Broken Age Needs More Money, Tries Steam Early Access

Wake up! Double Fine needs money! GET JOBS.

HARK, A TWIST. Once upon a time, Double Fine’s Kickstarter-fueled adventure Broken Age had all the money in the world. Not a single couch cushion abyss was left un-mined, nor a piggy bank kept from the slaughter. But here’s the thing: apparently that wasn’t quite enough. Broken Age is, in effect, on track to go broke. In a new Kickstarter update, Tim Schafer explained: “Even though we received much more money from our Kickstarter than we, or anybody anticipated, that didn’t stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money.” Another Kickstarter, however, is out of the question, so Double Fine’s doing the next best thing: Steam Early Access. 

The Early Access drive will kick off sometime around January of next year, but it’s far from the first option Double Fine considered. After crunching some numbers, Schafer and co found that Act 1 of the game wouldn’t be ready until July of next year, pushing the full game off into the distant reaches of 2015. That put them in a tough spot, as funds just didn’t allow for that kind of scope. Schafer claimed that, at this rate, they’d need to axe 75 percent of the game. Yikes. So here’s what he came up with instead:

“Going back to Kickstarter for it seemed wrong. Clearly, any overages were going to have to be paid by Double Fine, with our own money from the sales of our other games. That actually makes a lot of sense and we feel good about it. We have been making more money since we began self-publishing our games, but unfortunately it still would not be enough.”

“Then we had a strange idea. What if we made some modest cuts in order to finish the first half of the game by January instead of July, and then released that finished, polished half of the game on Steam Early Access? Backers would still have the option of not looking at it, of course, but those who were sick of waiting wouldn’t have to wait any more. They could play the first half of the game in January!”

Which is not to say that backers will have to pay again for their chipped off block of Broken Age. They’ll actually gain access to an even earlier beta in addition to Steam Early Access and the full game. So no worries on that front.

It is a pretty strange place for a multi-million dollar Kickstarter to end up, though – especially after it began with a baseline goal of just $400,000. And yes, we now get to actually play something sooner, but paying for unfinished games can be just as murky as breaking the bank for a project that’s only a twinkle in its creator’s eye – as games like Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, which made a similar leap from Kickstarter to Early Access, have shown. Plus, who’s to say this new-found funding fountain won’t just run dry like the last one? I mean, when you manage to scope beyond what was already a more-than-800-percent increase over your initial goal, pretty much anything is on the table.

To its credit, Double Fine has given us very few reasons to doubt its word (you know, beyond this one). And, in all likelihood, Broken Age itself will be a delightful labor of love, bled from Tim Schafer’s veins straight into your computer tubes. But once again, we’ve encountered a dilemma that basically defeats the purpose of Kickstarter, and in this case the response involves seeking different crowdfunding – just later in the game and with a more substantial product. What are we supposed to make of that?

I mean, I know this movement’s all about removing shackles from creativity, but I’m not sure if it should be a license to over-scope and then haphazardly seek out more money when things reach a breaking point. There’s definitely something to be said for shooting for the stars, but that doesn’t mean accountability should end up six feet under in the process. I don’t think that’s what Double Fine is doing either (they’re in very uncharted territory here, after all), but these actions do set a somewhat unsavory precedent. Here’s hoping this is an isolated incident and not the birth of a trend.


Top comments

  1. Noviere says:

    As a backer, I'm certainly not thrilled by this turn of events... But I'm not all that surprised by it either. This isn't the first time things have looked shakey at Double Fine with this project.

    Despite my disappointment(and amazement that a project could go this far off course), I'm not pissed off or anything. It is what it is, and the game looks gorgeous.
  2. Yachmenev says:

    Pretty much no major kickstarter will get totally funded by the kickstarter money. The game kinda implies that, kickstarter.

    The only difference is that Double Fine is pretty transparent and honest about it, which in some ways might be the actual mistake.
  1. grechzoo says:

    This is really upsetting. As a die hard fan of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, I would say this game was probably my most anticipated.

    I haven’t watched the documentaries after backing, didn’t want anything spoiled, but I’m surprised how far off this game is, and how much they overreached.

    I dont regret my backing, but god this is souring news. To know they have to CUT from the game and release it early to have any hope of finishing is the exact thing I would never want from a Point and Click Tim Schafer game.

    I mean how many classic adventures will he ever do again in his career, this could be the last, and I hoped it would be everything he wanted it to be. The money raised on kcisktarter had me 100% sure it would be as well.

    My hopes for this project have been flattened a bit. I have no interest in early acces, so I guess I can only hope that by 2015, whatever state broken age is released in, it will be a fun and complete experience.

    Amanita Design have me covered at least. Samorost 3 should be great.

    • The_B says:

      Genuinely, I would say it’s worth watching those documentaries. Spoilers are incredibly minute (anything larger than what has largely been revealed already is generally blurred/censored out) and it does make you appreciate Double Fine’s side of things more, especially in terms of the intentions going in to the project and making any money donated feel worth it in terms of seeing on an almost practical level where it goes other than a finished product.

      Of course, that makes it all the harder to look at it from a critical standpoint, which is likely a big part of the difference between paying for a game’s development before seeing the finished product and buying a game off a shelf post completion.

      • bigjig says:

        I would agree with the The B in that the documentary is a must watch. It gives the decision a great deal more context than a single backer update post.

    • skittles says:

      People seem to forget that the budget of $300,000 was for a short small scale fun game that Shafer has (joked?) would have been made in flash. It was not for a full-sized huge sprawling adventure game. He then made the correct decision that he couldn’t simply make said game and release it when he recieved $3million, it would be a slap to the people who backed and they would be wondering where all the money went.

      Double Fine was therefore forced to now make a full-sized game, but as always happens in these cases when design changes, things blow out. Tim obviously dreamed way too big. Now there are ‘cuts’ to the game, but they aren’t cuts to the original design. People seem to be thinking that ‘cuts’ are being made to their $300k game. That is simply silly, the game is much much bigger. Cuts are being made to a >$3m game because they don’t have the budget.

      • Jimbo says:

        Double Fine weren’t “forced” to do anything. Raising $3m didn’t mean they suddenly had to go make a $5-10m game and get themselves into a hole again.

        Schafer is a creative genius, but if he can’t make a game to a budget -or even in the same ballpark it seems- then he obviously needs oversight from somebody who can do that. Somebody who can rein him in a bit. There’s no excuse for getting halfway through a project and suddenly realising you’re gonna have to cut 75% of it. They should know how to manage a game budget by now, they’ve been doing this long enough.

        • madeofsquares says:

          Totally agree. Your Kickstarter raised $3M? Then make a $3M game. Or better still, make a $2.5M game with the rest for “unforeseen circumstances”. Bad budgeting, plain and simple.

          • jezcentral says:

            Exactly. Although I don’t doubt that they will eventually come up with the game (and it will be good/great), starting with a $400,000 budget and finding that you are building a $13.2 MILLION game ($3.3 million is only enough for 25%, apparently) would anger everyone if it wasn’t Tim Schafer we were talking about.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Exactly. In fact, if you go about it wisely, then succeeding beyond your wildest dreams (in terms of success of Kickstarter) means you have more leeway to make anything between ‘the game we were making anyway’ and ‘not enough money for all the ideas’.

          This reeks of bad management of finances. I’m sure they mean to make a great game, but this is pretty unprofessional.

        • nulian says:

          This post is written so badly they decided that they wanted to expand the scope even more then what they could do for the kickstarter money so they put in a fair amount of their own money.
          I don’t understand why its bad when a company puts in more of their own money. Though posts as this on rock paper shotgun wont help if they only post part of the story.

        • skittles says:

          They were indeed forced. I didn’t say they were forced to make a $5m-10m game. I said they were forced to make a better game than their original design. Taking $3m and making a $300k game with it would be akin to suicide in terms of company reputation. There was nothing else really they could do in that situation. Now they certainly were very stupid to not spend a lot of time budgeting for the new game, but such things happen when your in a rush. Either way I am not too worried, one way or another we will get a game. And it will be better than a $300k one.

