News Article

Tim Schafer Explains the Thinking Behind Sesame Street

Posted Thu, 24 Feb 2011 by James Newton

Sadly Grim Fandango failed the audition

Sadly Grim Fandango failed the audition

Involves monsters, of course

If you were wondering how Tim Schafer's Double Fine came to work on Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster for Kinect, having made its name on off-beat titles such as Psychonauts, Costume Quest and Brutal Legend, wonder no more.

Schafer and lead Nathan Martz spoke to Gamasutra about the game's origins years ago as part of the studio's regular "Amnesia Fortnights", where the team forgets its current project and starts to work on something brand new instead. The game started out without any Sesame Street licence: codenamed "Happy Song" it involved "cute monsters making music and having fun", says Schafer, a concept that evolved over the coming years, becoming a viable possibility when Kinect appeared.

While the studio could have created the same game without the Sesame Street licence, Schafer says the two were a natural fit, especially considering the Sesame Workshop's "Whole Child Curriculum" that teaches kids life skills including emotional awareness and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. That means plenty of physical challenges in the game, but don't expect to control the characters in a fashion similar to The Gunstringer:

That said, the game is not primarily about being a Muppeteer. Because Elmo and Cookie Monster, they're not puppets -- they're living, real-life creatures -- that's why you can see them on TV! They have attitude, personality, so we prefer to focus on interacting with them. They're very much alive and vital parts of the world, not just things for you to control.

of the game in action. Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster is due for release in Fall this year.


Tags: Double Fine, Warner Bros, Kinect.

  • Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster (Xbox 360)

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