Amnesia Fortnight 2014 Offers 31 New Double Fine Pitches

By Graham Smith on February 7th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Also Breach looks a lot like Heat Signature.

Amnesia Fortnight is two weeks every year during which Double Fine allow their entire staff to pitch and make game prototypes, with the goal of eventually expanding a few of those games, and maybe turning some into a full retail release. It’s the process through which Costume Quest and Stacking were born; it was opened to public voting and documenting last year, birthing Spacebase; and it’s now back for another while around.

As per last year, that means you can buy your way into the process via a pay-what-you-want Humble page. That let’s you vote on which of the 31 prototypes get developed (including 4 by Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward), and perhaps most excitingly lets you watch the 2 Player documentaries of the entire process.

I’ve embedded Double Fine’s introductory video a few of the best pitch videos and trailers for a couple of games below.

Here’s the explanation:

Double Fine recently released the first part of their Kickstarted adventure game, Broken Age. If you were a backer of that project, you might have watched the documentary series which charted the game’s creation, from concept art to puzzle design. It was, is, a fascinating series, and perhaps the most detailed insight into a game creation process ever. I wouldn’t normally splurge money of any amount on a bunch of prototypes, or on a vote, but I will spend money to watch the documentaries which follow this new Amnesia Fortnight.

Here’s the trailer for Headlander, a game in which you can land your head.

Pendleton Ward is the talented artist and writer responsible for Adventure Time, and less responsible for the disappointing Adventure Time games. He’s previously created Minecraft skins, talked about game design concepts, and helped judge the Adventure Time jam, but this might be the first opportunity for him to create or lead a game project of his own. I’m not sure how that’d work exactly, since he’s presumably quite busy with all those TV shows, but I like his trademark meaty babies and butts.

To get access to the Pendleton Ward prototypes, you need to pay $7.51 or more. Watch the rest of the pitch videos and find out more on the Humble page.

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52 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    Another “jump on cash” from Double Fine? After buying Space Base DF9 I made myself a promise: Never buy anything from these scammers. Besides tons of promises and “indie” label they got nothing to offer. Development of the game basically got stuck in place, and only patches they released since initial spin were focused on fixing some small bugs here and there. I seen games build by one person developing more quickly then that. And so instead of finishing the projects from last run – they start several new? What kind of a joke-company is that? I understand that they need money to feed their big projects, but… seriously… WTF?!

    • Premium User Badge

      Jalan says:

      Incoming opposition to unpopular opinion of much beloved indie darling development studio in 5… 4… 3…

      • The Random One says:

        Eh. I find that opinion wrongheaded but understandable.

      • kharlos says:

        Hey, testing alpha development isn’t for everyone, namely, those that have absolutely no clue what alpha even means.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      Oh, hey, I’ll start.

      You seem confused.

      1) The point of Amnesia Fortnight isn’t to start games that will eventually all be developed into finished products. It’s to pitch and prototype game concepts which then later might or might not graduate to full projects. They have been using this process since 2007, it’s only in 2012 that they decided to do it publicly. So far they have shipped 5 or 6 games from Amnesia Fortnights, with another release (Hack ‘n’ Slash) due later this year.

      2) Where’d you get the idea that Double Fine don’t ship games? Last year they shipped 4, not counting all the ports of their existing games they also shipped, and not counting the Sony Playroom Addon, and not counting Broken Age Act 1, which was just released.

      3) Did you not understand Spacebase is in active alpha development? They’ve released 3 major updates to it so far, and the fourth is due next week.

      • Runty McTall says:

        Certainly a quick look at the website for the game suggests that they are developing it quite actively:

        http://spacebasedf9.com/

        As does the Steam update page:

        http://steamcommunity.com/games/246090/announcements/

        So… maybe you need to update your version of the game Cinek?

        • Hobbes says:

          Eh. I’m going to have to somewhat side with the original poster. Not because progress has been slow specifically, but because the game even as an alpha has some utterly gigantic holes which feel like showstoppers that need resolving before it even hits legitimate alpha stage.

          At a mechanical level there’s -still- no use for the power generators despite that appearing to be a fairly high priority issue (I mean, that’s going to affect pretty much everything else, so putting that in is going to by default force people to rebalance and rethink their builds and approaches), and at a more high level there does seem to be a lack of objective beyond “Don’t die lol”.

          There’s the bones of an excellent game here, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not even a skeleton yet, let alone one you can hang muscles upon. Hopefully the next two to three alpha updates will start bringing things into more steady focus.

          • lhl says:

            “legitimate alpha stage” – I think you’re misunderstanding what alpha means. That is the stage in development where features are built, including core mechanics, loops and features. The point of participating in alpha is to give feedback that could impact development. If you want something feature complete, you should wait for beta.

