Just this past July, DeathSpank stormed the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade with its own style of humor and gameplay. While it was a great game, it had a cliffhanger ending that I thought would only be continued sometime in 2011. Come to find out, I couldn’t have been more wrong, as the sequel, DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue, is set to hit PSN and XBLA September 21 and September 22 respectively. Talking to TVGB at PAX 2010, Hamish Millar, producer on both games, explains how wrong I truly was and why that’s a good thing.
“It’s insane, isn’t it?”
Those words are the first thing Millar says when asked why Hothead Games didn’t space the two games out a bit more. When I protest that it’s not that insane, he assures me that it most certainly is because they are exhausted from working on two games at once. Yes, while the first DeathSpank was in production, the studio “rolled some guys off early and started working on the sequel.”
Millar doesn’t really know when the second game truly hit full productions because, as he puts it, “it’s a little bit fuzzy because of the sharing back and forth of people between the two projects, but the second game was finished just before the first game released. So we had two games ready to fire at once.”
“It was a bold move, I think, because DeathSpank has a unique flavor and it hadn’t fully been tested, like it hadn’t been released to the public,” Millar continues. “But we had some very good data from playtesting internally at HotHead that gave very positive feedback on how much people loved the game.”
The company chose not to hold back the sequel for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that it comes down to sheer numbers. Millar says that they wanted to ship as much product as they possibly can because “the more we ship, the more we learn what the fans really want.” He also chalks the rapid-fire releases as a decision made by publisher EA, saying that it makes sense to try to ride the success and marketing push of the first game, especially since they had the second game already set to ship.
Millar laughs when asked if a third installment of the DeathSpank story is sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for next month, saying that he would “love to say there is,” but making and shipping two games at the same time was insane enough. Although, he does admit that another sequel might be possible.
“I think it makes sense that if the fans go crazy for it, we’d be stupid to ignore them.”