Double Fine Productions is a San Francisco-based game developer founded by Tim Schafer of LucasArts in July 2000. Founding members include Ron Gilbert of Monkey Island, and others who had worked on Grim Fandango. The company is famous for producing humourous, quirky, character-driven games, most famously their first, the critically-acclaimed but poorly-selling Psychonauts.
The company's next game was Brütal Legend, which had a troubled publishing history. Though expecting to develop a sequel, publisher Electronic Arts showed no interest in funding it, and for the first time, Double Fine faced the prospect of lay-offs in order to remain afloat. The company was saved by prototypes staff members developed during the "Amnesia Fortnight" in the middle of Brütal Legend's development, a two-week period in which employees halted all work on the company's current projects to work on game concepts proposed by employees, and inspired by similar breaks taken by Hong Kong film maker Wong Kar-wai. The resulting products, small but full games in their own right, were showed to various publishers and became Costume Quest, Stacking, Iron Brigade, and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster. Double Fine also received financial support by "fun investor" Dracogen, who funded the Mac port of Stacking, the PC port of Costume Quest, and the company's first iOS and free-to-play game Middle Manager of Justice.
Double Fine now focuses on developing smaller titles instead of more expansive games, including Broken Age a 2D point-and-click adventure game funded through Kickstarternote and documented by 2 Player Productions, side-scrolling adventure platformer The Cave by Ron Gilbert, and four Amnesia Fortnight prototypes voted for and partially funded by the public through the Humble Indie Bundle.
Their website also features small Flash games and webcomics made by various staff members, demonstrating the developers' senses of humour.
"Double Fine" refers to the double fine zone on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge.note According to Tim Schafer he "ingeniously selected the name Double Fine so that when people drove over the bridge they would see the name 'Double Fine' and think, not just that [the company] had purchased ad space on what must be the most expensive billboard in California, but that [they] owned the city and all of San Francisco had been declared to be a 'Double Fine Zone'." Their mascot is affectionately referred to by staff members as the "Double-Headed Baby" or "DHB".
- Psychonauts - 2005
- Brütal Legend - 2009
- Costume Quest - 2010
- Stacking - 2010
- Iron Brigade (formerly Trenched) - 2011
- Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster - 2011
- Happy Action Theater - 2012
- Middle Manager of Justice - 2012
- The Cave - 2013
- Autonomous - 2013
- Dropchord - 2013
- Broken Age Part 1 - 2014, Part 2 - 2015
- Costume Quest 2 - 2014
- Spacebase DF-9 - 2014
- Hack 'N' Slash - 2014
- Massive Chalice - 2015
- Grim Fandango (Updated Re-release) - 2015
- Headlander - 2016
- Day of the Tentacle (Updated Re-release) - 2016
- Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin - 2017
- Full Throttle (Updated Re-release) - 2017
- RAD - 2019
- Psychonauts 2 - 2021
Tropes Commonly Appearing In Double Fine's Games:
- Acclaimed Flop: Critics fall over themselves to praise and lavish love on their games. Almost everything they've ever put out has crashed and burned in stores. You can get most Double Fine games for about five bucks in remainder bins.
- Action Girl: Milla "The Mental Minx" Vodello from Psychonauts, and pretty much every female character from Brütal Legend, especially Ophelia and Lita.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Dropchord is this, but without the 'battlefield' part.
- In-Series Nickname: "Bagel" for Nathan Stapley, and "Raz" for Razmig Mavlian.
- Kaiju: The "Lungfishopolis" level of Psychonauts, as well as one minigame each in both Double Fine Happy Action Theatre and Kinect Party. The costumes in Costume Quest become these in battle.
- Kid Hero: Razputin "Raz" Aquato in Psychonauts, Wren, Reynold, Everett, and Lucy in Costume Quest, Charlie Blackmore in Stacking, & "Space Boy" (Shay Volta) and "Sacrifice Girl" (Velouria "Vella" Beastender Tartine) in Broken Age. The Twins of The Cave are more of the Anti-Hero variety.
- Mythology Gag: Pretty much every game they've made has at least one Call-Back to a previous game they've made. Expect 2HB to make some kind of cameo, too.
- Perpetual Smiler: Brad Muir, lead designer of Trenched and Massive Chalice. His nickname isn't ":D" for nothing!◊
- Production Posse: If Tim is the head of a certain game (and even sometimes when he isn't), you can expect Peter McConnell to be composing the soundtrack, while actors from Psychonauts (Richard Horvitz, Nikki Rapp, Stephen Stanton), Brutal Legend (Jack Black, Jennifer Hale), or various LucasArts projects he worked on back in the day to show up in the voice acting list.
- Smoking Is Cool: Sasha Nein smokes cigarettes because he's a detached 1960's superspy. Woodruff, The Marine, and Murderface all smoke cigars to show their manliness/badassery.
- Start My Own: One of the two companies started up by ex-LucasArts employees who left because LucasArts stopped being an innovative company, stopped caring for adventure titles, and became a vehicle to solely churn out Star Wars games.
- Visual Pun: The new bumper for Psychonauts 2 has a circus strongman lighting a match on an Xbox Game Studios matchbox to launch the Double-Headed Baby out from a cannon. That is, "strongman" Microsoft is helping Double Fine launch the game.
- What Could Have Been: Many of the "Amnesia Fortnight" prototypes are never made into games, although the devs who worked on them are still fond of their projects, and they've gained fans via the playable prototypes DF have released. The pitch video for Massive Chalice shows Brad Muir is still grumpy over not being able to successfully pitch Brazen.