The lights are on
Things were going so well for Double Fine. The company was singlehandedly responsible for making crowdfunding a viable, publisher-free mechanism for development. Broken Age (neé Double Fine Adventure) raked in $3.34 million dollars, which is 834 percent of the $400,000 goal.
The original completion date was set for August 2012, but understandably pushed later given the increased scope of the project made possible with the funding. The timeline was shifted first to April 2013 then to September. Now, the project has swung from spectacularly overfunded to perilously underfunded and overambitious.
The title will be released in two halves. The first part will be available in January 2014 and made accessible on Steam Early Access. This will net the company more money to finish the game and get some of the content out to backers just 17 months late (from the original completion date). The completion for the second half could take at least another four or five months, which will be released as free DLC to those who purchased the game.
This is reality. This is development. And, frankly, if this is all there was to the situation, I would personally opt for a bigger, more polished game later and patiently wait.
Unfortunately for Double Fine, the timing of this announcement does not reflect well on the company. Just last week, we reported that the studio's second project, Massive Chalice successfully raised $1.2 million against its $750,000 goal. The studio is also working on two projects with loans from the Indie Fund.
When I spoke with Tim Schafer in May, I added my voice to the chorus of people who were urging Double Fine to return to Kickstarter. In my mind, Broken Age was on track for release this year, in full. I even put my money where my mouth was.
I'm a Broken Age backer, and I significantly upped my ante for Massive Chalice. Double Fine is the Kickstarter success story, after all. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have backed Massive Chalice.
I find it hard to believe that Double Fine didn't know last week that it was on the road to serious delays and a shift in project scope. It's hard not to look at the timing and believe that, deep down, the information was kept quiet so as not to negatively impact Massive Chalice. Despite my eagerness to play both of these games, I feel betrayed.
The shine is rapidly wearing off crowdfunding. The deluge of projects has become overwhelming, and the pool is filled with those that simply haven't prepared well. Some initiatives have been accepted onto the platform that seem to be in opposition to both the spirit and letter of the established rules. It's becoming a used car lot with some hidden classic gems amidst a field of broken down clunkers.
Through all of that though, Tim Schafer and Double Fine were a beacon of hope. Now, that light has dimmed.
Project delays happen. It's a reality of the business, and that shouldn't have users sharpening pitchforks and lighting the torches. Coming back to request funds for a new project while the first is so severely and quietly off track? That's the disrespectful part.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
hrmm, seems people are quite frankly upset for the wrong reasons.
The game is still being made, we have all said before "Take your time, make it right".
Double fine is doing just that. if anything, you should all be happy that they want to release the damn thing in any form and plan to continue development until it's 100%.. Hell I have payed more money for games that were less that 10% finished and they were never touched again.
Get your damn heads out of the clouds and wake up.
Delays Happen, regardless of how the game is funded. Just be happy that it's not some man with a large bank account saying they need to axe 75% of the story to get it on the market in time..
SO they ran out of money, Big Woop! they'll do better next time, if not then they will not get my money on the next project.
As for now, they are still rock solid in my book.
You can't pre order a game from a AAA and expect it to come out on time, what makes you think crowd funding will be any quicker? if anything development should be longer.
It's disappointing news, yes, but I'm still psyched about the game and my money has gone towards and purchased me a copy of a game I expect will be excellent. That contract hasn't been broken.
Lets hope this doesnt happen to INexile, but I don't know this is odd. Why is it taking so much money, even after they monstrously overshot their orignial goal? I understand they need to keep the lights on, but do what INexile did, and have two projects one starting after the other is out of the 1st of two teams phase and they cant do anything anymore. Still, we need to see if this works for them, and double fine can at least serve as a warning, about what happens when you arent carful enough with your money.
Maybe part of the team (creative ideas division) has nothing to do because from their view, the game is complete and all there is left to do is polishing and debugging.
for all the crap we give.... certain, publishers, they keep crap like this from happening. Publishers are the enforcers of the "Rules" so that the developers stay on track. Give an artist 834% of what they asked for they dont take it and say "Great with this i can make 7 more games!" they say "Wow with this i can do this and this and this and this and... aww i need more time and money, time is easy though because no one is holding me back they will understand, money... ill ask for more!" artists need leashes, or else they never stop. I am married to a writer, trust me... :| The project is never finished, there is always a tweak here and a rewrite there and a smudge that needs to be removed be remapping the whole chapter over there. If you guys think this game will EVER be done, you have a harsh truth coming.
I backed 3 games so far. FTL, Shadowrun Returns and Wasteland 2.
I loved FTL, so you can probably understand why I can still trust Kickstarter. And I absolutely like what devs show in ~20 minute demos from Shadowrun & new Wasteland. If these will be great, I'll definitely gonna back new Torment game.
I also really like Expeditions: Conquistador. It's a mix of tactical strategy and RPG, kinda like Heroes of M&M, it's from Kickstarter as well.
Well you can go happy go lucky only for so long Mr Schafer. It's not ok that this kind of situation casts shadow to other projects but it does. Double Fine had so more more responsibility that just to make their game happen. They're pretty much the study case for crowd funding games. They were meant to be the "success story". Gamedev needed that story.
Kickstarters will ruin the industry if they already haven't. It takes the onus off the developer/publisher to manage money properly. This and free to play is taking the industry straight down the ***.
Yeah I don't get why people just hand money over on Kickstarter. Even if it is some "famous" developer should you really be so much of a fan of that person's work that you would throw money at a game that is still nowhere near being done?
I still believe Double Fine will deliver a great product--as is their way, so to speak. But I DID NOT like seeing them starting another Kickstarter while the previous Kickstarter title was unfinished. It makes them look bad, and it tarnishes Kickstarter as a whole--and some I've seen here hate gaming so much that they wouldn't even bother looking at the site before, and now have reason to continue their closed-mindedness and negativity.
Personally they could come out and say we wont be releasing broken age anymore, we've decided its a dud, and I would still be happy that I funded it. I paid for the documentary, the documentary thus far has been, humbling, interesting, exciting, inspiring and funny, its been fantastic just watching the mess that is games development, and with such beautiful results too! Did I mention the production quality on those fairly regular 30 minute videos is off the flippen charts! Gosh darn it why cant all developer diaries be that honest and great!
3.3 Million... That's all I need to say...
I have always been uneasy about investing in something that I cannot control.
I don't let others manage my investments which may ultimately hurt me financially. But at the same time when the stock market takes a hit I'm not complaining about how much my fund got hit.
If a company needs (x)amount of money to develop a game, why give them more? If this game needed $400K to be developed, why did the public give them $3mil?
In the future kickstarter needs to have limits. If you ask for a certain amount, they know more than I do about game development. When that goal is reached that should be the end of it.
Its also the issue of..so many people gave money to this..and got a free copy as a stretch goal.Everyone who wanted this thing pretty much already has a copy..who else really is there to get money from?
I know myself didnt give money to the kickstarter..But I really dont want this to be a negative light on there company.I dont want broken age to go down in quality by being broken into two halves,but I feel like thats inevitable.I will support that game when its finally realised,but I just dont want this to be a disappointment.