Broken Age Act II Already Funded, Claims Double Fine

By Nathan Grayson on February 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Once upon a time in Prior Age 2013, you might remember that Tim Schafer garnered some Internet scorn by confessing that Broken Age had broken Double Fine’s bank. This despite a Kickstarter so successful that it kickstarted the notion of using Kickstarter for games (Kickstarter). But then Schafer and co, those clever jesters, they hatched a scheme: break the game into two parts (WORDPLAY) and then use the first to fund the second. So, did it work? It’s a multilayered question, a  nigh-ineffable series of concepts, a seemingly simple binary that explodes into mind-boggling complexity, and the answer is yes.

Schafer gave an update on the situation to GamesIndustry International:

“We’ve made enough that we can make the second half of the game for sure.”

“We’ve shipped enough that people can see we weren’t kidding, and that’s a big relief. Because I think there’s a lot of pressure on Kickstarter projects, especially the really big Kickstarter projects, to just not screw it up for everybody else.”

He also confessed that Double Fine could’ve handled the cruel reality of Broken Age’s ballooning budget much better. Foremost, he admitted it was a big mistake to only keep backers in the loop as the game’s development scaled up, which made the episodic announcement something of a bombshell for everyone else. The solution? Be as transparent as possible with future games like Massive Chalice, whose forums and livestreams are open to the public.

So that’s good news. Obviously, it would’ve been much better if Double Fine had maintained its game’s scope better and planned more realistically, but a) they originally set out to make a documentary of a very small game and b) the end result we got instead is rather delightful (though hardly Schafer’s finest work), if you ask me. The bigger issue is that Kickstarter backers paid for one thing upfront and got something rather different when all was said and done, but Double Fine was also the first gaming company to strike gold, oil, and a vein of just, like, infinite chocolate on Kickstarter. Uncharted territory often begets unpleasant surprises.

I’m glad that Double Fine’s trying to address those issues on its second crowdfunding excursion. As for Broken Age Act II, well, it’s now officially a go for later this year. Here’s hoping it’s got a bit more meat on its bones and also, you know, an ending.

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83 Comments »

  1. unimural says:

    The bigger issue is that Kickstarter backers paid for one thing upfront and got something rather different when all was said and done

    I’m sure this has been debated to death, and will continue to be debated well beyond the scope of any afterlife, but I really wish people wouldn’t use terms like ‘paid for’ when talking about Kickstarter. It encourages the idea that Kickstarter, for games, is a pre-order and, I believe, is harmful for both devs and the audience.

    Admittedly there are many game devs who wish the emphasize this aspect. Shame on them too.

    • Hahaha says:

      “The bigger issue is that Kickstarter backers paid for one thing upfront and got something rather different when all was said and done”

      We got a documentry and an adventure game both of which were pitched on the kickstarter page o.0

      also this

      “A: Other than that it will be an old school adventure, we’re not sure. That’s the beauty of it! Everything will unfold in front of the cameras with help from you!”

      • malkav11 says:

        Yeah, I’m a DFA backer and I’m not sure how what I’m getting differs from what was promised, other than being bigger and better because the funds allowed a larger scope. Documentary? Check. Point and click adventure game? Check. Yes, we don’t have the full game yet but as long as we get it (and sounds like we will), so what?

      • Shuck says:

        Well, the original goal was to make something incredibly small and simple (a short, simple Flash-based adventure game with no voice acting, etc.) that primarily was intended to act as a demonstration of the game-making process for the documentary (which was the real emphasis of the project). What they ended up making was a real game with significant production values. So quite different, but hardly something to complain about. In fact, I suspect there would have been howls of outraged protest had they kept to their original plan – “We gave you all this money, and all you gave us was a little Flash game!?”

