroes like Ozzy Osbourne and I got to meet Rob Halford and Lemmy and even Ronnie James Dio. It was just an amazing experience.”
For fans, and Schafer himself, a big part of what made playing and developing the game such a pleasure was the involvement of Mr. Metal himself – Jack Black.
Working With Jack Black
“A lot of the game was inspired by Jack Black and his take on rock because he sometimes looks like he’s making a joke about it but he’s also really taking it very seriously.
That was the exact kind of tone we wanted to strike. You know Tenacious D IS a comedy act but you can tell they really care about rocking out and the character looked a little bit like him so by the time we pitched it to him we seemed really in sync. I think he could see himself in it and he got really excited about it. He was a big supporter of the game.”
Yet, despite being a star-studded love letter to heavy metal, Brütal Legend’s dizzying blend of RTS and single player action game ultimately proved to be more than Tim and the team at Double Fine could chew.
“[Originally] we were just making a multiplayer RTS game and then eventually we were like we should make a tutorial to show how to do all these mechanics and then it turned into a single player game and then it had both. It was huge and WOO we never made that mistake again, it was too big!”
More Grim Fandango Style Remasters On The Horizon
While it’s unlikely that a publisher will step in and bring back Brütal Legend, when asked about more Grim Fandango-style remasters, Schafer seemed keen to update more of his past work for modern gamers.
“We have to negotiate for the rights to do that but… we’d love to do more of that. I feel like you make something like a game and it’s like a public work of art. If later it falls down or breaks and crashes, you’ve got to go and fix it up. I don’t know if that metaphor works well, for statues but… I feel like you want to take care of it so that people can still enjoy it.
It’s great to see now that we’ve remastered them that young people playing them for the first time like ‘what’s Grim Fandango’ and then playing it and enjoying it. And that’s amazing.”