Tim Schafer Discusses Grim Fandango Remake, Muses Conspiracies At The Fantastic Arcade [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

By Alex Riviello , Updated Sep 21, 2014 06:34 PM EDT
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The legendary Tim Schafer appeared at Fantastic Fest’s Fantastic Arcade this week to discuss perhaps his seminal work, Grim Fandango. The special panel was organized in anticipation of the game's upcoming remastered version that's coming soon to PS4, PS Vita, and PC, and as usual the man was as entertaining as ever.

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Unfortunately, his appearance almost broke the festival.

The Arcade is the videogame arm of the yearly Austin film fest, and offers a wonderful venue where indie game developers present and discuss their games. Every day also includes the team moving the festivities to one of the Alamo Drafthouse’s theaters for game tournaments, which is wonderful fun- there’s just nothing like playing a game on a movie screen for an audience.

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The only problem was that the theater they booked for this panel was nowhere near big enough. The fact that one of the most highly acclaimed (and hysterical) designers of all time was coming to an absolutely free event should have made them think about moving into one of the bigger theaters, but alas, this was all they had. The line to the panel was the largest of any event we have seen at the Fest yet, and the room filled up FAST. Emergency procedures were set into place, with folding chairs lined up and down the stairs and set to form a ring around the front of the theater. People stood in the back as well and crammed in, not wishing to miss this moment.

Those that were lucky enough to attend got to see a wonderful discussion about the game design of Grim Fandango, moderated by George Royer from White Whale, an equally funny developer who started things off by entertaining the crowd with a joke about a dog. They they went on to discuss every aspect of what made Grim Fandango so special and we have an exclusive video from the event so you can hear it all for yourself- the game’s noir influences, how creepy Manny looks with skin, and his love of five subject notebooks (he fills them up like the killer from Seven). He also narrowly avoided discussing the crushing topic of corruption in the industry, and saved us all.

You can find the full twenty minute video below. Warning- this was recorded off of the author’s iPhone so it’s not exactly the most stable video ever shot - but it’s a small price to pay to hear Schafer.

After this segment he took questions from the audience, which were actually quite better than usual. In it he revealed that the new version of Grim Fandango will feature bonuses in the form of concept art and design documents. Apparently finding the assets for the game involved a bit of “digital archaeology”, as he called up anyone involved with the project to see if they had saved any of their work from that time.

This led to some hilarity, because while they enjoyed getting the old team together it was really illegal for them to have taken home their work- and while people undoubtedly did it (and helped the remastering of this game immensely!) some were hesitant to admit that they had actually done it.

There was also a funny story about a bug in the game that he just found out about last year. Apparently if you talk to Domino in year one (which most people would do, seeing as how most point and click adventure players are OCD) he wouldn’t have a conversation with Manny in year three that pretty much outlines the plot of the game. There’s a good chance that many of us have missed out on this important piece of the story and no one knows about it!

Whatever the case, it’s been fixed for the upcoming version, which honestly can’t come soon enough.

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Fantastic Arcade for setting up this event and a week of great programming!

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