Tim Schafer: 'I don't think I've made my best game yet'

Image source: BAFTA

Tim Schafer has made some pretty great games over the years, like Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and Psychonauts. He was also recently awarded a BAFTA Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award and "the highest accolade BAFTA can bestow up an individual." But in a recent interview with GamesIndustry he said that even after all that, he feels like he's still trying to get a handle on what he's actually doing. 

"This sort of award feels like something you get when you're done, but I still feel like I'm working towards figuring out how to make games. Slowly, over time," Schafer said. "I don't think I've made my best game yet, and I feel like that's something I want to work towards." 

Schafer said that the bulk of his time is occupied with the day-to-day business of running Double Fine and working on Psychonauts 2. But he's also interested in trying "new things with experimental stuff." That, he said, is where the real innovation comes from—and not just in indie games, but in big-budget releases as well. 

"There are still things that are really interesting, like the Nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor, and there are other things [in AAA] that I feel like I haven't done before, or mechanics I haven't seen before. So I still think there's plenty of innovation in AAA games—it's just that it's still being led by the indie games," he said. "Because when you're spending hundreds of millions of dollars, people get more risk averse. But they know they still have to stand out." 

That, he acknowledged, is a part of the equation that can't be overlooked. "I'm encouraging people to bring their personal uniqueness to games, but I'm not guaranteeing that it's going to make them a lot of money," he said. "First-time indies need to moderate their expectations." 

I'll certainly be happy if it turns out that Schafer's best work really is ahead: A game that could surpass his best-work-so-far would have to be very special. (But not more of that Meat Circus nonsense, please.) Schafer's current project, Psychonauts 2, doesn't have a release date but will hopefully show up sometime in 2019. 

Schafer's BAFTA Fellowship award ceremony can be seen below.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.