          Now as others have correctly said FTL didn’t change and didn’t get much flak. But I would argue it is a different situation. The situation was made worse for DF because they were never really particularly clear about their goals. I was under the impression that for the $300k we would get a simple but full-sized adventure game that would run for several hours from the pitch. Later videos afterwards made it clear DF didn’t really have that type of game in mind. And if they made their original design regardless of whether they raised the $3m I would of been pissed along with other people.

      • Cypreana says:

        I still think it’s weird to expect a bigger game when they reach more funds. People just get a small/medium sized adventure game for the fair price of 15 dollars. They still need to make money.
        FTL reached 200k instead of its 10k, and that game is still the same. No one complains.

        • Caiman says:

          I agree, if you pitch a game to your backers and you reach your goal, you should make that game. We don’t necessarily want voice actors, orchestral scores, 50 extra levels, guest appearances and whatever if you go over your goal, we want the game that we were so excited about that we gave you money. I fully expected when I put $30 down on Double Fine Adventure that I’d be getting a SCUMM-like adventure game like the old days, perhaps with some improved UI, but that’s about it. I didn’t expect to get a massive new engine, fantastic graphics and art, epic scoring and 20 hours of gameplay. I wouldn’t complain if that’s what they could deliver, but right now I just want the small, personal Tim Schafer adventure that I originally backed. Still, I can’t deny I’ve gotten my money’s worth watching the adventure of all this stuff play out. Tim did say, after all, that it might all end in disaster.

          • Teovald says:

            It may be a problem with the kickstarter system itself then.
            Should the campaign stop when a project has reached its original goal ?
            99.9% of the campaigns I have seen have all promised a revised scope when the campaign is very successful. It is a good incentive to get people to donate more but I fear that it creates many unrealistic budgets or goals..

          • nulian says:

            Tim said from as soon as he saw that it is going to be 1 mil + that it would be a modern adventure game build by tim that would be abit like full throttle/ grim fandango. (Which are the true tim games not DOTT or older scumm games.)

      • fenriz says:

        Btw how much did Grim cost?

        And second, i wanna see Roberta Williams as lead designer and president of DF boss around and spank Shaefer and Gilbert.

    • Teovald says:

      If you follow DF development (or any game project), you will see that cutting things from a game is pretty much the natural development cycle. Good ideas on paper that are too costly or don’t work in practice have to be removed in order to focus on the parts that matter (and accessorily, stay on budget).
      I am a bit surprised by the very far off release date. I knew that the original Kickstarter date was totally bogus (the scope of the project has totally changed when the budget exploded) but skimming the updates left me thinking that the project was well underway. :(
      As long as the final game is pretty good; I don’t really care if it is only released in 2018. I would be pissed if Double Fine suddenly made a deal with a publisher and had to rewrite the game to satisfy its demands, but the steam early access move stays in the continuity of Kickstarter.

  2. rabish12 says:

    [I am not a grown-up so my comment was removed]

    • Premium User Badge

      Waltorious says:

      Hey! I’ve contributed to several Kickstarter projects, including this one, and I don’t feel that way at all. Stop pretending you speak for me.

      • Belsameth says:

        I second this. Except for the backing Double Fine part. I don’t care about adventures.

      • MidoriChaos says:

        What the hand-avatar-man said. Backed many projects, and I don’t feel animosity against Schafer over this. I’m a bit upset, yes, but partly because I was looking forward to this, but if it makes the game bigger and better, then that’s great.

        It also makes me wonder just how much games cost to make these days, and what eats away at most of the funds.

        • rabish12 says:

          Wasn’t really meant to be taken literally and was intentionally an exaggerated statement, but okay.

          And where the money goes depends on what kind of game is being made and what is involved in the project. In this case, the studio spent a long time more or less sitting on the money (they worked on several other projects in the interim, and their employees were focused on those), so fair odds that it was diffused and used in the rest of the company rather than put toward the game that it was meant to be used for.

          • Discopanda says:

            No, it’s not okay. E-mail Tim Schafer and apologize. He made Grim Fandango and Monkey Island, I think you owe him that much.

            Me and the rest of RPS will be waiting right here in the comments section.

          • rabish12 says:

            Why would I apologize? What do I owe him that means he can get away with this? The fact that he made some of the best adventure games of all time (including my absolute favorite) doesn’t excuse him for the rest of time for doing sleazy, disgusting bullshit like this.

            EDIT: And actually, good example: Peter Molyneux exists. Good games in the past do not excuse bad actions in the present.

          • The_B says:

            Just out of interest – and I’m not meaning to come across as confrontational so apologies if I do – did you back the Kickstarter yourself at all, or at least watch the documentaries?

            The main crux of why I’m asking, really is noticing very interesting reactions from people and what that says in terms of making game development so public or, at least, public to a certain amount of people.

          • rabish12 says:

            I didn’t back it, but I’ve been following the project pretty closely (mainly because it sort of brought about the whole Kickstarter flood, and partly because I’ve always been kind of curious and suspicious about them asking for money when they had absolutely nothing to tell people about the game except that it’s “like those older games”). There’s really no excuse for this, though – they’ve been in the business for long enough that they should be able to tell roughly how much money a project like this would take, and while I could see them going somewhat over-budget we’re talking about having a 2.9 million dollar buffer above and beyond their original budget and then claiming that they STILL only had enough for 25% of the game. The only conceivable way that could have happened is if they simply didn’t have a plan when they made the Kickstarter outside of “get money for a game”, and that’s pretty sleazy on its own (and much sleazier when you realize that it means $400,000 was a number they pulled out of thin air – literally a complete guess at the cost of a product whose features and scope they hadn’t even discussed yet).

          • Duke Nasty VI says:

            “Fair odds”? Really?

          • The_B says:

            Obviously this is a bit moot if you have no intention to back it, as you can’t really watch the documentaries without doing so, but – I think it’d be interesting to see if you felt the same way had you watched the documentaries.

            I think part of me would like to see them released to the public when they’re all done somehow, even if it’s as a separately available movie to buy.

          • rabish12 says:

            Yes. Fair odds. Explain how they aren’t. Explain where the money went. Explain why 3.3 million dollars is only enough to cover 25% of the cost of a game that was intended to cost 400,000 dollars. Any explanation I can think of outside of leeching off of those funds is significantly worse, since all of them involve an extreme level of incompetence that doesn’t really make any sense for a company with their degree of experience.

            The_B: I’m interested in the documentary, and I’ll probably at least watch some of it at some point, but I really doubt that it would change my opinion. Going this far underbudget is something I could understand for a basement indie dev making their first time, but Schafer and company have been in the business for years. If they actually did ditch their entire original plan for something almost entirely different that could only have a quarter of its development covered with 12 times the original budget, then this is a scam at worst (not saying that it is, mind) and the company is flatly unsuited to be working in the video game industry at best.

          • The Random One says:

            The money goes to pay the devs’ salaries.

            Salaries are paid over time.

            The game was originally meant to be done in six months.

            Due to absurd increases in scope, the game will now take 2 years to be done.

            Six months are 25% of 2 years.

            Therefore, the initial estimate is 25% of the final estimate.

            Therefore, the initial money will only pay for the devs’ salaries for 25% of the time they will work on the game.

            That’s the explanation. No go write Tim an apology, slacker.

          • rabish12 says:

            I’ve said this in response to another comment, and I’ll repeat it here: if that’s the case, then Double Fine has been completely irresponsible with the money they were given and are completely incompetent as a business.

          • Ny24 says:

            I completely agree with rabish12. Sorry, but although I have the greatest respect for Tim, getting so much more money and then still don’t delivering … it’s just fucked up.

          • Grygus says:

            @Random I don’t have a horse in this race, but that still doesn’t map.

            If the original game was $400k and 6 months, and the game is now 2 years, that is indeed four times the original timeframe, and asking for four times the money is indeed reasonable. But four times $400k is $1.6 million; the Kickstarter raised $3.3 million. If $400k is enough to fund six months development time, then the Kickstarter should have funded a game that took around 8 years to develop. Instead, there will be another round of funding just shy of the 2 year mark.

            I think there is legitimate criticism to be made here; either Double Fine has behaved irresponsibly, or the original Kickstarter was not at all related to reality (and for the record, I strongly suspect the latter.)

