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Brutal Legend postmortem: Scrum, content explosion and lawsuit drama


It's been a bumpy road to release for Brütal Legend. Tim Schafer's had to change publishers, deal with a pesky lawsuit, soldier through PR missteps and even handle some post-release DLC. This is all common knowledge, but in a lengthy postmortem at Gamasutra, Caroline Esmurdoc, executive producer at Double Fine, goes in depth on the development strategy for the title and talks about what went right and what went wrong in the creation of this rock gaming opus.

Double Fine adopted the Scrum method of agile software development for Brütal Legend, which allowed the company to create a renderer, terrain and a playable Eddie Riggs for Tim in a mere month. Content creation was fairly steady, Esmurdoc admitted, but around January of this year, the game's content jumped from the 2.5GB generated over three years to a massive 9GB, thanks to multiple teams unloading assets for the game simultaneously.

Esmurdoc also touched on the lawsuit, though she couldn't go into specifics beyond mentioning that the transition between publishers caused "internal unrest and morale dips among the team", and that Double Fine learned Activision would not be publishing Brutal Legend when the game was suspiciously absent from a list of the publisher's upcoming games. Double Fine then pursued a new publishing partner.

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