Tim Schafer says the best, most inclusive games are “never based on stereotypes”

Tim Schafer says the best, most inclusive games are “never based on stereotypes”

Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has revealed he avoids “a grab bag of stereotypes” to make his games more inclusive and avoid “hurting people”.

In an interview with NME, Schafer revealed that when he started making games back in the ’80s, there was “a lot less sensitivity” around, but between developing 2005’s Psychonauts and its 2021 sequel, he’d “learned a lot” and was “thinking about how [his] art will be interpreted by the viewer”.

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“I thought I’d learned a lot, and then we tested a game, and people pointed out a word and asked if we knew what this word means to certain people,” the Schafer said. “I had no idea – and people will criticise that and say ‘woke culture, PC police’ and stuff – but for any art, I’m thinking about how my art will be interpreted by the viewer.

“Some things we did in the first game, we didn’t do in the second game on purpose – but we’re just older, and had more sensitivity to a lot of issues that naturally express themselves in the game,” Schafer added. “It was really important – because it’s a comedy – that people knew we weren’t making fun of people, but were looking humorously and lovingly at the human psyche.

“If you’re told you’re hurting people [and it’s] a comedy, it’s not supposed to be hurting people,” Schafer said. “You naturally want to think about how your words affect people, and make sure that the artistic intent is successful. Are you using shaming words? Alienating depictions of people?

“The best writing is never based on stereotypes,” Schafer concluded. “The best writing is based on research, or real-world found-dialogue, or your own personal experiences. It always makes for writing that punches through as unique, as opposed to a grab bag of stereotypes.”

Earlier this year, Schafer revealed that a movie adaptation of any of his games is not something he is interested in.

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