          • drinniol says:

            To be honest, the opinions of people who didn’t back the project don’t mean shit.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            “the studio spent a long time more or less sitting on the money (they worked on several other projects in the interim, and their employees were focused on those), so fair odds that it was diffused and used in the rest of the company rather than put toward the game that it was meant to be used for.”

            This confirms that you have no idea what you are talking about. Double Fine has several teams that work on different games. Those teams that worked on those games (that were in production before the Kickstarter) had nothing to do with the people on Broken Age, and the people on Broken Age had nothing to do with them. No money from the Kickstarter was ever put towards those games. On the contrary, money from other sources, like the Brutal Legend PC port was put towards Broken Age.

            Additionally, unless you want to waste money, you can’t put an entire team on the game from the start. In the beginning, they had a small team writing, designing, making the engine and more.

            ” Explain where the money went. Explain why 3.3 million dollars is only enough to cover 25% of the cost of a game that was intended to cost 400,000 dollars.”

            Why don’t you educate yourself on the basic premise of their Kickstarter before you make any more arguments. The whole point was to create a game and document it from the very beginning to the very end. There was no plan for a game yet, because the planning stage was going to be a big part of the documentary (which was at least half of the reason for doing the Kickstarter in the first place.) The $3.3 million game is likely a completely different game to the $400,000 game.

            From the Kickstarter: “This documentary series will strive to make the viewer as much a part of the process as possible by showing a game grow from start to finish, with all the passion, humor, and heartbreak that happens along the way.” So you’re getting indignant at something that the people who actually backed the project already know.

          • gwathdring says:


            That’s absurd. Plenty of people who aren’t directly invested in the Kickstarter still have an indirect investment in the situation. For starters, the height of your stakes do have an impact on the relevance of certain types of opinions, but they are by no means the only factor.

            Further, this is a very high-profile Kickstarter from a much loved company. Anyone who’s interested in the company, their games, or the business model has at least a partial stake in this–more specifically in how Double Fine’s handling of the situation influences their corner of the industry.

          • Deano2099 says:

            The 400k thing is a misnomer – this was never a well-scoped game, like many Kickstarters since have been. It was just “An adventure game by Double Fine”. 400k was the minimum they needed to make something (probably with a 3-5 person team). The extra money allowed them to scale things up quite a bit.

            Of course, they utterly screwed up that scaling, and scoped something 4x bigger than they could deliver. Which doesn’t say much for their project management skills. But at the same time, as long as they actually deliver to backers, I’m not so fussed how they do it. And plenty of KS projects have appeared on Steam Early Access (Planetary Annihilation is another) – it’s just most are far less upfront about doing it because they need the money.

          • Darzu says:

            Rabish has made rather a strong argument, which is more than any of the other side could contrive to come up with.

          • sirdavies says:

            Double Fine is a multi-team studio. They were working on this project the whole time, and there’s a close to 7-hour documentary as proof of that. So shut up, because you don’t know anything about this development process.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Rabish made a very strong argument, but it was predicated on a false assumption: that the game’s budget was to be 400k.

            That was never the case. The budget of the game was always going to be ‘whatever they made on Kickstarter’. There was no game pre-Kickstarter, that was the point of it. You got to follow the whole process from concept to production.

            Now, the project has been mismanaged horrendously, as they’ve specced out something 4x bigger than what they were meant to plan for. That’s really bad. But what they haven’t do is specced out something that’s 25x bigger than they were meant to plan for.

            There’s no arguing this isn’t a screw-up, but frankly you don’t need to bring the 400k figure into it at all, as it’s totally irrelevant and makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            Note: Rabish’s argument would hold weight for a lot of other Kickstarters, where the nature and scope of the game were specced out before it went to crowd-funding. This one is an oddity.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I add to the chorus of voices saying “speak for yourself.” I did back it. I am disappointed. However, Schaefer was more honest than any other project starter about the risk of failure. They have the video series specifically so backers get something even if the game is trash.

      • Ny24 says:

        Wow. I would really like to get a few millions for a video series too.

        • Deadly Habit says:

          Maybe you should do a video on some tropes in video games from a feminist point of view.

        • InternetBatman says:

          No, the videos were a form of risk management. A plan B in case Plan A ran into problems. That’s exactly what happened, and that’s why Kickstarter has reward tiers.

        • Nogo says:

          No one is stopping you. In fact it’s pretty common for people to make a living off these new-fangled moving picture technologies.

          Snark aside, this is the only thing I’ve backed on kickstarter and that’s entirely because of the documentary and dev posts. Hell, it’s the only reason people even know about the mismanagement, otherwise it’d just be a boring post about Act 1 coming out in January.

          That said, I’m a bit tired of Tim Schafer constantly getting handed the keys to the kingdom he says he needs but then we just get the same old slightly disappointing, unfocused game that’s not exactly fun to play.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        I don’t think the documentary was some sort of consolation prize. It was a major part of the pitch and it was, in fact, the main reason I backed the project. I’m not a big fan of Adventure games, but I am interested in the details of the game making process.

        • AngoraFish says:

          The documentary was the only reason I pledged, and the value I’ve already got out of it is worth every cent of my contribution and then some.

          I despise adventure games and the chances that I’ll ever play more than the first couple of chapters of Broken Age are infinitesimally small.

    • Shooop says:

      Why should I, someone who’s never backed a Tim Schafer project, be angry at him?

      • RatherDashing says:

        Have you backed any projects? Double Fine are the big example for everybody, and if they fail it’ll reflect on crowdfunding as a concept.

        • Acorino says:

          Only for stupid people who whould be unable to perceive all the other great successes of crowdfunding, like FTL.

          • Kaira- says:

            FTL’s “success” was extremely minor, seeing how the game was almost complete by the time they started the KS-run.

          • SD says:

            Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns are both coming along nicely, and ought to provide a contrasting picture to this one.

          • RockinRanger says:

            Shadowrun Returns is also releasing with half of the promised game because they went through all the backer money without finishing the game. The game won’t launch with Berlin, they’re just calling it post launch DLC instead of early access.

        • Tacroy says:

          I’m sorry, but if you backed a Kickstarter project assuming you would get something out of it, you’re in the wrong.

          People on the Internet seem to view Kickstarter as some sort of extended preorder. It isn’t.

          Consider the money you put in to a Kickstarter project gone. It’s disappeared. In to the aether. You are not getting anything back from it.

          Why? Because that’s precisely the what Kickstarter promises – that the creator will put forth their best effort to achieve the plan laid out on the project page, but no guarantees are made.

          If you’re not okay with that – if you’re not okay with tossing your money into the void, and never seeing a return on it at all – then Kickstarter is not for you. Seriously, if you expect to see a return on everything you back, you should stop crowdfunding as soon as possible. That path leads to a vale of tears.

          So, that being said, why do I back things like DFA or Shadowrun? Because I have disposable income, and I believe in dreams. If I didn’t put $30 towards DFA, that would have gone in to some stupid shit I’d forget about in a week.

          This way, at least I can help someone take a stab at fulfilling their dreams. They might miss, they might puncture an organ, they might have a great success – but no matter what happens, I know I helped them in their attempt at greatness. And personally I think that is worth anything from $10 to $250, depending on how much I approve of the idea.

          And if, at the end of all the dreaming and struggling and hoping, I get a gigantic box filled with cybernetic tank parts (almost exactly a year late!), that’s all bonus.

          • Synesthesia says:

            dingdingdingdingdingdingding! This man wins! Here´s your prize, a slightly used heavy hat for tf2. No, you can’t trade it. Now shoo.

          • Reiver says:

            Yeah, that’s all true and well and good but the thing is this is the project that brought kickstarter to wider acceptance than people who are willing to approach with that informed and practical attitude (even if they actually didn’t donate themselves). The integrity of crowd funding as something that can go beyond the extreme niche into producing something on a larger more ambitious scale is strongly tied to the outcome of this project. While this isn’t a situation they asked for and probably isn’t fair, it is the reality. Gaming news outlets, publishers etc. will look at a failure here and not consider things more fully.

          • AngoraFish says:

            QFT: “if you’re not okay with tossing your money into the void, and never seeing a return on it at all – then Kickstarter is not for you.”