      • Tacroy says:

        We got a documentry and an adventure game both of which were pitched on the kickstarter page o.0

        Yeah, even in the video Schafer said that all they were guaranteeing is the 2P Productions documentary – he said something along the lines of “everything else might go up in flames, but at least you’ll see it happen”

    • Raztaman says:

      Too right there unimural, it’s a contribution/donation and not a guaranteed pre-order. However, I do think that backers need a bit more protection of their interests especially when some invest SO much. Sometimes, even when the goal is met and passed, situations can still arise where the game still falls flat.

      I remember one article on here not long ago about a kickstarter that failed due to “the American health” system and “family issues”, and of course I empathise there totally but who’s to say individuals couldn’t get away with such a thing as a falsehood?

      Kickstarter does need to look more into the interests of (at the very least) major backers for either partial refunds upon failure or a certain standard of finished product (even if it’s not the intended product), and all without leaving it totally up to the devs on what to do with backers’ money when they’re no longer willing to take the risk to use the money for what it was intended.

      • Entitled says:

        “it’s a contribution/donation and not a guaranteed pre-order. ”

        Yes, it is:

        https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use

        “Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.”

        • TheMightyEthan says:

          Except that’s completely unrealistic, and the fact that the TOS says it doesn’t create a magic money wand to facilitate the refunds. Nearly all of the time a Kickstarter fails it’s going to be because they ran out of money, so how exactly are the backers supposed to get refunded? That same TOS says the refunds are not guaranteed by Kickstarter, they’re just supposed to be provided by the project creator, which is far from a solid guarantee.

          Yes, they are contractually obligated to provide you with either the reward or a refund, but it’s still a risky contract, more in line with investing than with a standard purchase from a store, because the odds of actually being able to collect on the refund are so much lower. People need to take that into account when deciding whether to back Kickstarters or not, and not just think “Oh, it says in the TOS they have to give me my money back so I’m protected.”

          For the record, I was a backer on that Kickstarter mentioned that failed due to family illness. They say they’re still going to attempt to finish the game, but they can’t promise it will actually happen. At this point I’m considering that money lost, and while obviously I’d prefer the project to have been finished I knowingly took a risk by backing it and I am accepting the consequences of that decision.

          • Entitled says:

            Probability of successful enforcement has nothing to do with the difference between donation, investment, and purchase.

            If you order stuff from Amazon, and the company (amazon) goes bankrupt right before they mail it to you, you are realistically not going to get your stuff, or your money back. That still doesn’t mean that you can just decide “Oh well, it was more of a donation after all, since I could only HOPE that they will stay in business”, and it’s even worse to deride the people who dare to claim that they are owed stuff, as if the very idea would be some harmful and shameful arrogance.

            Yes, Crowdfunding is a particularly risky form of purchase: The solution is to make it more secure, not to mock people for believing that it is a form of purchase.

          • The Random One says:

            “I’m giving you money for that thing you have” is a very different thing than “I like the stuff you do so I’m giving you money so you can make more stuff, on the condition that when you make the next stuff you’ll give me one from free”. This difference becomes very apparent when you imagine the person being hit by a bus and dying between you giving them money and they giving you the thing.

          • Shuck says:

            @Entitled: The thing is, the projects for which Kickstarter campaigns are raising money do not have to be given as rewards. The earlier game Kickstarters, in fact, did not give away the games being made as a reward at any pledge level, and this was true for most other projects as well. That it’s functionally become a sort of pre-order system is not an indication of what Kickstarter is supposed to be, what it was designed to be (or even is, really). I could set up a sales system through Amazon in which I sell highly overpriced items that buyers understand are really gifts for donations that support some cause – that doesn’t make Amazon a non-profit donation system.

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          mrwonko says:

          It’s important to separate rewards and the project itself. There’s no guarantee the project will succeed, but you’re entitled to whatever reward you were promised.

          It’s just that in the case of games the reward is often “the finished game”. But then again, if you fail and cancel it, in a way it’s still finished so the dev could conceivably just gives out whatever they have to backers and say “hey, you got what you were promised!”

