Amnesia Fortnight: Decide Double Fine’s Next Prototypes

By John Walker on November 19th, 2012 at 8:01 pm.

Double Fine’s Amnesia Fortnight has become a fairly well known event by the developer. For two weeks every year, everyone at the company stops what they’re working on, and get together in small teams to create prototypes for new game ideas. And since 2009, all the games the studio have released have been born from these creative weeks. The likes of Costume Quest and Stacking came out of this elaborate brainstorm. This year they’re doing it differently. “We’re letting the world in on it,” explained studio head Tim Schafer to me this evening, in an interview to appear later tonight. Via Humble Bundle, we get to vote on the 23 pitches to pick the four that will be created as prototypes. And then the whole process of developing will be live-streamed, with the finished projects available to everyone who paid.

And because it’s a Humble Bundle, that’s paying whatever you like, including diverting all the money to the Child’s Play charity, should you so wish. Once you’ve paid, along with receiving the four prototypes once they’re completed, you’ll also get the prototype versions for two previous Double Fine projects. Happy Song is the earliest incarnation of what would become their making-a-Kinect-worth-owning Once Upon A Monster, and Costume Quest is – well – the prototype for Costume Quest. Both are hugely different from the finished projects, says Schafer, which he hopes should be interesting for fans of their games.

You can view all 23 of the 30 second pitch videos on the Humble site, and then decide which you want to see made into the games before the games. Will they include Cloud Prix – a cloud surfing side-scroller? Or Primordial Slime, a touch-screen game (What they? -Ed) helping a blob of ooze escape from a lab. Maybe Black Lake, in a forest filled with the dreams of the inhabiting animals, protecting them from a darkness that wants to consume their sleepytime thoughts. Or perhaps Silent But Deadly – a smell-based game where you “must escape an office building after pooping your pants.” EVERYONE VOTE FOR SILENT BUT DEADLY.

Tim Schafer explains more in this inevitably hilarious video:

And I’ve had a chat with him about it that I’ll post as soon as I’m done frantically transcribing.

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67 Comments »

  1. Shuck says:

    Honestly, how can it not end up being “Silent But Deadly”?

    • dontnormally says:

      Please upvote KAIJU PILEDRIVER. Rogue-like Rampage remake? omfg.

      Spacebase DE-9 is a sure-winner and my personal favorite.

      • Shuck says:

        Oh boy, there’s a bunch of potentially great ideas in there, but I wonder if a large number of people won’t vote for “Silent” not because they want to see it but just to be perverse.

        • Tacroy says:

          There’s too many winner ideas, I want to vote for all of them.

          I mean like seriously I watched the Turk pitch video with my mouth literally hanging open at how amazing the idea is, but I just can’t vote for it because there’s so much more better stuff.

      • Yglorba says:

        The problem is, its pitch doesn’t really say much about what the game itself would be like.

        And if it got more votes, it would probably knock Autonomous out of the top four, which would be a huge shame — out of the current top four, Autonomous is definitely my favorite.

    • D3xter says:

      The one about Bird Migration just has to win.

    • jaronimoe says:

      I agree. I had to pause the video after the pitch because I cracked up so hard :D

  2. Memphis-Ahn says:

    KAIJU PILEDRIVER confirmed for greatest game ever.

  3. Imbecile says:

    Turk is what now?

    • Acorino says:

      Good question! I couldn’t explain it in my own words, but it sounds intriguing! Got my vote.

    • The Random One says:

      From the description it seems to be Argument Champion with pictures.

  4. The_B says:

    Spacebase DE-9 sounds like Startopia made by Double Fine.

    I don’t think any number of “take my money” memes are adequate enough.

    • Meneth says:

      I’d recommend checking out Maia if you haven’t already. It looks rather promising, and has some similarity to the Spacebase concept.

      • AngoraFish says:

        The main difference being that Spacebase DE-9 is more likely to be funded.

        • Belsameth says:

          The main difference being that DE is still merely a glint in the developers eye.

  5. Ross Angus says:

    Weird. Hey Ash did an Indiana Jones themed video too this week. It’s their best for ages.

