Why Tim Schafer Is Making A Sesame Street Game

Any project Tim Schafer’s Double Fine embarks upon gets attention – especially when they hit gamers from leftfield. But in an insightful interview with Gamasutra, Tim Schafer and Project Lead Nathan Martz discuss how their project, Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster, came about, and their reasons for creating it.

What really comes across is both Tim and Nathan’s respect and passion for Sesame Street.

“Sesame Street was actually just the final piece of the puzzle,” claims Nathan Martz, “getting characters and a franchise that we felt really supported our values, and we support its values. It’s really a great opportunity for this title to just springboard off of Sesame Street’s very well-known brand.

“And we’re working with a partner whose values are very, very compatible with this product. 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.”

Double Fine’s Sesame Street game is being created for Kinect, which makes complete sense, and it seems like both Tim and Nathan are intent on remaining true to the ethos of Sesame Street, and the mission statement that made it so successful.

“It’s got that kind of New York improv comedy vibe to it,” said Tim. “If you look at The Muppets, those are live performances by comedians who are kind of riffing off what’s going on. You see Cookie Monster on Martha Stewart or you see Elmo on Jimmy Fallon, those guys are live comedy performers, and they’re really talented.

“And it’s tempting when you’re writing material for kids, like in this game for younger players, to just play it safe and make it stuff that’s kind of bland and non-threatening. That’s what I think people feel with kids’ writing.

“But then you watch the videos of the [Sesame Street]shows, and they’re really, really funny. They’re satirical — they don’t just make bland shows for kids, they make them actually funny. I think that’s important for the kids and especially for the parents who watch them together. We’re hoping that this is something parents play with their kids.”

It’s a fantastic, insightful interview, especially for those of us who (like me) grew up watching Sesame Street. It’s strange – some people my age are now starting to get down to the business of raising their own children, so to have Sesame Street reimagined in a new medium, with a new control method, is quite exciting. If I had children, there’s no doubt that I would be planning to play this Sesame Street game with them.

Capturing The Spirit Of Sesame Street [Gamasutra]

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