          • kouru225 says:

            I registered on this site solely to reply to this comment, though it was a long time coming, as I’ve been lurking around here for a while.

            First of all, what the hell do you think you’re going to get out of telling a bunch of people horror stories about Kickstarter? Second of all, this is a ridiculous stance to take. Why are you so adamant about treating Kickstarter like a charity project? Kickstarter is not charity. It’s crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a very basic concept: I promise you a product and you give me the money in advance so I can make it. If the product does not come then you have the right to be angry. If the product comes and it sucks, however, then it was your fault and you should’ve researched your investment more.

            Now I understand why you’d take this absurdly rigid stance: sometimes people won’t make a good investment and you feel the need to explain to these people that it isn’t crowdfunding’s fault. But don’t try to force everyone to see Kickstarter as charity, because that isn’t helping crowdfunding at all. Kickstarter IS, in fact, an extended preorder, and because it’s SO extended, a lot of other variables come into the mix. That’s all there is to it.

            Basically all your post should’ve said is “if you expected all the games you pledged to on Kickstarter to end like a clean shit where you didn’t need to wipe, then you are an idiot. Game production is complicated and shit happens.” There’s no need for this extremist point of view.

            Maybe non-video game projects on Kickstarter are more like charity, but games completely circumvent this with digital distribution and a low price.

            P.S. Back Satellite Reign please?????

          • derbefrier says:

            I agree with this guy. I look at crowd funding the same way. I didn’t fund this game but I gave 250 bucks to Chris Roberts to try and make Star Citizen. I took the same approach as you. I thought to myself. I shouldn’t give him this money if I wasn’t willing to go flush it down the toilet or waste it on a weekend of fun or anything equally trivial. I was working a lot of overtime back then and had an abundance of extra cash and went for it. I don’t regret it even if in the end we end up with nothing. I wont be pissed. I understand the risk and how the best laid plans of mice and men often end up. Its an idea i wanted to be a part of regardless of the outcome.

        • HermitUK says:

          Actually, fairly major slips like this are going to be a staple of Kickstarter/Crowdfunding. If anything, they’ll be worse than they are in AAA game development at the moment. AAA games slip all the time, and it’s often because the deadlines are unrealistic and the game simply isn’t finished. Granted, publishers might stick out an unfinished game anyway, or cobble together what is finished and release it (KoToR 2 and DA2 spring to mind). Delivery dates on Kickstarter are listed as estimates for a reason. The big difference here is DF being very open about what’s gone wrong, rather than not commenting or releasing a generic “need more time to make it the best game possible” statement.

          That said, DFA is an interesting case. The documentaries have sort of hinted that this was coming, but for those not following it this probably came out of the blue. I’m not overly concerned, if in the long run the game winds up better for it. The interesting thing will be to see how well it sells on early access, though; backers like myself will have it for free, and for those who didn’t back it on Kickstarter, is early access likely to tempt them in at this point, given the game won’t be finished?

        • Shooop says:

          Why are they the only posterboys of Kickstarter? What about Planescape? Or Oculus Rift?

    • almostDead says:

      Wow, RPS found the time to editorialise their comment removal choices.

  3. realitysconcierge says:

    “…labor of love, bled from Tim Schafer’s veins straight into your computer tubes.”
    Nathan, your words delight me so much. Never stop writing please.

    I also love how this is a time of exploring uncharted territory. It makes things really interesting!

  4. Dowr says:

    Blowing your Kickstarter budget is just embarrassing.

    • Shuck says:

      Not really. No one on Kickstarter is raising the full amounts of money they need for game projects. Everyone is relying on outside funds to complete their games, and given the tiny amounts most people raise, they’re going through them in no time. This was never a $400k game. There was always the intention of supplementing the money raised with outside funds, making it originally closer to a million dollar game. But when the game very publicly raised “ten times more” [sic] money than they asked for, the expectations went beyond what that money was going to pay for, and Double Fine surely knew it.

      • Memphis-Ahn says:

        That’s both incredibly stupid and deceitful.

        • Tacroy says:

          … as far as I know it’s also not what most video game Kickstarters have planned. I would be surprised if Shuck has sources for his claim, particularly for DFA.

        • Shuck says:

          That’s not deceitful – people ask for as much money as they can get via Kickstarter, and get the rest however they can, usually by dipping into whatever money they have saved up. (Where this falls apart is if there’s some problem, as we’ve seen with a few projects, then the development ends up underfunded because it failed to raise enough dedicated funds. Otherwise the risk is usually carried entirely by the developers who are working from their own savings on a game that may never recoup that investment.) They only do this because Kickstarter simply doesn’t scale up to game budgets. A big name developer can raise the funds for a smallish indie game (while promising something more), but small indie game developers can’t even get that. So everyone ends up short.
          Double Fine was quite upfront, from the very beginning, about how they had only intended to raise part of the money they needed for this game via Kickstarter. I believe the number was about half the budget, which means it started off as about a million dollar project. (A million dollars is a very small project if you’re paying both salaries and office space; $400k is a reasonably nice Facebook or casual mobile game on those terms, but certainly not a fully developed, polished adventure game.) Being bumped up to a three million dollar project therefore wasn’t an overwhelmingly large increase in budget, but since it was perceived as such, the expectations for the game grew more than the budget did.

      • Oasx says:

        ” No one on Kickstarter is raising the full amounts of money they need for game projects.”
        Where did you get that from? None of the games i have backed have made any indication that the money they made is not enough to finish the game.

  5. JarinArenos says:

    You know, when I saw how much money the Doublefine kickstarter made, I sorta got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I mean really… what was the last (*looks* dear god, “only”) undeniably good game this studio put out? Psychonauts? Riding kinda high on that aging horse… I didn’t back Broken Age then, and I’m not buying early access. Very VERY few developers get a pass from my “wait until the first patch after release” policy, and Double Fine hasn’t been one of them for a long time.

    • Berzee says:

      I found Stacking to be excellent, but that’s probably not a universal assessment.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I thought it offered a substantial improvement on tradition adventure game mechanics, and was an evolution of the genre. The cutscenes were too long, but the game was pretty awesome.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Yeah, Stacking is great. And it’s worth buying for the intro sequence alone.

    • Acorino says:

      Stacking is their latest game I played. It’s pretty excellent!

    • limimi says:

      Iron Brigade is pretty great. Well designed, with interesting hooks. I enjoyed it much more than Stacking, which I 100% completed in one 5 hour sitting. I was so mad when I finished that game. Costume Quest would have been better if they’d taken that JRPG feel and added JRPG length.

      To say this another way, I like Tim Schafer but I’m done with his games. Brad Muir is where it’s at these days.

      • HermitUK says:

        I liked Costume Quest and didn’t mind the length, my only complaint was the lack of voice acting. A decent cast could have really brought the humour alive (assuming they didn’t do that due to the added cost).

        Heck, only Brutal Legend could be considered a disappointing post-Psychonauts release from DF, really. And that’s not a bad game, just one that’s rough around the edges. It’s biggest problem is the sudden genre-shift the RTS sections bring, and how fiddly those are to control.

  6. ffordesoon says:

    This is unexpected, and it’s sad, but shit like this happens. I don’t think it’s wrong of DF to do it, and I don’t think it’s wrong that people are annoyed that they’re doing it. The important thing is that the game, whenever it comes out, is great.

    • SD says:

      Completely agree on all points. Though, Broken Age had better be a fucking masterpiece…

  7. Crowl says:

    Heh, I have friends right now who are giving money hand over foot to Star Citizen – in the ranges of hundreds of dollars – and this exact scenario is all I can think of. Friends don’t let friends crowd fund :(

    • rabish12 says:

      Star Citizen had tech demos, a proper design, some alpha footage, and a good general explanation of exactly what the money was going toward before the Kickstarter even began. The game the Double Fine Kickstarter was funding didn’t even exist in a conceptual stage until well after the funding campaign ended, as far as I can tell. Really not the same thing.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        Which makes it all the sleazier that Star Citizen’s shaping up more and more like my worst fears, with certain ships being limited to absurd amounts of REAL money and only available in limited final quantities “to avoid breaking the game’s balance”. Sounds like horseshit to me. The modding promises also sound more and more like basically just designing your own ships and selling them in the game, which isn’t what modding is about at all.

