After thirty years in the industry and pioneering an entire genre of games with titles like Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island, Ron Gilbert should have earned the title of master tradesman at this point. Since leaving LucasArts and founding studios like Cavedog Entertainment though, Gilbert has continued to travel through the video game world, plying his trade as a journeyman. It seemed like when he joined Double Fine in 2010, teaming up with his old partner Tim Schafer on The Cave, that he might be ready to declare his journeymen days over. Not so. Ron Gilbert announced this week that he’s left Double Fine.
“Now that The Cave is done and unleashed on an unsuspecting world (okay, we did do a bunch of PR, so it wasn’t exactly unsuspecting), it’s time for me to move on from Double Fine and plot my next move,” said Gilbert on Monday, “So many games left to be designed.”
While Gilbert didn’t go into details about why he’s decided to leave Double Fine after finishing just one game, but the designer did imply that the split has been amicable.
“I want to think all the amazing people at Double Fine for all their hard work on The Cave. It was a true pleasure to work with every one of them over the past two years. So much fun. I will miss them all. And of course to Tim for creating the opportunity to come there and make The Cave.”
Just before joining Double Fine, Gilbert made a similar leap from Hothead Games, where Gilbert was a member of Hothead for just two years. Joining in 2008, he took over as Creative Director of the studio, making the role-playing comedy DeathSpank that was ultimately published by Electronic Arts, but he left the studio before it was even released. “As DeathSpank ends the creative and production phases and starts down that long and winding road of certification and testing of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, it’s looking quite amazing and is damn funny,” said Gilbert, “So, to quote my childhood hero George W. Bush: Mission Accomplished.”
In an era when game makers are frequently cut loose from studios when a game is finished, both independent and publisher-owned, it’s encouraging to see Gilbert continue to hone his craft with whatever team can help him make the games he wants to make.