After recently being clubbed round the head after being mistaken for a seal, I was hit with about two weeks worth of amnesia. In that time of sanity, Tim Schafer came to visit me and proposed. Not to me, he proposed an idea to me. And that idea was one of epic proportions.
“Ewan!” he said to me (obviously). “I’ve had an amazing idea for a new way of making profit in my business, while at the same time boosting morale!”
“Dear Lord, Tim, dare I ask what this idea is?”
“No, you may not.”
And thus, Amnesia Fortnight was born.
So what is Amnesia Fortnight. Dare I explain the perils of it? Well, yes. Otherwise there wouldn’t be much point to writing this article. Amnesia Fortnight is a genuinely real thing and not something I made up while feverishly conscious in my hospital bed.
While Tim Schafer was working on Brutal Legend with his team, Activision bought the rights to the publisher that would be publishing the game and they told Schafer to fuck off, but more politely. EA eventually published the game, but in this time, a dark void was left. Whatever to do with all this spare time?
I know what we’ll do. Fuck about for two weeks and pretend Brutal Legend isn’t a thing. Thus spawned the idea of Amnesia Fortnight, the employees got into separate teams and made their own little games. One of which being Iron Brigade, a genuinely fun game that in no way is the only one I’m writing about here because I couldn’t remember the name of the other ones. Sesame Street. Maybe.
However in that time I’m sure everyone was productive, I think it’s possible to make them work harder and make better games. If we look at Double Fine’s track record they’ve made some phenomenal games, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts and Gang Beasts apparently.
However I did a bit of research into these harmless fortnights, and found that they are not all they seem…
For starters, Schafer made his employees literally work for a fortnight. No breaks, no food, nothing, if one of them died then they were replaced by one of the interns they had caged up in the break room. Poor sods, they were treated like dirt, it was like Stalin’s Russia, but compact in one room and they were allowed to use computers. But still, Obama himself had to go down to the Double Fine office and state they’d declare nuclear war if they didn’t pack it in. So the conditions were lifted and they were given one five-minute break every two weeks.
Secondly, Schafer’s ultimatum. Not many people were told about this, only I and a select few other reviewers were ever told. Not even Jim Fucking Sterling son was told. I’m in the elite few, thank God for me. Anyway, what was I talking about? Yes, that was it, Schafer’s ultimatum. He said that if the company didn’t produce some decent games over the two weeks then he’d kill everyone that worked at Double Fine, so it was safe to say that the stakes were fairly high. Judging by the results of the Amnesia Fortnights, I’d take a gamble and say that some people survived, but the people behind the Sesame Street Kinect Game will most probably have been hung, drawn and quartered.
But other than that, Amnesia Fortnight was a success, Schafer continues to create new and daring games, by which I mean he’s just remastering his old games, and now we’re coming full loop and there’ll probably be an Amnesia Fortnight this year.
It’s a bit like The Purge, but a lot more dangerous.