        I’m not surprised that some/many KS are running overbudget; many of them had really low estimates to begin with. I’m also confident that Schafer is doing his best to make this into something people will enjoy.

        • Shuck says:

          Kickstarter games aren’t necessarily going over budget because their budgets were always bigger than what they raised on Kickstarter. Kickstarter simply fails in its ability to raise the sums of money required for game development, so everyone asks for much less than they actually need. The balance has to be made up somehow. For smaller projects, that balance is usually made up with people’s savings, but for larger projects that’s not possible. For every one of these public shortfalls there’s going to be a whole lot of “successful” Kickstarted games that are released with the developers subsequently going quietly bankrupt as post-release game sales can’t make up the personal savings they spent making the game.

      • Screamer says:

        I have not backed Star Citizen , even though I am a space sim nut. It sounds way too ambitious, and so far , for me at least , after almost a year, way too little has been accomplished. With only a handful of ships , some of which selling for ludicrous amount of money, they might be heading for the same fate as DFA.

  8. SurprisedMan says:

    Seems to me they’re just sort of moving to a pay up-front episodic release model like Telltale, except with 2 big episodes instead of 5-6 small ones. I’m okay with that, especially if it means they can make more game by doing it that way. As a backer, it doesn’t really effect me, except that I’ll now be playing the game in two parts.

  9. Belsameth says:

    While highly dubious, what I do like about the fact is that they’re not faking it or putting on a PR spin.
    “This is what happened. This is how we fucked up. This is how we’re going to fix it”

    • rabish12 says:

      But they aren’t really saying “this is how we fucked up”. They aren’t really apologizing at all, they’re just sort of saying “we designed a game we can’t afford, GIVE US MORE MONEY”.

      • The Random One says:

        They’re not saying GIVE US MORE MONEY. If you’ve given them money already you don’t need to give them any more money and you’ll get the stuff they’re peddling here. But if you didn’t because they didn’t have any concepts or ideas or art – hey, soon they’ll have some concepts and ideas and art and an entire act so maybe you’ll want to give them money now. And if you don’t want to… well you can just buy the game when it’s done.

        • Danda says:

          That is the whole point everybody seems to be missing. They NEVER said “GIVE US MORE MONEY”. They are actually saying “we’ll pay for the rest of the game with what was supposed to be our profits, so you don’t get a smaller game”.

          link to

  10. Zeno says:

    They got massively over-funded and they still ran out of money? And people are still trusting these guys to make a good game?

    • Beelzebud says:

      Not only did they go over-budget after being over-funded, but they also just wrapped up another Kickstarter campaign a few weeks ago…

      • Mctittles says:

        Don’t forget the “Indie Fund” is giving them money to help them get started, as well as the humble bundles, merch on their site, games sold in between, publishing deals for some of their other games, and pre-sales on their site.

    • Strabo says:

      Yes, I trust them. And why not? The part they want to release on Early Access is already far more than (bigger, longer playtime and looking better) than what they promised in the KS. Even if that’s all the game I would get I probably would be satisfied (if it is good). The rest is the vastly increased scope that caused the funding problems. If they can solve that issue with Early Access it gives me the rest of the game for free. So yeah, I trust them.

      And regarding Massive Chalice, that’s a second game, done by another team and especially a team leader who a) managed expectations from the beginning (no stretch goals and increased scope like Broken Age) and b) has shown in the past that he can deliver good games on a budget c) has the best laugh in the industry (<3 Brad Muir).

      • zhivik says:

        You know, I kind of start thinking it would be better if they HAD asked for more money. It would be only fair, because this is what they need right now. I personally am a backer, and I am unhappy that they overstretched themselves too much. I think what Double Fine needs is a good producer, who has to put them in line, and make sure deadlines are met, and goals are not too ambitious.

        I don’t have doubts that the game’s quality is anything but superb. However, I think Double Fine needs to be more honest, mostly to itself. I don’t think a new campaign to raise money for a better and bigger game will be a failure, given that there are people who have a record of creating extraordinary games. I see nothing wrong in asking for more money for a bigger project, it’s how it works.

        However, the option Double Fine chose does not inspire much confidence. They are going to rely on potential revenue from a part of the game they are going to release in six months. What happens if they don’t raise enough money? What if people think the game is lacking, because it’s unfinished? I am increasingly worried that Double Fine is pushing itself into a financial nightmare with this project, and the longer they refuse to face reality, the more difficult it is going to be to get out. I am totally ok with the scenario that it all may be a failure. It’s just a shame that Double Fine put themselves into this position, without any outside pressure.

  11. Delixe says:

    Totally reckless with the money they raised. I liked how at Rezzed Chris Avellone said Obsidian consider the funding done with Project: Eternity, anything else is a bonus. Schafer seems to have let the enthusiasm go straight to his head.

    • Acorino says:

      well, yeah, it’s called being ambitious. nobody will care about the troubles on the way as long as he gets there in the end.

  12. wilynumber13 says:

    How convenient that this info was withheld until AFTER the Massive Chalice kickstarter.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The delay of the announcement was inappropriate.

    • The Random One says:

      The Early Access stuff is being released now, but their money troubles have been known (to backers, at least) for months.

    • Acorino says:

      yep, the money troubles are nothing new, only the Steam Early Access idea is.

  13. nasenbluten says:

    Oh “still not enough” with almost $3 million to spare… that is just insanely bad management.

    I didn’t back it on kickstarter because it seemed very vague with no art or story to show and after the teaser… I don’t know, not for me I guess.

    • dsi1 says:

      This stopped being a 400k game when they hit 400,001 on Kickstarter, it’s a 3.3m game with no money to spare.

      • Jimbo says:

        Sounds more like a $10m game with -$7m to spare.

        • Nogo says:

          If only they had some sort of commercial entity that allowed them to procure funds from various sources!

  14. Fox89 says:

    Pretty embarrassing stuff. I’m willing to give Schafer and Double Fine a bit of leeway given that they were the trailblazers who didn’t really have anyone else’s mistakes to learn from, but still…

    I think the assumption was that the structure of Double Fine was professional enough that, when freed from the shackles of Publishers, would be able to keep themselves under control and set achievable goals. I mean, needing a bit more time and money due to the unforeseen is one thing, but planning a game 75% larger than you can afford? Jesus. I guess Tim kept his writers hat on too long and forgot to swap it out for his manager’s hat.

    I really hope Brad Muir and anybody else who has run or is running a Kickstarter is looking at this and taking notes.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Massive Chalice’s resistance to stretch goals seems indicative of a shift.

  15. Didden says:

    If they are using Valve’s steam, does this mean episode 3 will only be released after 8 or 9 years? :)

  16. Bilateralrope says:

    Kickstarter is flooded in projects that don’t ask for anywhere near enough money. Which puts people who actually know how much a game will cost in a bad spot as they have to choose between also asking for not enough money, or asking for a reasonable amount and dealing with backlash from people who say they are asking too much because other projects asked for less.

    Next time you see a kickstarter project asking for less than a million to make a video game, remember this article. Remember how Double Fine got more than 8 times what they were asking for any it wasn’t enough.

    As for Double Fine’s actions here, the only thing I see that they did wrong was underestimating how much the game would cost. Once they realized they needed more money, they were open about why.

    • rabish12 says:

      Given that they’re an established company that’s been in the business for years and is run by industry veterans, they did a lot more than underestimate the game’s costs. The only possible way this could have happened is if they didn’t actually do a proper cost analysis, properly prepare a budget for the game, and actually create at least a basic design document for the game. Essentially, this couldn’t have happened for a company like that unless they literally GUESSED at what a game like this would cost without any sort of plan at what the game would be like or involve.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        You’re not being fair here. They probably had done a cost analysis for the initial plan, but then the whole thing exploded to such heights that they just didn’t feel like they could keep with the initial, probably too small for the amount of coverage the game got, plan. So they upscaled and missed the mark.

        It’s easy to criticize a small studio for not planning right, but I wouldn’t want to be the one leading them as it’s a really precarious position to be in the vast majority of the time. You’re always at the mercy of your next game’s sales figures and whether people are going to like it, and any unplanned event can seriously endanger the whole thing.

