Broken Age Gets Broken in Half to Ensure Completion

broken age needs more money

Tim Schafer, a luminary figure in the gaming industry who holds a position akin to everyone’s favorite uncle, might have burned up some of his good will earlier this week.

In a letter to Kickstarter backers, Tim Shafer announced that Broken Age is getting split in half in order to make sure that the game can be completed in full.

According to the letter, Broken Age got pretty large; so large in fact that internal predictions at Double Fine put the game’s release in July of 2014 with a significant amount of content being cut. Instead of releasing a smaller game at a later date than promised, Double Fine will be selling the first half of Broken Age through Steam Early Access in January of 2014 to fund the rest of the game.

Backers will still get their full game as promised; what the Steam Early Access will do is open the game up to people who didn’t back the game on Kickstarter and will hopefully create the revenue Double Fine needs to finish it off. Double Fine thought it would be improper to get money from an actual publisher or go back to Kickstarter.

So what do you guys think? If you’re a backer, what’s your take on this?

Source – Gamasutra

Ron Gilbert Says Fans Don’t Always Know Best

Ron Gilbert

In an age where anybody with a keyboard feels that they have a megaphone full of gold the world is just dying to hear, the fan seems to play a different role than before. With social media, forum feedback, community manager and whatever else is available, people just want to be heard more than ever. And what’s more, they feel like their opinions should carry just as much weight as any creative director’s.

Well, Ron Gilbert, one of the creators of the PC adventure genre and one of the geniuses at Double Fine behind the upcoming The Cave, has some words for that person. In a recent interview with Gameological in which he discussed humor in games, writing and the industry, Gilbert talks about meeting fan expectations, with great insight.

The answer that anybody creating anything will give is that you should have no responsibility to them. You have to do what you want to do, and you have to do what you think is the right thing to do and what you think is the best thing to do…

Creative things, no matter what they are—books, video games, whatever—if they’re really good, they have lots of pointy little edges, and that’s what makes them interesting. It’s all these pointy little spikes and all these little things you can cut yourself and prick yourself on, that’s what makes creative work interesting. If you get into self-censorship mode, you start to pound all those pointy edges away because you’re very afraid of offending somebody or worried what somebody will think of it. And then what you’re left with is kind of blah, just not interesting. I think you just need to do what you think is the right thing to do, and hopefully people like it.

Personally, I’m really glad that Gilbert said these things. As I said before, we live in a time where everyone wants to blast their voice at everything, all the time, and I’m not sure we’re all better off for it in creative instances. From my very limited experience with this, the best thing you can do is make what you want to make, and if people like it, they’ll come along and follow you for the ride. Obviously, games are a business, so many people are afraid to trust that notion. But I think we see better creative work as a result.

What about you? What do you think? Is Gilbert off his rocker? Should fans have more say about what goes on in video games or creative endeavors in general? Go!

Source – Gameological

Double Fine Adventure: Episode One Released for Free

By now, we all know about Double Fine’s landmark Kickstarter campaign, which netted them millions of dollars from gamers seeking a classic adventure game. Even though this has spawned a number of copy cat attempts and some obnoxious reporting from other video game websites (do we seriously count Kickstarters running short of their goal as news, now?), I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for an update from Tim Schafer about the progress of the project.

Well, here it is. If you’ll recall, part of the funding for the project was going towards a documentary of the game-making process, as filmed and created by 2 Player Productions. Funding the Kickstarter gives access to these documentary pieces, giving an in-depth look at every stage of development. But if you didn’t fund the project, fear not — Double Fine was gracious enough to release Double Fine: Adventure: Episode One for free.

While we don’t see a whole lot of the game in development at this point, it’s certainly a well made introduction to the entire series, giving a run down on Tim Schafer’s background in the adventure genre, as well as the reactions at the studio upon seeing the success of the Kickstarter campaign.

What do you guys think of Episode One? Who else backed the Double Fine Adventure? Go!

Double Fine Wants to Change the Game

I love when you see something so simple yet so brilliant that it kind of blows your mind. Tim Schafer has been in the spotlight quite a bit this week, what with his Psychonauts 2 shenanigans with Notch and all. But this actually goes a step further:

Tim Schafer is letting you (meaning us) finance Double Fine’s next game, a classic point-and-click adventure. Normally, a game like this would have little chance of being put into production by a publisher, so he’s taking the game straight to fans on Kickstarter. Rather than blather on about it, I’ll let Tim tell you about it himself.

And there you have it. For $400,000, Double Fine will make an old school adventure game, and the fans get to be a part of the process. Meanwhile, all of it will be documented by 2 Player Productions, the dudes behind the Minecraft/Mojang documentary.

It’s hard for me to express just how excited I am about this. While I don’t think it’ll necessarily change gaming as we know it, it certainly opens the door to start developers down that path. They would answer to fans and cut out the middle man completely. At the same time, what we’re seeing of the game isn’t being dictated by marketing, but rather an in-depth documentary crew. It’s just a little bit rad.

So what do you guys think of this? I’ve already donated some money. The numbers are already past 100k in the first day of the campaign, so I don’t think they’ll have any problems hitting it. Do any of you think you’ll join?

Edit: At the time I published this, the Kickstarter was at 122k, up from 90k when I started writing/donating.

Source – Kickstarter

Double Fine, Trenched, and Owning the Downloadable Market

Sometimes the big tent-pole, triple-A title model doesn’t work, and a studio folds in on itself. This is a very common occurrence, and it’s rare that any given developer in this situation will regain their footing and continue making games. Thankfully, Double Fine, creators of Psychonauts, managed to dig themselves out of the Brutal Legend hole and converted their business model to making smaller, less financially risky downloadable games. This meant they were free to experiment with different genres and flex their witty writing muscles without subjecting themselves to the sometimes cruel whims of the video game playing masses.

Starting off with Costume Quest and leading into Stacking and Trenched (which I’ll get to in a moment), Double Fine has proven that they know how to make great games, and they’ve finally found themselves an audience that is receptive to their hard work. I did miss out on Costume Quest and Stacking (though I have heard they’re excellent) but I decided to check out Trenched, a mech combat/tower defense game, because those two play-styles mashed together sounds like a hell of a good time and it has co-op, which is always a plus in my books.
Continue reading Double Fine, Trenched, and Owning the Downloadable Market

Costume Quest by Double Fine is Adorable, Downloadable

Tim Schafer is one of those certified “video game celebrities” in my mind, so much so that if I walked past him on the street, I’d ask for a picture (I may do this at PAX, should he be there.) Unfortunately, his studio’s last big title, Brutal Legend, didn’t do that well commercially, so Double Fine is having to switch plans somewhat. The first step of their new business model is to release several small downloadable games, the first of which is Costume Quest, a Halloween themed RPG due out on October 31 (clever, huh?). Take a look at the trailer:

Just the sort of thing we wished our costumes could do when we were kids, no? Admittedly, I didn’t play Brutal Legend mostly due to the less-than-overwhelming reception, but Costume Quest looks like it is due to be a hit. What do you guys think? Pumped for the next Tim Schafer game?