        • MechanicalPen says:

          I’ve seen that quoted before, but that only makes it a pre-order if a backer reward is the final product. Someone could, in theory, try to raise money for a game without promising them a free game but in practice I don’t think too many people would be interested in contributing to such a project.

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        particlese says:

        *Kickstarter has a whole FAQ on accountability, including clarification that creators are legally responsible for fulfilling rewards and are obligated to refund unrewarded backers upon request. They added a mandatory “risks and challenges” section to all projects some time after Double Fine’s kickstarter, but I do think they could stand to present better short/unignorable warnings — to new backers, at the very least.

        There is much debate to be had indeed. I personally think it’s against the crowdfunding spirit and a generally awful idea to start “protecting” people against their own potentially poor decisions. (But against the poor decisions of others that they cannot reasonably avoid, sure!) It really baffles me that some people don’t accept the “no one forces you to back projects” argument. Want to donate $1,000 toward the most amazing AAAAA game concept you’ve ever heard because some magical mystery dude(tte) had a funny video and claims to be able to make everything procedurally? Though I raise an eyebrow to you (and then the other, then the first, then the other, …), I say go right ahead if that’s chump change to you, but I highly recommend checking up on their previous works and so on. The Oculus Rift was exactly this (random dude asking for loads of money to make an improbably cool thing), and I likely wouldn’t have put my money in the pot if Palmer wasn’t so open with everything about the project and clearly capable of executing (he had already made prototypes vouched for not only by other random Internetters but by Carmack, Bleszinski, Abrash, Newell, and countless others with big reputations to care for). Double Fine had a clear history of experience with their project’s subject matter, and there would be an interesting documentary at the very least — something I felt was worthwhile to me. I’ve also made several Kickstarting risks that didn’t pan out, but I never paid those an amount that was painful for me to lose, and I’m still glad I supported the ideas (other, more capable people might see that support). Maybe I’m lucky, but I know I’m also careful when my optimism is making me do things I can’t take back (even though you technically can take these back*). I could rant forever about learning to be responsible for one’s self and I do realize some people have great difficulty doing so, but I’ve gone on long enough already.

        At any rate, yay for Double Fine! Fun game, and great news.

    • Entitled says:

      Yes, and I wish people would stop calling it a “donation” or an “investment” when a Company promises to deliver a product, and a Person pays money to have it delivered to them.

      It’s harmful not just for gaming, but for the whole public undersanding of contract law, to believe that agreements can be freely ignored just because they are not made in a traditional store, or because their execution carries a pactical risk.

      • InternetBatman says:

        This and absolutely this.

      • derbefrier says:

        The terminology you want to use to describe a kickstarter is largely irrelevent anyway. Everyone backing a kickstarter is expecting a game period. If the company fails to make that game the people who pledge do deserve a refund but what you deserve isn’t the same as what will realistcally happen in the event of a failed kickstarter. Realisticly the failed kickstart won’t have any money to refund and unless you want to go to court for pocket change they will get away with it. This is the reality.

        This is also why people who think its no diffetent than pre ordering a game off amazon are fools.

        • malkav11 says:

          Preorders aren’t exactly guaranteed either, but it’s true that you’re more likely to recoup a refund from a major business if the game never materializes. Assuming they charge you up front, which Amazon doesn’t.

        • frenchy2k1 says:

          Terminology *is* important as we are now talking not about intent, but about the laws and rules on Kickstarter.

          As said higher, the rewards (contractually obligated to deliver) and the project (for which they will collect the money) are 2 distinct legal entity. The fact that lots of projects (including pretty much 100% of the big video games kickstarted) actually promise a copy of the project is the problem as they are introducing uncertainty where there should be none.

          An easy semantic fix would be to promise delivery of an electronic coupon which you could redeem for the game at release time. The coupon itself has no value and the promise is easy to keep.

          Changing the wording actually clarified what you pay for and what part is uncertain. Physical rewards like posters, pins and Tshirts could be delivered as soon as possible, the special boxed edition would be a coupon.

