The road from Psychonauts to Sesame Street

Earlier this month the industry reacted with collected surprise at the news that the next game from Tim Schafer’s development studio Double Fine will be a licensed Sesame Street title.

Double Fine is best known for a string of quirky original IP such as Psychonauts, Brutal Legend and Costume Quest. So how did the studio ever end up working on the Sesame Street game?

"In the middle of Brutal Legend, we broke our team up into four teams for our Amnesia Fortnight project, and they all had to make a game in two weeks," Schafer told Gamasutra.

"And one of the very, very first ones we ever did – I think the first one we ever signed up – was [project lead] Nathan’s idea for a game that involved cute, furry little monsters, making music and having fun.

"I just liked it and we kind of kept working on it over the years. We got a chance to work on it again and polish it up. Then the idea of Kinect came up, it seemed like an interesting way to interact with these monsters.

"And there’s the idea of tying this to Sesame Street. As we talked about the game, it just came up with more and more people, ‘Have you thought about this as a Sesame Street game?’. And it seemed like such a natural fit. You know, Double Fine doesn’t really "do" licensed properties. So we kind of laughed it off the first time. But the more we thought about it, the more it actually made sense, and seemed to kind of fit naturally.

And project lead Nathan Martz argues that the Sesame Street project is not as odd a fit in Double Fine’s portfolio as people might think.

"We’re working with a partner whose values are very, very compatible with this product," he explained. "We’re not a non-profit, like Sesame Workshop, we’re not officially, governmentally a mission-driven company – but the truth is, we are a mission-driven company.

"At Double Fine, we do games that we think will make our medium better, or at least more interesting. There’s a lot of synchronicity between what we want to do with games and what Sesame Workshop wants to do with television and entertainment properties."

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