Tim Schafer: The Story First

American game developers Double Fine visited Denmark last week as part of their European press tour for their latest game, Broken Age. Nordic Game Bits caught up with CEO Tim Schafer for a talk about Kickstarter, Nordic games, and how to tell stories.

“The first thing I think of are these really creative and artistically driven games.”

Big words about the Nordic game industry. None the less when coming from Tim Schafer, CEO of Double Fine and producer of games like Grim Fandango, Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Schafer is currently doing a press tour for Double Fine’s latest game, Broken Age, a tour that brought him to Viborg, a city in central Denmark. We asked him what he thought of the games that are coming out of the Nordic countries:

“They are making games that really have an emphasis on production value and style. There’s a lot of stylish, neat-looking stuff coming from here,” – Tim Schafer, CEO of Double Fine

Tim Schafer and Double Fine’s knowledge of especially the Danish game developers come from the fact that the company has taken at least a handful of interns from Viborg-based animation school The Animation Workshop over the years.

“We’ve worked with The Animation Workshop for, I think, eight years now. A lot of our friends teach here and we’ve taken interns from here. We’ve always had great luck with our interns from The Animation Workshop and we thought that it was time to see where they all come from.”


One of the things that The Animation Workshop works to inspire in it’s students is a longing to go outside the Danish borders. Whether it is with internships or their first jobs in the industry, the school encourages them to look abroad. And that attitude is something that Tim Schafer sees when he meets Nordic game developers out in the world.

“The nordic game developers don’t stay put. They travel the world and are kind of the cultural ambassadors of their generation.”


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Broken Age, Double Fine’s latest effort, is a classic point-and-click adventure game that was crowdfunded using Kickstarter. Therefore, as a conclusion, we asked Tim Schafer what his advice to up-and-coming developers who think about using the same model would be.

Screenshot from Double Fine’s latest game, Broken Age, a classic point-and-click adventure.

“If you’re going to crowdfund something, it should be an interesting story. So if you’ve got that, then go for it. It doesn’t have to be from a known person, if you just have a story that captures people’s imagination.”

According to Tim Schafer, the story should be the main focus when trying to launch a game on Kickstarter. But that doesn’t necessarily mean just the story of the game, but the story of the whole campaign. He elaborates:

“It’s the story of the kickstarter, not the story of the game. That’s why for us it had to be an adventure game. Because we could say ‘the publishers won’t make this game, you can help us do that.’ That, I feel is a good story, and, as a backer, you could see yourself as part that story.”


And it seems that the users of Kickstarter bought the story. The campaign for Broken Age reached its 400,000$ goal within just nine hours and by the time the fundraising closed on March 13, 87,000 backers had invested over 3.3 million dollars in the game.

The second and concluding act in Broken Age is released on april 29th.

Photo of Tim Schafer: Mikkel Jacobsen – @mikkeljdk


Gamer, metalhead and journalist, not always in that order. Bo started gaming when he was eight and has been following the gaming industry since.

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