          So, you’ll know what to expect FOR SURE and what is the risk.

          Hint: for video games, the risk is the copy of the game.

      • The Random One says:

        I’m pretty sure that when Microsoft gave money to Double Fine to create Trenched/Iron Brigade, they saw it as an investment.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Of course they did. They lost some money then hoping for tons of money in future.

          Because that’s what investment is – losing money now hoping to get money back in future. Giving money now to get some goods you will consume in future isn’t an investment.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Kickstarter isn’t giving someone money for goods you will consume in the future though is it?

            Plenty of kickstarters exist where you do not receive the product being kickstarted and plenty exist where your reward is “Thanks”. This is why you cannot treat kickstarter as a regular store, the terms and conditions and the contract created is very different and you are a fool if you believe otherwise. Just because a developer has “promised” a particular reward, it is very clear that you may not receive it or that it will be different to what is promised. That is why you internet warriors who claim entitlement (literal, not toxic use of the word) to a product with equal rights to a retail contract are fucking over those to whom kickstarter is new. You create false sense of securities and encourage them to pledge money that is a risk larger than they would have otherwise taken.

          • HadToLogin says:

            I’m not saying “kickstarter is a shop”. I’m just saying “kickstarter isn’t an investment”.

            Well, sometimes it is a shop (look at board games section where there’s plenty of “give me money, get your board game after I print it”). I don’t know if there are some investments there (maybe there are some “give me money to make something, get some money from me selling it”?).
            In the end, I think you can only brand each project, or maybe only each payment with “pre-purchase”, “donation”, “investment” etc. tag.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Kickstarter is never, not ever a shop. Even in those board game sections. This is the point – if your transaction goes through as everyone hopes, yes it bears a passing resemblance to buying a game from retail. If somnething goes wrong, the facade crumbles. If they deliver a game that you didn’t back – as double fine have done – that’s tough. Trust me, if you order a game from a store and they send you a different game, you have the legal right to your money back and if they choose not to return your money, you will have the courts to back you. If you get something other than what you backed on kickstarter, you have no legal right to your money back, you have no established laws to implicitly state that you are entitled to a refund. What you have is a contract, and contract law which, in kickstarters case, offers you exactly no protection.

            People call it investment, not because they believe it is an investment in the financial sense of the word, but because they are investing in something in the common use of the word. Use a modicum of common sense when reading what others have written and remember that they use words differently to you. And stop trying to “brand each project”. It’s more helpful to think in analogue terms than digital, some things can be a little bit of one thing and a little bit of another. They don’t have to be pigeonholed!

    • Shooop says:

      This is a huge problem with kickstarting because apparently the people using it don’t actually know what they’re trying to make when they ask for money.

      If you don’t have a crystal clear goal of what you want to make, don’t ask people to give you money to do it.

      • Epsz says:

        This is contrary to good game development practices, though. Great games are doing by starting with an idea, and iterating on it and changing it until you have something that you can call good. No good games match the “crystal clear idea” the developer had when they started out.
        And this is why Kickstarting games is inherently risky. Your money must be used in the hopes of creating a good game, and there’s no way to know for certain what that game will be until it is done.

    • Urthman says:

      The problem is the reward tiers. If Kickstarter was just; “Give us however much money you want. If we get $X, we’ll do our best to make a game and anyone who donates can have a copy of whatever we come up with. We’ll also try to sell it to people who aren’t backers.” Then everything would be fine. Backers would know they’re offering patronage not pre-ordering a specific product. Some people might get a copy of the game for only $1 (or whatever the minimum donation is), but that should be fine. As long as the developers get the $X they asked for, it doesn’t matter how much any individual person paid. Any subsequent sales should just be profit or funding for the next game.

      But as soon as you start to make promises like, “$20 gets you a full game, $40 gets you a deluxe edition of the game” then you’re really taking pre-orders for a product and people have a right to complain if they don’t get what they were promised.