        • rabish12 says:

          And I’d agree with that – things can happen that stretch things like this out – but the fact is that they had nothing to show of the game – NOTHING – until well AFTER the Kickstarter. No concept art, no footage, no design documents. Compare this with virtually any other Kickstarter campaign, where people are usually at least shown concept art and told exactly what they’re going to be funding before the campaign even begins, and where they generally manage to make a successful analysis of the cost (and certainly don’t go over-budget when they’re given far more than they ask for – I don’t think that’s EVER happened with a Kickstarter project).

          Even if they do go over-budget for whatever reason (Star Command did, mainly because of its physical goods – Double Fine would have been prepared for that, they’ve been selling physical merchandise for years so they know the costs involved), other developers that use Kickstarter then respond by stating that they’d screwed up and tightening the scope to ensure that it fulfils the promises that were made and includes the content required to deliver. What they DON’T do is flatly state that 12 times their original budget isn’t enough to cover the cost of more than 25% of the game, and if you want to see it finished then please give them more money.

          This isn’t just about the generally shifty Kickstarter, and it’s not just about the fact that (near as I can tell) they probably didn’t have any design plans or cost analysis done for this game when the Kickstarter was actually done. It’s also about the fact that, rather than simply accepting that they should limit the scope of the project, they are now ASKING FOR MORE MONEY. That’s not what you do. That’s not acceptable.

          • The_B says:

            You’re saying they had nothing to show – which is a fair point – but you have to also remember Double Fine themselves were one of the first and this was entirely a new experiment for them. There was very little in the way of precedent for them to look up before starting. You say how they had experience in physical product before, but selling physical products through a store is far different from doing a Kickstarter. (For one thing, with a shop you’re supplying in lower quantities across a longer period of time, and very rarely will you have to deal with a huge number of orders at once. With the Kickstarter, they had no idea how many they’d have to fulfill until it was over and people’s money was taken.)

            (I’m not saying by the way they were the absolute first, but early enough that there wasn’t much in the way of those that had gone before to judge this on.)

          • rabish12 says:

            There were actually a number of video games on Kickstarter prior to them – more than enough to take some example from – and a number of Kickstarter projects in general. Besides that, they have experience with pitching to investors, publishers and others with projects in a general sense, so they should know what such a thing involves even when the people funding their project are their customers. I can guarantee that, at no point in the company’s history, they would have walked into an investor’s office and said “we want to make a classic point and click, give us 400,000 dollars”. They would have had details. They would have had design documents or concept art, they would have had at least a very basic plot outline, they would have had some explanation of some of the core mechanics available. Basically, they would have acted like a responsible business and actually come up with a plan of action before asking for money. They apparently didn’t do that here, and that’s the problem – they basically looked at the fact that they were getting money from fans rather than corporations, and then decided that – because of them – it’s LESS important for them to plan ahead and be forthright with what they intended to create. This is the main problem I have: Kickstarter is a great way to get away from the publisher model by allowing customers to fund your product instead, but Double Fine’s used it to try and avoid having to make this product in a responsible way.

            As for the physical goods, I wasn’t saying that they’d have been able to predict exact costs, but they clearly have the means to at least produce and ship those goods, and at the very least a rough idea of what it costs to do so. Most Kickstarter projects with significantly less experience selling any kind of merchandise manage to budget for those sorts of things just fine (and even the ones that don’t manage to at least retain enough money to give out the goods and deliver on the final product), so it wouldn’t make any sense to claim that the physical goods are where the money went. They should have been prepared for the costs involved in offering them.

          • The_B says:

            As I said, I’m not saying they were the absolute first. But there wasn’t anything anywhere near as high profile or of as large a scale as this to compare it with. This was always touted as an experiment, something new. They didn’t know exactly what they were getting in for.

            Yes, maybe they should have had concept art. Yes, they would have had more to go to a publisher with. But hindsight is always 20/20 The simple fact is: they didn’t even know they were going to be successful at all, let alone to the degree they were. They’ve completely admitted the game changed in scope and size after it blew up, and yes a lot of the planning of the meat of the game took place well after the Kickstarter had closed – but they promised to their backers that they would have a say in the game from the start. That the documentary was going to film the entire process from the start. If they were too far in, that wouldn’t have been possible. Yes, they’ve made mistakes but for them this was largely uncharted territory and they even said in the pitch video at the start it could all go horribly wrong. If anyone feels they’re being ripped off, they didn’t act on all the information available before putting down their pledge.

            And as for the physical items, it’s the same thing. Kickstarter doesn’t end if you reach your goal early, and how exactly do you plan ahead for that? Even if they did, how can they tell if they were going to ship something to 1 person who’d paid $40K or 40K people who’d paid $1? They can plan to a degree, but before the Kickstarter ended? – And yes, we’re now talking about another request for money but we don’t know if this round of money is for the physical stuff or if that’s already accounted for. You’re essentially asking for variables which might be changing all the time.

            Is it a slightly disappointing state of affairs? Sure. Hopefully DF can and will learn from their mistakes, and other Kickstarters should certainly take note.

    • wilynumber13 says:

      Yeah, it’s thanks to chumps like these guys who grossly underestimate their needs that Lab Zero got major shit from the masses for being honest about a single Skullgirls character costing $150K.

  17. pilouuuu says:

    Well, I understand they want to make the game as good as possible, but this is disappointing and makes me worry about Kickstarter. Can we trust developers to deliver?

    Considering this has been one of the most succesful Kickstarter campaigns what can we expect about other games?

    But most importantly, does this mean that adventure games are not making a come back… ever?

    Anyway, I wish the team the best and I hope they find the best way to make their game and that in the end all this leads to a fantastic and succesful game.

  18. BD says:

    Holy shit, so many comments from people who have no fucking idea what this piece of news means, everyone at the ready with an opinion.

    You people need to find someone closest to you and have them break your fingers, to stop you from partaking in this idiocy.

    • rabish12 says:

      Thanks for intelligently explaining why those comments were wrong. I really feel smarter having read that from you.

  19. detarame says:

    As much as people complain about executives, I really think creativity really requires restraints and every type of media is replete with examples of ambitious arteurs overreaching and destroying themselves through lack of practical thinking or business sense. I’m not surprised by the overreach, but it does sour me somewhat one the recent Massive Chalice Kickstarter.

  20. Beelzebud says:

    Well, I’ve kept my mouth shut the whole time, but here we go. The main reason Double Fine didn’t get any donation from me in the first place is because they literally had no plan beyond a vague premise for what the money was going to be used for. Not even a concept, or a vague outline. Just “give us money and we’ll make something like what we used to”. The actual game wasn’t unveiled until after the Kickstarter was long over.

    For me to hand over some of my hard earned money a kickstarter has to have clearly defined goals, and an actual game they have planned. Look at how Wasteland II’s Kickstarter was done. Focus. So far I haven’t seen a hint that they’re off-track or running out of money.

    Double Fine got the ball rolling on Kickstarter for games, but they just might also kill it, if this turns into a catastrophe.

    Frankly they have a lot of nerve doing another Kickstarter for a different game, knowing that this one was going over-budget. They just finished another Kickstarter FFS.

    • Wisq says:

      Thankfully, I don’t think they could kill it at this point, solely because there have been so many successfully funded projects that almost everyone who’s ever pledged for anything is almost guaranteed to get something worthwhile out of at least some of their backed projects. Essentially, there’s too much momentum at this point, and if one horribly botched Kickstarter is surrounded by hundreds of successful ones, there’s no real risk of damaging the ecosystem.

      I can’t even say that they might raise the bar substantially in terms of what plans and concept art you need to show before people will fund you, because it should be pretty obvious to anyone that they were extremely abnormally underplanned and that pretty much every successful Kickstarter ever since has had a better design plan than they did.

    • Emeraude says:

      Kill it is probably an overstatement, but yes, I certainly can see it having a lasting chilling effect on the whole Kickstarter process, if only because of the media darling spot DF has occupied till now. What people that aren’t already invested and (relatively) savvy in the crowd-funding scene are going to see and remember about it may just be that one failure they heard about more than any other success.

