Double Fine head Tom Schafer has blamed poor messaging on the performance of Brutal Legend.
Schafer stated that he ultimately regretted how the title was portrayed before its launch and firmly believes it could have enjoyed more success.
"The part that I felt was most special about the game got unfairly vilified because of poor messaging. I think it’s the neatest thing about the game turning into a big negative for people, whereas if we’d brought them in the process early they would have enjoyed those parts about the game a lot more."
Activision’s parent company Vivendi was the game’s original publisher, but it was later picked up by EA following the former’s refusal to refer to the game as an RTS. The Double Fine founder explained how a more open approach could have helped the rock action-adventure title.
"Vivendi was like ‘No. Absolutely not. We’ll never say RTS, ever. Even if someone asks us if it’s an RTS we’ll say no. There was definitely a messaging problem with that game. That’s one example of how the openness would have helped that game a lot. Say we were developing that and sharing our battle system with people before we launched; not only would people have known about it, but people would contribute ideas to it and embrace it, and feel like it was their idea instead of this nasty shock."
However, despite its problems, he stands by Brutal Legend and believes "it's still a lot of fun. People would play it online and they'd really enjoy it."
Schafer has now explained that he aims for a more open approach to development and said that "we used to have this terror that if I go off-message and say the wrong no one will buy my game, which is not true.”