    • Premium User Badge

      Yachmenev says:

      Jump on cash? They pause their normal budgeted projects for this, which means that this thing actually costs them. Last time Tim Schafer said that the amnesia fortnights usually costs them $200k, which means that the money gained for this at best will cover a part of that.

      • Lord_Santa says:

        I wonder how they used to be able of affording these fortnights ‘back when’ ( before they started asking the public for money…)

        • SurprisedMan says:

          Well, it was always an investment in R&D. The idea being that at least some of the games coming out of Amnesia Fortnight would end up turning into full projects, typically that cost around $2million, so an extra 50k per game in the concept stage doesn’t actually affect the overall budget too much.

        • Moraven says:

          Where else do you think the Broken Age KS money goes?

      • Premium User Badge

        Yachmenev says:

        They could afford them. And they have to put in their money now also unless the humble page for it raises a lot more money. That still doesn’t make this a cashgrab as suggested.

        If anyone wonders, last years public Amnesia Fortnight was a very appreciated events by those who backed it and participated in votings, discussions and livestreams.

    • DestructibleEnvironments says:

      I dunno if you realize this, but DoubleFine is a studio that is getting bigger every day (sorta), and they have kept a focus on smaller games lately, with small teams branching out working on their own thing. Have some patience and divert your whining to other areas.

      • Teovald says:

        you mean that Double Fine is not a single entity but a group of people that can be divided in different teams ? that’s just madness !

        • Aaarrrggghhh says:

          And it doesn’t stop there! Those teams are smaller than 200 people each!

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      So, I did not back Spacebase but from the Steam page it was released on October 15th. Let’s just say that’s four months now. In these four months they released three hotfixes, three major releases (which included major gameplay features like meteor showers and hunger system) and three minor releases (mainly bug fixes). For me one major update every month (the next Alpha seems to be due in a week) is just fine. Especially for an Alpha where a lot of things break and need to be changed.
      The only game of higher complexity I know that updates on a more frequent basis is Planetary Annihilation. And even that has slowed down considerably recently.

    • Armante says:

      Ignorant person makes ignorant comment.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      > And so instead of finishing the projects from last run – they start several new? What kind of a joke-company is that?

      Just about every company have several projects running in parallel, different staff involved in different stages of a project. This has been explained many times.

    • onsamyj says:

      As Kickstarter is not a pre-order, AF is not a bundle of games – it’s a documentary. And damn good documentary, there is not enough of those around.

    • ShamekaSKeener says:

      my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $81 every hour on the laptop . She has been laid off for 9 months but last month her pay check was $16495 just working on the laptop for a few hours. go now …………….http://WWW.MAC30.COM

  2. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Sold on the documentaries alone. But it just hit me, why didn’t they do this for 2013? I assume there was an amnesia fortnight that year… I definitely remember one being referenced in the Double Fine Adventure series (but that could have been 2012’s). Unless they did do one and I forgot. Possibly it lived up to its name that time. Sometimes when you lose two weeks it’s best not to find out what happened during them.

    • Spliter says:

      It’s more like they’re a few months late (most likely because of Broken Age development).
      In 2012 AF was by the end of November, so we’re getting it about 2 months later.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      No, there wasn’t one in 2013; I assume the main reason was that they were pretty busy as a studio towards the end of the year (the 2012 one was in November). At least as far as Broken Age is concerned, this is definitely a good time to do another AF.

      As an aside, it’s amazing just how much goodwill the openness of the studio has generated. By now, I’ve spent so much time watching the people of Double Fine at work that I really can’t help but like them, wish them well and, of course, throw money at them whenever possible. I don’t know if Tim Schafer is actively trying to brainwash us all, but even if he doesn’t, he’s brilliant at it.

    • Teovald says:

      According to the splendid introduction vid (Tim Shafer & co should give courses on these), they just did not do one in 2013. They were probably too busy to branch out enough people to work on a new project.
      Now sounds like a good time : Broken Age probably needs way less people than a couple of months ago, SBDF9 is developing smoothly, …
      I wonder how many people they have there, They are starting to have many projects developed concurrently.

      • Premium User Badge

        welverin says:

        They don’t branch people off, they put all current projects on hold and everyone at the studio participates.

    • The Random One says:

      I also remember that AF 2012 was around September? So maybe they pushed AF 2013 a few months, until after Broken Age’s release, so they could push it sooner, and it ended up on the next year. Or maybe they are aliens following their home planet’s calendar. What known stellar bodies have any astronomical cycle lasting around fifteen months or a multiple thereof?

  3. frightlever says:

    “Pendleton Ward is the talented artist and writer responsible for Adventure Time, and less responsible for the disappointing Adventure Time games.”

    Disappointing game. The mobile only platformer was okay from what I heard.

    Did the other one ever get better, and/or drop significantly in price?