      (Amusingly enough, DFA happens to be the one popular Kickstarter I did not back because I didn’t trust the company with the accounting, given its history.)

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      The entire point of the Kickstarter was to see the creation of a game from its inception. They didn’t have a plan because the planning stage was a big part of the documentary.

    • Freddy32 says:

      I completely agree with your comment. I didn’t back this game for the same reasons.
      Personally, I think this is a big disaster for the Studio and for Kickstarter Project in General.

  21. Commissar Choy says:

    While this sucks, I’m okay with it. Also in case anyone was curious, the physical goods from the KS ate up a lot of money.

    • rabish12 says:

      The game’s initial budget was 400,000 dollars, and Double Fine has been selling games and physical merchandise based on those games for a long time. If they did their jobs and handled the Kickstarter in an even remotely sensible way, there is no way 3.3 million dollars would have failed to cover their expenses.

      • Commissar Choy says:

        I have little interest in debating this with someone who claims to speak for me.

        • rabish12 says:

          Again, good job taking an clearly intentionally exaggerated statement literally. Also, I’m pretty sure you could have stopped at “I have little interest in debating this”, because you pretty obviously don’t have much interest in talking about it and would rather spend your time insulting anyone who disagrees with you.

          • Rocketpilot says:

            Mate, this is the Internet. People say far crazier things ALL THE TIME and totally mean it. I didn’t even think for a moment you might not be completely serious.

          • Commissar Choy says:

            Yep that’s me, insulting everyone who’s disagreeing.

            But seriously, the differences in reaction between people who’ve backed the project and haven’t is noticeable.

          • Duke Nasty VI says:

            Speaking on behalf of myself: I’m okay with this. The documentary videos alone have been worth the money I spent backing this project.

            Edit: Wasn’t intended as a reply to the parent comment.

          • rabish12 says:

            I agree, they are different. People who didn’t back the product aren’t invested in it, so they have a lot more room to be pessimistic about this. But there are people who DID back the project that are still having the same reaction, albeit to a lesser degree: they’re confused and they’re disappointed. The only real gap is that they’re hoping that a good product comes out of this (and I wouldn’t be surprised if one does, but that’s really besides the point).

            Duke: My problem isn’t with the quality of what backers are getting. The game could end up being a fantastic point and click. I’m sure the documentary is stupendous, and worth your money. But the quality of the game isn’t really the issue here, a complete failure by a major studio to create and stay anywhere near the constraints of a budget, or to in any way plan out and stick to a project that was meant to cost 400,000 dollars, is the problem.

            I have a lot of faith in most of the people at Double Fine to make good games (not Tim, not anymore, but most of them). That doesn’t really make what they’ve done here any better.

          • Commissar Choy says:

            No one is arguing that we aren’t disappointed but we also aren’t all clamoring to burn down DF.

            I recognize that what I did was back a dream and I’m perfectly okay with that. The documentary has been astounding and easily worth the $35. From the footage they’ve showed, the game looks great and I’m willing to wait.

            [E] The game that was pitched for $400,000 is not the game being developed currently.

          • rabish12 says:

            “The game that was pitched for $400,000 is not the game being developed currently.”

            Then Double Fine is irresponsible with the money that was invested in the product and incompetent as a business. That really doesn’t make it better, it makes it much worse.

          • The Random One says:

            I’m not a suit-wearing executive that backed this after looking at a chart that calculated my returns. I don’t give a shit about how good of a business they are. I give a shit about how good as artists they are. And many artists are awful businesspeople. So how they make their money is beyond my concern as long as they deliver something enjoyable at the end.

          • rabish12 says:

            You should be concerned, since the way they handle your money is going to determine the quality of the finished product (if they’ve planned for a game that they can only afford to fund 75% of and they don’t get enough funding from Early Access, then you’re going to end up with a game that’s, at least in some sense, incomplete), and because it undermines the entire point of crowdfunding websites: that companies don’t need publishers or private investors, because crowds can fund their projects better than those ever could. That entire premise falls apart if the money the crowds spend isn’t used responsibly.

          • Xocrates says:

            The point of the kickstarter was that they wouldn’t even start until the campaign finished.

            They didn’t plan to make this game for 400.000, they said they would need at least 400.000 to make a game. Had they only got 400.000 and we would be talking about a completely different adventure game.

          • gwathdring says:


            You can’t have it both ways. Either the way they handle themselves as a business determines the quality of their product or it doesn’t. Earlier you said you thought it was fairly likely that a good product would appear at the end of all this, and that that wasn’t to point and neither is the documentary a fair number of backers were super interested in.

            Why is all that less important than the business side? Than your idea of how the Kickstarter ought to be run? This is uncharted territory. Funding games this way, pitching games this way? This is new. A lot of people are going to screw up, even big-name people. Double Fine might just manage to screw up in a way that still keeps their backers satisfied. If it pans out, sure we should say “Well I really didn’t like the part where you ran out of money and everything almost fell apart …” but we should also say “woo! A cool game and documentary got made in a novel way that got a lot of people deeply invested in the game, the company, and the process.”

            If it doesn’t pan out … I’m sure different words will be appropriate. But games companies screw up and run out of money quite often. Companies fold or are folded. Sometimes it’s clear mismanagement sometimes it just never quite works out even though at any given step in the process there weren’t clear “this is the wrong decision” moments to mull over in hindsight but rather a broad, overall, inevitable downward trend or a serious of unpredictable mishaps. Sometimes even when it goes wrong, there isn’t a point in blaming or getting angry.

            Stepping away from Double Fine in particular here … what makes a good games company? A good business that follows the rules of good businesses and manges money well first and foremost? Or a company that makes good games for their customers first and foremost? I think it’s the later. Especially on Kickstarter. From my perspective, your priorities are out of whack here whether or not Double Fine deserves anger.

          • benshares says:

            @gwathdring Thank you sir, for keeping a level head and making a reasoned and reasonable argument. You have won the internet today, please await your prize.

  22. mrmalodor says:

    I bet the fucker enjoyed all the drugs, hookers and booze.

  23. Eddard_Stark says:

    Embarassing. Three million dollars for a point-and-click adventure game with a highly stylized graphic style and it’s apparently only half of what they’ll need by the end. For all the talk about evil publishers, it appears Tim Schafer needs a man with a big heavy stick nearby 24/7 to remain within the budget.

    Also, can’t help but notice that this info came out right after Massive Chalice’s kickstarter failed to get massive.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      I’ll just point out one thing: highly stylized graphics have absolutely nothing to do with costs or complexity. A lot of people claim that, and in certain cases it is true, but many many times it’s just as complicated to make stylized graphics that *work* and look good as it is to make super-high-detail stuff in your go-to Unreal Engine game.

      • Eddard_Stark says:

        It has to do with the costs of the assests. And yes, I agree it varies from case to case. But as a general rule highly detailed realistic or fully hand-drawn assets are likely to be more expensive.

  24. Brosepholis says:

    And so the gaming public discovered why double fine don’t deal with publishers anymore: Because publishers wouldn’t accept this kind of behaviour.

    • drinniol says:

      They would have insisted on releasing a buggy unfinished game instead. I like the Double Fine solution better.

      • rjbone says:

        …isn’t Double Fine’s solution to release an unfinished game?

        • drinniol says:

          There’s a difference between a buggy incomplete release that’s not cohesive (KOTOR 2) and an incomplete release that is self-contained (Telltale episodic games).

        • engion3 says:


    • Acorino says:

      nah, it’s at least just as much Double Fine not wanting to deal with publishers anymore, because it allows them more creative freedom.

    • Emeraude says:

      To be fair: the job of publishers is to get things published.

      When they do their job decently enough, they’re a godsend to the audience in the form of kicking the craftsmen into gear and into delivering a robust product in a timely fashion – and to the craftsmen themselves in the form of taking care of all those pesky non-creative necessities.

      The problem is that the publishing model used in the video-game world appears to be broken, and unable in many respects to perform its duties. Hence why many people, audience and video-game makers alike, are trying to find alternatives.

  25. pilouuuu says:

    Do they need to double the money? That’s not fine… Everything about the gaming industry is broken in this age…

    • kirby_freak says:

      (notices no one has replied to the massive pun yet) It’s okay, I’ll raise my chalice to that pun.