      • Philotic Symmetrist says:

        Excellent, I knew someone else would have already said what I wanted to but in a better way than I would’ve. Now we just need to get the suggestion out to future Kickstarters to stop explicitly putting the game in the reward tiers.

    • Buiribithe1951 says:

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      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.Jobs84.com

  2. Awesumo says:

    That they had to do this to fund the game is one thing.
    I’m more worried that they may of planned their finances so badly that they need to relie on a successful kickstarter for their next games… That path will eventually lead to disappointment and failure.

    • Xocrates says:

      I’m not following.

      They are not relying solely of kickstarters to fund their games, it’s merely one more option for them now. They are still using other means, including publishers.

  3. ChrisGWaine says:

    I’m not a KS backer and I’ve not seen the documentary, so I’m going on limited information, but it doesn’t seem obvious that it would have been much better to scope smaller. Why would it have been better?

    • Rovac says:

      Well, if the scope is smaller then there will be a lot of leftovers. Has someone done that? Deliver the promised project and keep the rest of the Kickstarter money?

      • Awesumo says:

        I believe in business that is known as ‘profit’ and is seen as standard practice.

        • Rovac says:

          That’s a lot of profit upfront in software development. I guess it’s alright as long as you don’t promise stretch goals

      • Teovald says:

        They asked for 400,000 $ for a very small adventure game & a video documentary, they got 3,300 000 $ (plus whatever other sources they have, minus kickstarter fees).
        Since kickstarter is supposed to fuel your project, keeping almost all of that money and only invest 400,000 $ in that small game seems discutable as well.
        Maybe that kickstarter should stop funding when some threshold is passed to prevent this kind of project scope hijacking ? (It won’t happen though).

        It seems that DF did the best of this situation : they have been able to build a game with a much broader scope than what was envisioned in the project, cutting it in 2 means that they have been able to finance the whole thing realistically. It would have been better to design a game for the given budget but I am ready to believe that there was no good middle ground.

        The first half of Broken Age is a good adventure game with a fantastic art style. Unless the second part improves dramatically, it is not going to become a classic like Monkey Island 2 or Day of the Tentacle, but that was never realistically doable with that relatively limited budget.

        • Rovac says:

          yeah, I think people will be disappointed/raged too if they’re just using $400.000 to make the game + documentaries. I actually glad they went for a modern point and click game because I always got stuck whenever they use the oldschool point and click logic.

          • subedii says:

            Indeed. I didn’t Kickstart it myself (wasn’t interested in Broken Age. Although from reading about it, I might pick it up if the 2nd part brings it all together), but similar happened with Planetary Annihilation.

            Granted there are some rage-happy twerps repeatedly missing this point on the Steam forums, but the general fanbase understands that the additional funding above the “absolute base” asking level was being used to drastically expand the scope of the project. Helps that they’ve been constantly communicating with the fanbase and beyond, and have even started putting videos of their playtest sessions online.

          • Moraven says:

            The problem I had was they went beyond their KS funds in scope. They used more than $3m. And had to rely on investor funding, Humble Bundle sales, split the game in two parts, etc to make up for their over budget.

            It would seem unreasonable if they did not use all $3m and just $400k, but I would have been fine with it, that is what I backed, an adventure game from a small team to be made in 6 months. Small team and 6 months went out the door quick. I do have a problem with Schafer making it seem ok to not manage the project within the budget given to him. Sure I got more game, but at any point it could have failed because he gave it more chances to fail.

      • Moraven says:

        FTL was near completion and got a lot more money than they asked. They told everyone how it was used but I can not imagine they used all of it.

        The problem with DF was they had no game yet but just an idea. Their scope was not set unlike FTL being 75% done.