  4. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    Pendleton Ward’s pitches are a good example of what happens when you let someone who doesn’t have an understanding of game design design a game. They’re all rather sweet, but Damn It, Jerry is the only one that approaches having any kind of gameplay concept.

  5. The Random One says:

    I want to know how much I have to pay to enter the tier that allows me to:

    1) Demand KAIJU PILEDRIVER from the previous fortnight be made, as the fact that it was left out from the previous fortnight is the greatest travesty of our time.
    2) Demand Mr Ward apologize personally to each child he swindled with his last licenced game, which is the greatest travesty of our time, through a song and dance number if possible.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      We demand he dress up as Credits Bee and do the Dance of Apology in the way of our people!

      Penward, do the Dance of Sorry!

  6. Freud says:

    Infinity Ward should do something similar.

    • The Random One says:

      Pendleton “Infinity” Ward

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      If Obsidian teamed up with Humble Bundle to do something similar: ALL my money.

      • Premium User Badge

        DrScuttles says:

        I’d pay a worrying amount of money just to watch 2 Player Productions go around filming Josh Sawyer.

  7. Armante says:

    Love the video. Tim and co are at it again :) 2P productions must love that they hooked up with DF; they’ve produced a huge amount of highly watchable video, be it the amazing Broken Age doco’s, the SideQuests or all the coverage of the 2012 Amnesia Fortnight.

    Not throwing too much money their way this time as money’s tight right now, and I have no desire to vote on PWs ‘game ideas’. Anyone wondering whether they should drop a buck or two; trust me – the videos themselves will be worth it.

    EDIT: My three votes went to Mnemonic, Reentry and Derelict. What are your votes?

    • Premium User Badge

      Yachmenev says:

      Dear Leader
      Headlander
      Reentry

    • onsamyj says:

      ether (Flower + Journey?)
      Steed
      ExtraTerrarium

      On one hand, there is a lot of garbage and clones, on the other – more than 3 games I’d like to see (add Gone Astray, Derelict, Timagotchi & Breach).

    • Ysellian says:

      Dear Leader
      Project Xing
      Timagothchi

    • Xocrates says:

      Mega Rad Karate Troopers
      Parabolic
      Buried Metropolis

      Damnit Jerry

    • Retro says:

      Steed (what an interesting twist, and is just a natural fit for the DF ‘culture’ imo)
      Parabolic (just an interesting game concept, especially if you check out the discussion at the DF forums)
      Derelict (rift support!)

      ‘Dear Leader’ feels too much ‘me too’ after ‘paper’s please’.. but maybe I’m just burned out on that one

    • baron_aim says:

      What Could Go Wrong
      The Last Missile Commander
      Astro Helmet

    • Acorino says:

      Dear Leader
      What Could Go Wrong
      ExtraTerrarium

      Damnit Jerry

    • Frank says:

      Dear Leader
      Gone Astray
      Scavengers

      The first two sound like unique experiences. The last one’s there because I’m still hoping someone can tweak the LoL formula to actually be fun.

    • Philomelle says:

      ether
      Gone Astray
      White Witch’s Gnome War

      I’m very curious in Derelict, but there were also other amazing sci-fi games on that list and after waffling about which one of them to vote for, I decided I’d rather vote for White Witch’s Gnome War. It sounds like a curious take on action/RPGs with a charming art direction.

    • Premium User Badge

      Trinnet says:

      At the time of writing:

      Dear Leader
      Breach
      Project Xing

      Vacillating a lot at the moment though – could easily end up plumping for ExtraTerrarium / Steed / Parabolic / Great Spirits / Headlander instead of one of the above – lots of strong pitches this year.

    • lhl says:

      So hard to decide. Went heavy on the Oculus Rift experiences.

      Derelict
      Reentry
      Jet Girl and Ghost Dog (because pixels)

      If I had infinite votes, would love to see these get made: ether, Astro Helmet, Timagotchi, Mnemonic, The White Witch’s Gnome War, Breach, and Dum Sim

      For the Pendleton game, I went w/ Damnit Jerry since that seemed the most likely to actually be fun to play in 2 weeks…

  8. malkav11 says:

    I love Double Fine and if there were an amount I could pledge to get copies of any of the games that end up actually going into full production from this process I would totally put money down, but I just see no value to prototypes and although 2Player makes good documentaries, I already am way behind on the Broken Age one so adding another to my pile doesn’t make sense to me.

  9. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I like the NOLFyness of the Headlander music.

  10. Frank says:

    I was going to say Graham could not be a genuine video game-playing human, because he did not seem excited enough. But then I read the idiotic comments about DF and money, and the sober tone makes much more sense.

  11. DrManhatten says:

    Double Fine is pretty overrated. They tend to have good concepts that sound good on paper but the actual end result is far from being as good as it original sounded.

  12. Dances to Podcasts says:

    The short pitch for Breach is SPACE WESTERN. The longer pitch has very little Western in it… :(