Microsoft has renewed commitment to its developers, Double Fine's Schafer says

Microsoft has renewed commitment to its developers, Double Fine's Schafer says

The boss of adventure game specialist Double Fine Tim Schafer has said that Microsoft's approach to developers has changed in the last 15 years.

Speaking to GamaSutra, the industry vet was asked about the contrast between the Big M buying Double Fine - an acquisition announced at E3 2019 - and the fact the firm's 2005 title Psychonauts had Microsoft's support initially, only for it to be pulled in 2004 following the departure of VP of publishing Ed Fries.

"They felt bad about it, and now they made good on that," he said. "So all is forgiven."

He continued: "I think they've had a commitment to a new way of acquiring companies which is, kind of an unplugged studio approach, where they're not merged into the larger corporate entity. They don't just auto-hire---take a bunch of employees and make them Microsoft employees. They want us to retain our identity, our spirit, that's what they want us to bring into the fold.

"Game Pass was a lot of it. Seeing something like GamePass and how it made sense to have a diversity of content. I could see why having a company like us and a company that makes games like Forza - very different games - all being on one subscription service like that makes it more valuable. I could see how they would want to bring us in and not change us."

Double Fine is one of 15 developers in Microsoft's Xbox Game Studios line-up after being acquired this year. At E3 2019, the Big M announced this purchase alongside a new Age of Empires studio headed up by Shannon Loftis.

This follows the six developers that the Xbox firm acquired in 2018; the firm revealed at that year's E3 that it had bought Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Compulsion and Undead Labs, as well as that it was setting up a new studio in Santa Monica called The Initiative. You can check out what talent that developer has attracted since being announced right here

Then in November 2018, Microsoft revealed it had also bought RPG specialists Obsidian and InXile.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.