The lights are on
Today’s release of Escape Goat 2 on PC is important to developer MagicalTimeBean, but what you may not know is that Double Fine is part of the celebration. The studio known for Psychonauts and Broken Age is lending a helping hand by helping other indie developers publish their titles.
We spoke with Double Fine chief operating officer Justin Bailey via email about the new initiative. The company is approaching the new partnerships as a way to provide custom services without stealing the spotlight from the developers. “For Escape Goat 2, we're primary providing promotional assistance and distribution,” Bailey explains. “Our goal is to help indies build their own community and empower them with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed on their own.”
Double Fine is leveraging its own experiences on the path to independence and providing mentorship and counsel along with more tangible assistance. “Lots of indies have approached us and asked if we could help them out with publishing, so we knew there was value in what we have to offer,” Bailey says. “They all had a unique request and that's where we started to see there was a real need for the knowledge we've gained over the last 14 years on how to prototype, fund, develop, and publish our own games.”
Double Fine looked at the marketplace and determined that there was a need for someone like them to assist. “We noticed that there wasn't a publisher offering these service in a flexible format that's customized to what indies need without also creating a certain codependence.”
Double Fine put out the call today for others looking for help getting their game to market. Bailey tells us that the process for taking on new developers will be organic, and that they expect there will be a diversity of needs. “Some will want help with Kickstarters and other funding, some will want development feedback, others will want promotional or even advice porting to other platforms,” he says. “We're open to working with each developer and figuring out how we can help make them successful.”
Right now, the publishing operation is two people – Bailey and senior publishing manager Greg Rice – so for now things will be limited in scope. However, if it’s successful and valuable, the team could expand. “The current focus is just on making the titles we publish successful and something that both the developer and Double Fine can be proud of,” Bailey says.
Ultimately, Double Fine is looking to help small developers who want to continue to operate without a formal publishing agreement, Bailey tells us. “That's the alternative we want to offer – a way for indies to stay indie.”