  4. Entitled says:

    “Obviously, it would’ve been much better if Double Fine had maintained its game’s scope better and planned more realistically”

    Obviously better for whom? I loved Broked Age, and I’m excited for getting Act II with it for free. If all of it’s planned content would have been crammed into a single Act I-sized game, or if Act I would have been nominally presented as a “finished” game and Act II sold separately as Broken Age II, how would I be beter off?

    • Frank says:

      Yup, this is how I (another backer) feel about it, too.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I agree. Both Broken Age and Shadowrun had scope problems, but that just means we’re getting more than we might have expected under normal circumstances.

      Speaking of which, Shadowrun: Dragonfall comes out next week.

  5. Pliqu3011 says:

    This news makes me _very_ happy.
    Not only because they’ll now have the money to make Act 2 as good as Act 1*, but also because in the documentary it was said that if this game really takes off, Double Fine would hopefully be able to stay completely independent for the foreseeable future, which would be awesome.

    (* And to all the people who complained that Act 1 was a bit too easy, in the documentary Tim said – long before release – that Act 2 would be more difficult)

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      I think they’ve said they are already financially independent, in the meaning that they don’t have to accept any offer but can pursue their own IP if they want to. The Humble Fortnight stuff is just icing on the cake.

  6. Artea says:

    That’s good news. I look forward to the second part of this very short game with simplistic puzzles.

    • subedii says:

      Wait are we talking about Full Throttle? Awesome game.

    • Xocrates says:

      “very short game”

      You know, the more I think about it, the less I can think of a context where this makes sense.

      It took me about 3 hours to beat the first act of Broken Age, and I’ve since realized I missed a LOT of stuff (I missed all the interactions with the knife, for example), 3 hours for what’s supposed to be half a game is entirely within the norm, both for games in general, and adventure games in particular.

      Heck, even if that was the length of the entire game, what exactly is the problem? So long as you get a satisfying experience out of it, why does it matter?
      I’ve played many games that were worse on account of padding and pointless meandering (as an example, this is a large reason I’m not fond of the original Bioshock, it’s padded well past the point where the gameplay, plot, and setting can support it).

      Being short, by itself, isn’t a problem. At best is a symptom of something else. Games aren’t, and shouldn’t be, sold by the minute, so if you think the game’s length is a problem, it helps to explain why.

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        welverin says:

        VALUE!

        You’re failing to take the all important time to money ratio into account, it’s how all the cool kids judge games these days!

        Seriously: I’d say ~6 hours for $25 is o.k., I’ve paid twice as much for shorter games. Not that I necessarily knew they’d be that short.

      • AyeBraine says:

        If you don’t measure a game in hours and measure it in acts (in this case, story acts) and general locations and developments of character, Act I is definitely short. Technically, it reaches the mid-point of the story, or maybe even the coming of third act (of the story). But it is short, barebone. The fact that the girl’s journey is padded with cloud city is even worse. Cloud city doesn’t impact her in any way, it’s a filler. It contains a truckload of opportunities to develop a theme or subtheme, or to deepen the main theme, but it just entertains. Otherwise, both the boy and the girl zip, whoosh and warp through 3/4 of the story in Act I alone. That is because, when they realize that their enemies were not actually enemies, they transitioned into third act, that demands a change of plans. All of this may sound like a load of screenwriter wannabe’s delirium, but there’s a point to this: the second act. The time when we really play. When we, along with the character, have fun, get scared, try new things, get stronger and palpably move towards our own goal without the author reminding us that actually this goal is not what we want. So this fun and games is basically the most important thing in a game, more so than in a movie, because you don’t know the central conflict yet. You just explore and gather hints that gradually push you towards it. And it is while you are in these fun and games and later bitter conflicts, you accumulate the emotional baggage that you bring to the next act – the time that shit gets real, you realize things were not what they looked like and so on.

  7. InternetBatman says:

    Broken Age has revealed on of the hidden drawbacks of crowdfunding. If there is the slightest financial setback or delay, commenters (many of whom did not back the game) throw horrendous tantrums, and it opens the project up to the worst sort of armchair developer comments from critics who should know better.