    • Sic says:

      I hope Disney recalls all DVDs and BDs of the unspeakable horror and burns them all in a large bonfire, then proceeds to deny that the heap of excrement ever existed.

  6. Xardas Kane says:

    Tim is just such a fun guy. It’s a joy just to see him do his shtick. He’s just like a giant lovable, but twisted fluffy teddy bear

    And everything is better with Indiana Jones references.

  7. Hairball says:

    Hack ‘n Slash seems like a cool idea

  8. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    Been through 5 pitch videos so far. Voted for 4. I’m not sure I’m being helpful…

  9. Sic says:

    Spacebase DF-9, Black Lake, The White Birch and Autonomous easily sound like the most interesting right off the bat.

    • Taidan says:

      I’m definitely all in for Autonomous. Lots of great potential with the rest, too.

  10. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    I WANT THEM ALL

  11. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Hack ‘N’ Slash FTW!

  12. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    What, you mean it’s not a bundle with Amnesia and Fortnight in it?

  13. DickSocrates says:

    Good old Tim Schafer who everyone loves and the games he makes that no one actually likes which contain all that wonderful humour no one finds funny.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rikard Peterson says:

      You seem to have an unusual definition of “no one”.

    • mispelledyouth says:

      False.

      I like.

      Wrongness demonstrated.

      That is all.

    • Low Life says:

      Yeah, tell me about it. The universal dislike for his games, such as Grim Fandango and Psychonauts, really makes me wonder how he ever got the funding for a new game in their spirit.

      • TsunamiWombat says:

        While saying ‘no-one’ likes his stuff is definable wrong, it does raise the interesting question of why, if he’s so beloved, are none of his bigger projects ever commercial hits? Is it just that the mass market has immature since it’s broadened over the past 20 years?

        Heck, I loved Pyschonauts and even enjoyed Brutal Legend for what it was, but neither of those games was a huge hit when they were released. Pete seems to be cursed to eternally be the beloved underground auteur who can’t make it big with his quirky ideas.

    • dontnormally says:

      Good ol internet curmudgeon who everyone actually nevermind I don’t have time for this

    • Ironclad says:

      o you so wacky you

    • Lanfranc says:

      You fight like a dairy farmer.

    • kalirion says:

      Too obvious; you have much too learn about the great art of Trolling, dick-san.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      TROOOOLLLLLL

    • f1x says:

      Not sure if trolling or actually being serious….

      ;)

      Anyway I gotta thank him for the fact that it made me think about all the games that Tim Schaffer/Team/Double fine made and remember that I’ve loved them all so far,

      Mind you, of the Double fine era: Brutal Legend was awesome, so was Psychonauts, so was Costume Quest and Stacking and Iron Brigade

      <3

  14. Wetworks says:

    Interesting idea but I’d only pay money if it included the final game they chose to make. Paying money for some prototypes that were made in 2 weeks doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.

    • Premium User Badge

      Crimsoneer says:

      I don’t see how you can NOT find all this voting and seeing pitches fun :P

      • AngoraFish says:

        I kicked in for Double Fine Adventure, even though I despise point and click puzzle adventures. The videos alone have been worth every cent.

        • Armante says:

          ^THIS^

          whenever a new one comes out I save it for when I have half an hour to grab a coffee & kick back on the couch to watch it. awesomeness. also, hopefully the final game will be fun :)

    • Premium User Badge

      mrwonko says:

      A valid point.

      But personally I’d rather throw my money at Double Fine and have a little prototype to toy with and give feedback on than add another game to ever growing backlog. And they deserve money just for that video. So I gave them some.

    • S Jay says:

      So you are saying that donating 10 cents to a charity (yes, you can choose to donate all the money you pledge to the charity and yes you can donate ridiculous amounts) is not worth of:

      a) choosing the new Double Fine’s game

      b) having super super super super super early prototype access (well, Kickstarters charge for this shit, no?)

      and

      c) watching daily mini-documentaries about the progress of how the prototypes come together?

      Ok, you might be the kind of person that REALLY values 10 cents.

