14 Jul

Double Fine’s Tim Schafer (Brütal Legend, Psychonauts, Grim Fandango) has once again indicated that he and Activision’s Bobby Kotick are not on the best terms. Speaking with Eurogamer, Schafer indicated that he believes Kotick is acting like “a dick” but that he wouldn’t discuss Activision into much detail as he does not “want to get sued again.” Still, he expressed hope that Kotick would soon be moving to an industry that would suit his passions more like “ball bearings” or “weapons manufacturing.” For the highlights concerning Schafer and his statements about Activision and Kotick, please hit the jump. The full interview can be checked out here.

Earlier this week, court documents were released in which former and current employees of Activision-owned Infinity Ward indicated that Activision had created a “police state” at the studio. This was one of the factors that led to an exodus at the studio several months ago.

Eurogamer: If you had the opportunity to work with Activision in the future, would you say, ‘No chance?’

Tim Schafer: I never actually talked to them, really! I never actually met them, it was all lawyers. They did not… I don’t know what to say about those guys. I don’t want to get sued again.

It’s a small industry. You don’t want to burn any bridge because you never know. But once somebody sues you… Maybe that bridge is pretty burned.

You can’t waste your time getting mad at a company, because a company doesn’t really exist. A company’s just an idea. It’s like, in the old days I used to be really loyal to companies. I used to be really loyal to Atari growing up because I had an Atari computer, and I was constantly confounded by the different choices they were making.

I was like, ‘Oh! Why is my loyalty not being rewarded?’ And then I realised, oh, that’s because I’m being loyal to a collective corporate structure, which is absolutely meaningless. So, hating Activision, loving Atari, it’s all the same thing. There are people over there I hate, don’t get me wrong.

Eurogamer: What do you think about Bobby Kotick? He’s a person.

Tim Schafer: He is. Well, allegedly. Ah… I don’t know.

Eurogamer: I’ll tell you what I think.

Tim Schafer: What do you think?

Eurogamer: I think he’s a bit misunderstood because he’s trying to make lots of money when people think he has an obligation to make gamers happy.

Tim Schafer: His obligation is to his shareholders. Well, he doesn’t have to be as much of a dick about it, does he? I think there is a way he can do it without being a total prick. It seems like it would be possible. It’s not something he’s interested in.

Eurogamer: Why should he care?

Tim Schafer: Well, he makes a big deal about not liking games, and I just don’t think that attitude is good for games in general. I don’t think we’re an industry of widgets. I don’t think we can approach it like we approach bars of soap, where you’re just trying to make the cheapest bar of soap.

He definitely has that that kind of widget-maker attitude. I don’t think he’s great for the industry, overall. You can’t just latch onto something when it’s popular and then squeeze the life out of it and then move on to the next one. You have to at some point create something, build something.

Eurogamer: Do you remember when he was quoted as saying, ‘I want to take all of the fun out of making games?’

Tim Schafer: I’ve never understood the context of that. What did he mean by that?

Eurogamer: I’ve heard Blizzard describe it as a joke that didn’t come off.

Tim Schafer: Isn’t that what politicians say every time they make some sort of racist joke or inappropriate comment? They’re like, ‘Oh, that was just my lame attempt at humour.’ Because everyone’s willing to believe they have a bad sense of humour.

I don’t understand why he would want to do that. Hopefully he’ll go back to another industry soon.

Eurogamer: He’s too successful.

Tim Schafer: He could go to an industry that makes more money. Ball bearings… Something that suits his passions more. Weapons manufacturing?

7 thoughts on “Schafer: Kotick is “being a total prick””

  1. Great interview… and Schafer isn’t the easiest guy to have one with. It’s weird to see an interviewer contribute equally to the conversation, but it totally works in this industry (look at Geoff Keighley).

    1. Yup, too much. The guy can’t seen to keep his yapper shut. Maybe consider getting a new picture, but make sure it is a smug one still (got to keep appearances up).

  2. Yeah, I knew something like this was going to be said sooner or later. Kotick really needs to calm down a bit and start looking at games for what they are and not piles of cash (although making money off of games isn’t bad, just he is going about it the wrong way).

  3. Meh, he’s a businessman. I’m sure every game developer has at least a couple of people like him, just not necessarily in such visible positions. I’d bet even Blizzard has one or two…

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