    • The Random One says:

      Yes, because when a publisher-funded AAA game underdelivers or gets delayed, everyone is super friendly and says “Aw shucks, I bet they’re working hard to deliver the best game they can!”

      • InternetBatman says:

        People have been applauding Blizzard for waiting until they say games are done for years. For a while it seemed like it was the way to make a game, but then the Activision merger happened.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      ^This. (especially about the armchair developers comments)

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      Lars Westergren says:

      Yep. Agreed this is the biggest “weak spot”.

  8. PedroTheHutt says:

    The second part is funded… for the next couple of months at least, then they’ll probably have another Humble Bundle sale or something, maybe a second Kickstarter, who knows.

  9. Greggh says:

    In this news: “People who misjudged their budgets once claim they have their budget for another project”

    Game developing studios underrate the power of !!ACCOUNTANCY!!

  10. nimbulan says:

    I thought I remembered reading a quote from Schafer that they didn’t actually need more money and the early access was just so the backers didn’t have to wait even longer to play? Maybe I remembering wrong.

  11. LoisARussell says:

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  12. Lemming says:

    No one seems to be picking up on the careful use of terminology here. Broken Age Act One, may have been the name of the first part, but they are referring to the second as ‘the second half’. Acts come in 3, not 2 and as the first part was criminally short I guess that means Double Fine have already had enough. A second ‘half’ as long as the first would make the whole game still rather short, wouldn’t it? The whole thing seems like it’s using the original funding target and not the $3m that was reached.

    • Xocrates says:

      “The whole thing seems like it’s using the original funding target”

      The original funding target was for a tiny team working for 6 months doing what amounted to a flash game with no voice acting.

    • Vinraith says:

      Strictly speaking, acts (if we’re talking about plays) usually come in 1′s, 3′s or 5′s. That said, there’s no formal rule that says you can’t have two acts, four acts, or any other number of acts.

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      PikaBot says:

      Acts come in 3, not 2

      Someone had better tell that bloke writing all those five-act plays about this! What’s his name? Billy Shake-a-spear?

      (Psst, the two-act play is actually a very common format. Examples include The Rez Sisters, Waiting for Godot, and Les Belles Soeurs among others.)

      • Lemming says:

        They can be more than 3, but 3 is standard.

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          PikaBot says:

          There is no standard and anyone telling you differently is silly.

          • Lemming says:

            Right, well instead of focusing on a technicality, why don’t you respond by explaining if you felt Broken Age Act One felt like the first act of a two-act story, or something bigger?

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            PikaBot says:

            Yes, it did, because acts are rarely equivalent in size. Rather, the act break marks a turning point or transition within the story. A phrase which describes the end of act one perfectly, n’est-ce-pas?

          • Lemming says:

            I know what an act is, but I disagree that the first act ended at a point in the story (damn, you’re a pill) that would mean one remaining act is going to feel right for the flow of said story.

            All that said, I doubt they even used the term ‘act’ beyond thinking it was just an alternative word to use from ‘episode’.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      “A second ‘half’ as long as the first would make the whole game still rather short, wouldn’t it?”
      First of all, since the first half is about 4 hours long, the complete game would be 8 hours. Is this a “criminally short” game in your eyes? If so, please enlighten me how long a game should be to be considered of reasonable length.
      Secondly, since when does length even matter? Machinarium was short, and it was great.

      “The whole thing seems like it’s using the original funding target and not the $3m that was reached.”
      No.

      No.

      No.
      With a statement like that I’d almost think you’re just trolling, but I’m afraid you’re not.

  13. Magere says:

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  14. jarowdowsky says:

    I’m a bit more concerned that splitting the game may have taken away from the opportunity to provide specific moments where the characters stories switched over.

    Can any of the kickstarter backers tell me if they discussed more regular switching rather than allowing you to complete one side of the story then the other?