      • Optimaximal says:

        You need to spend at least $1 to actually vote for anything.

  15. kyrieee says:

    Spacebase, because JP fuck yeah

  16. yanko44 says:

    so many great ideas..

    I think they should have hidden the amount of votes …
    makes it more exciting.

    • AngoraFish says:

      The votes should be hidden to discourage people trying to game the system and to eliminate the “pile on the leader” problem (projects with the most votes get the most attention, leading to more votes, etc.).

      • Acorino says:

        agreed. at least they randomize the order in which the projects appear on the page.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      Yep, in fact *so* many great ideas, that I could actually believe they really have that humungo-warehouse filled with all the shelved ones :O

  17. seamoss says:

    The lady behind Tim really needs “to go” badly…

  18. Cooper says:

    4 games.

    Shit. There’s more than 4 fucking amazing game ideas there.

  19. Kaira- says:

    Wait, only Windows-versions? Isn’t one of the selling points of Humble Bundle to have multiplatform games?

    • SurprisedMan says:

      In 2 weeks? I think this one is an exception in more ways than one…

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Even if they were made in flash or some other multiplatform medium, it’d still be a waste of time to Q&A two-week prototypes to make sure they work on multiple OSs. Final versions, yes, but this is pure R&D. Pre-pre-pre-Alpha. Concept art glued together with a few gears stuck on the side and somehow it doesn’t crash every time.

  20. iucounu says:

    This is a fascinating study in the art of the pitch. Like compressed Kickstarter. There’s stuff hanging around the lower end of the chart which you can tell is there because it doesn’t suggest a fleshed-out idea, or it doesn’t hit the right buttons, or the pitch was otherwise fluffed, or even the one-line pitch wasn’t enticing enough for me to spare 30 seconds to watch the video. Really interesting.

  21. Buemba says:

    Mmm… Too bad few of the pitches mention intended platforms. I know we’ll get PC prototypes of the 4 winners, but nothing guarantees the final product will be on it and some definitely sound more geared towards tablets.

    Still, that’s a minor issue. The big one is that there are too many great concepts and too few winning slots.

  22. The Random One says:

    It’s a great idea that a big (medium?) dev is now making a jam public (because that’s what it is) and I hope it inspires indies to actually go and polish their jam prototypes until it’s something you don’t need to make excuses for.

  23. MadTinkerer says:

    And now Silent But Deadly is starting to get more plusses. I wouldn’t mind, but they’re only making four of the pitched games. If Autonomous isn’t made but SBD is,I’m holding you personally responsible, John.

  24. Yglorba says:

    Makes me sad that The Knockover isn’t going to be in the top four… I loved They Stole One Million and The Clue, and it looks like a game in that general line of thinking.

    Also, Turk deserves a bit more support, if only because it’s a cool concept that could be reasonably implemented in a fun, playable fashion in the scope of a two-week prototype. A lot of the other games people are voting up, not so much.

  25. mrmalodor says:

    I want to do naughty things with Veronica Belmont.

  26. crinkles esq. says:

    The White Birch — That guy!! Holy moly. He’s going to steal our dreams and hide them in his forest.
    The Flock — This is like a Saturday Night Live parody of RPS. Multiplayer bird migration simulator? Sign me up.

  27. ChainsawCharlie says:

    After seeing how nice guy Brad Muir is from all the Giantbomb coverage I think his idea sounds coolest. Even if I didn’t like Trenched.

  28. The Random One says:

    So you can vote for all of them if you want? That doesn’t sound particularly helpful.

    Zumbi Chained and Shine Run are the two most interesting ideas that aren’t anywhere close to winning. Shine Run is a game that would actually benefit from GTAIV’s wonky vehicle physics (since the most dangerous thing about shine runs is that all that hidden liquid was heavy and would cause your car to behave rather strangely).

  29. identifierad says:

    This is worth two bucks.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Kasper says:

    It makes me happy that Tim Schafer has employed so many creative and awesome people. This is such a good idea and a celebration of creativity in a very fundamental and idealistic way. I want to hug them all and give them money to realise their game ideas.