Brutal Legend Designer Tim Schafer Pitches A Comedy Genre For Games


Posted March 16, 2010 - By Patrick Klepek

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Metal-Driven Brutal Legend Track Pack Being Prepared For Rock Band

All of the games Tim Schafer has worked on can be categorized as games in an established genre, laced with comedic elements. Brutal Legend is an action-adventure with a hilarious storyline and characters. Psychonauts is a platformer that makes you (if you're sane, anyway) laugh out loud. Could a comedy genre exist in video games, a genre whose sole intent was to make you laugh? Schafer pitched this idea during a panel discussing humor in video games at GDC last week.

"I think it's useful to have genres," he said. "Sometimes you feel like watching a comedy movie -- you know in some ways it's going to be funny. Sometimes I cynically think that the games business is like any other business and it's very imitative and if there was just a huge, blockbuster game that was known as a comedy, then there'd all of a sudden there's be tons and tons of them."

The problem, he pointed out, was that because there's no benchmark for the industry to look towards, no publisher can justify spending a massive budget on a genre that hasn't been established.

"No one sits down at a meeting," he said, with the sarcasm we've come to expect from Schafer, "saying 'how can we mitigate risk on this new title we're spending millions of dollars on?' and [then says] 'a new comedy game, because those are always huge!'"

No one else on the panel agreed with Schafer's hopes for a comedy genre. Both Overlord writer Rhianna Pratchett and Telltale Games writer Sean Vanaman viewed comedy as a writer's tool.

"I don't think comedy games is a genre or should be a genre," said Pratchett. "I think comedy is just a very broad tool in writing."

Schafer countered by arguing games are missing out on an audience who might like to pick up a game just to laugh, rather than the current structure, which is a game with the added color of humor.

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Brutal Legend Designer Tim Schafer Pitches A Comedy Genre For Games


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