    I can’t help feeling it would have been more interesting to find ways to gate the story to require you to play through some of the other character. Hopefully that’ll be a bigger element when the game is complete but it felt like a real missed opportunity here.

    • Xocrates says:

      Most of the discussion on the switching mechanics was done very early on, so my memory is a bit fuzzy on it, but I do believe the intention was always that you could play the stories completely separate.

      I do remember a discussion early on where Greg (the producer) asked Tim what would happen if the player did “that” with one character before doing “this” with another (given that the docs were spoiler free, I do not know what’s the story point they were referring) and Tim saying he didn’t know – which does suggest that what gating there is may be to work around these situations.

  15. Sleepymatt says:

    “…and also, you know, an ending.”

    Um, maybe I’m reading you wrong Nathan, but in my head this is snarkily saying Act 1 didn’t have a proper ending. This is explained by it being ACT 1. In other news, grass is still green.

    I just thought this was a bit unnecessary.

    • bodydomelight says:

      I thought there was a surprising amount of snark on show in general towards developers who are being just about the most open and honest developer on the planet right now, purely because their project went over budget. Pro-tip from a project management professional: pretty much every project does. Double Fine just told you about it.

      What’s with the whole condemning the game for not being the best thing someone has ever made, too? That’s forum troll stuff.

      Or maybe I’m being oversensitive before breakfast.

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      Thirith says:

      It had as much of an ending as The Empire Strikes Back. For the first act of a game, that’s not bad, I’d say.

  16. MarieJRascoe says:

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  17. Premium User Badge

    Yachmenev says:

    Nathan: “Obviously, it would’ve been much better if Double Fine had maintained its game’s scope better and planned more realistically, ”

    Would it really? I would assume that would have meant things like more low res graphics, less ambitious art style, no iOS/Android versions, maybe a worse engine, etc.

    And plan realistically? Is it really that easy to just “do that”? I do hope that you have or will watch the documentary episodes that touches this subject, because it really gives an insight into the difficulties concerning such projects, and shows that Double Fine acually did have a sensible process concerning this.

  18. oldsam says:

    I always find the discussions around the value of what backers are getting a bit strange in relation to this game. The documentary alone has been worth the 15 bucks or whatever I paid. Hours of really well-produced TV, essentially – about 100 times more interesting than anything on Saturday night UK TV.

    I do take the point about non-backers being shocked as they aren’t in the loop – but there does seem to be strange glee in pointing out that the project is failing – read the first few articles when you Google the Kickstarter, for example.

    All of that seems doubly-strange when the game they produced is of such high quality.

    • BisonHero says:

      Yeah, the RPS writers just seem completely clueless in their assumptions of how backers of the project feel about the project. Somehow in the same article, RPS will acknowledge that backers were kept informed by Double Fine while outsiders were not, then say “Yep, surely backers aren’t quite getting what they expected.”
      Like, what? Backers were the people who were least surprised by what was delivered. It was pretty meticulously laid out for any backers who were paying attention to Kickstarter updates or the documentary.

  19. AndreaPMcCreary says:

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  20. BobsLawnService says:

    Part of the scorn is that Double Fine was given roughly 10 times more money than they asked for, an open-ended deadline to do the work and they still only managed to release half a game. It males you rethink all those “Evil Published Pulls Plug on Game” stories.

  21. DrManhatten says:

    Well lets hope Massive Chalice turns out better than this stinker.

  22. AyeBraine says:

    I didn’t want to say this when Act I came out, but really, I don’t think Tim Schafer could get away with it in the earlier days. I mean, he delivered enormous games that are equal to Broken Age both artistically and technically (but are 5-10 times larger in scope), in predetermined deadlines, on predetermined budget. The only breakout feature of Broken Age, really, is that it’s moderately high budget quest, which became a unicorn in the last years. So it’s in HD _and_ drawn by a real, high-class animator/illustrator. Otherwise, it’s an incredibly short and constricted quest written and drawn and programmed by incredibly talented people.