      • kincajou says:

        Please be sure to stack it with the rest when you finish, the claners brigade impose their rules with an iron fist!

  26. Noviere says:

    As a backer, I’m certainly not thrilled by this turn of events… But I’m not all that surprised by it either. This isn’t the first time things have looked shakey at Double Fine with this project.

    Despite my disappointment(and amazement that a project could go this far off course), I’m not pissed off or anything. It is what it is, and the game looks gorgeous.

  27. Xocrates says:

    Ever wondered why they don’t make those backer updates public? The reaction this is getting is why.

    That they were over-budget was known by the backers for months.

    The difference here is that the backers know what Double Fine is doing about it, and have first hand knowledge of the reasons why this is happening.

    EDIT: Also, this is a backers only update. Is RPS leaking the info?

    • The_B says:

      A few places have posted it at this point, so it’s rather moot. (In fairness, this wasn’t the whole update, just a message from Tim contained within it.)

      And they don’t make the backer updates public in general because many backers paid precisely because one of the things promised as being a perk of being a backer was behind the scenes information that no-one else would get. If they gave the updates to everyone, that’d devalue that for many backers and I dare say some might not have done so, so they’re somewhat caught between a rock and a hard place, because by keeping info those not backing think they’re hiding something, and by giving it away they’re devaluing what they are offering backers.

    • qrter says:

      It might also be a backers only update because.. well, what are backers going to do? You’ve already paid up, it’s in the nature of Kickstarter that things might not go to plan, there’s not much you’d be able to do but accept it.

      In fact, because backers have already given money, they’re more invested (not just literally, I mean) and will have a tendency to spin this news more positively.

      The news is potentially more damaging for non-backers – they’re where the new money is, but they might think twice about giving their money now.

      • Xocrates says:

        Every update so far has been a backers only update and, as I noted, backers knew about the budget problems months ago.

        Honestly, had these news never leaked out and the game would come out and none of the non-backers would be none the wiser. This kind of stuff happens all the time in game development, it just isn’t usually made public.

        DF hasn’t broken any promises, even if it made several mistakes, so until the day the game comes out (or fails outright) I think people should hold judgement.

  28. Tuor says:

    Yo, Tim. I can appreciate that you’ve got this really hyper-amazing imagination, but dude… learn to budget.

    • Acorino says:

      what for? he always knew how to handle the trouble. so far. I hope this issue won’t break his lucky streak…

  29. Lemming says:

    It seems to cost Doublefine more than most of the other KS-bound studios to accomplish much the same. Hmm.

  30. Turkey says:

    They might as well just do another Kickstarter. Who’s going to want to pay to play an early build of an adventure game?

    • Crosmando says:

      They did do another Kickstarter, it conveniently ended 5 days before Tim decided to break this news.

    • trjp says:

      Oddly, I’ve always felt DS’s games feel like early access even after they’re released.

      I’m still kicking Psychonauts into working even now ;)

    • Turkey says:

      Oh they’re splitting it in two. Should’ve payed better attention.

  31. lomaxgnome says:

    And yet, people still seem to think that they’re going to get expansive RPGs or revolutionary RTSs for even less money in very short amounts of time. My only problem with Kickstarter has always been that people seem to have no concept of the real scope of game projects. And that applies both to the donors and to the game makers themselves.

    You look at the indiegogo for Skullgirls, the only project I’ve seen that was completely transparent about cost, and people still didn’t believe it, even though every member of the team took a massive pay cut just to be able to stay in that budget. I wish Kickstarter had a requirement of some baseline about the finances, ie “I will pay these 7 people 50k per year for the next year” or something, so that at least there appears to have been some thought and structure put into it.

  32. Emeraude says:

    I find it fascinating that the most vehement reactions every time a bad news about Kickstarter hits us seems to come from people who are *not* backing anything themselves, and seems to be taking a perverse pleasure in lording over those that, unlike them, dared to believe. Borders on pure self-aggrandizing schadenfreude for the worse ones.

    Those same people will also generally ignore the good news, for good measure.

    As I said in that (probably unread) mail I send to HBS after the whole Shadowrun Returns DRM fiasco: Kickstarter is going to be business as usual, with a chance of sunlight.
    Might as well all get used to it, if not already.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely. Doublefine deserves censure for some of their practices, but more than a bit of the wailing and moaning sounds like gleeful crocodile tears.

    • mrmalodor says:

      ” the most objective, unbiased reactions every time a bad news about Kickstarter hits us seems to come from people who are *not* backing anything themselves”

      Fixed it for ya.

      • Emeraude says:

        Your statement and mine are not mutually exclusive.

        I do believe that some of the most measured and rational posts come from people that did not back anything, and are watching things from afar.
        Which doesn’t in any way prevent some of the worst comments, those with the attitude I described, to come from the same group of people.

        If anything, there is something to say about how being a backer, and emotionally invested in the projects, can indeed seem to impact (some would say “cloud”) one’s critical capabilities over the matter.

    • greenbananas says:

      You must be new to this gaming thing. Reactions from people backing the thing mostly seem to be the sort of acritical response from someone who’s willing to bend time and space to justify their monetary and (completely unnecessary) emotional investments to themselves as much as to others, the same sort of thing younger gamers have been doing since a competing console/computer was first launched. See the “16-Bit”, “32-Bit”, “PS2vsXBOX”, “PS3vs360” “wars” or the rabid defense every mediocre or better exclusive gets from a fanbase. Or even the very existence of a fanbase. It’s really no wonder that EA, Ubisoft, Valve, Microsoft and the like keep treating consumers like 12 year olds.

      • Emeraude says:

        At least the schadenfreude is refreshing.

        If you say so. I tend to find it as juvenile as the unsubstantiated defense claims, with added venom/toxicity.

        But to each his own.

  33. Picklesworth says:

    Keep in mind Double Fine is a serious, established company with _many_ employees who earn decent salaries and would very much like to keep them. (And if they don’t, they’ll probably go somewhere else). They’re in a slightly different position than a lot of other Kickstarter projects, which are run by smaller organizations, groups of friends, people who don’t give a damn about labour laws or might have (separate) real jobs anyway. I for one completely expected that this project would be expensive when I backed it, and I’m pretty surprised anyone didn’t. (400,000 would have paid for five developers on and off for a year, maybe, after the documentary, the Kickstarter swag, and all the multitudes of expenses that don’t involve HR).

    The only thing I was disappointed by was at the very beginning, considering the prospect of a rather tiny little adventure game. So, I’m actually pretty excited that they’re trying to stretch this out as far as they have, even if it isn’t working as well as it might. Moreso with the Steam thing, since that’s a pretty sensible way to keep things rolling, and it’ll be interesting to watch anyway.

    • Shuck says:

      I figure, at best, $400k is probably closer to three developers for a year not counting Kickstarter swag, documentary or anything unrelated to development. Most Kickstarter game campaigns are bedroom developers living off of their savings (or, as you say, day jobs), so you’re quite right – they’re very, very different situations.

  34. InternetBatman says:

    This isn’t a huge surprise, and this will not be an isolated incident. Accounting is hard, even for major publishers. Overpromising is a part of software development (it’s ridiculously hard not to), and cutting things that you once thought were crucial is part of any act of creation.

    I’ve backed six projects, four of which have had various setbacks:
    Shadowrun Returns is a month late and is using money from sales to fund the second campaign, and various other small setbacks. That’s the implicit message of splitting campaigns.
    Wasteland 2 has had absolutely shitty kickstarter updates, and the writing in their preview was weak.
    Torment: Nomanomayei said backers would vote on the combat system and then haven’t mentioned it for two months.
    DFA has all of this going on.

    The only two that have yet to disappoint are Project Eternity and Unrest.
    Unrest was just funded a week ago.
    Project Eternity has been doing a flawless job communicating and just completed vertical slice.

    But I’ll still back projects in the future. I’m fully aware that I’ll lose some money on a game I don’t like. Backer updates make up for some of that, but not all. The thing is, I’m expecting no better or worse than broken brilliant games from the creators of broken brilliant games. They probably won’t live up to their promises, but if the world is better for their existing, and I am better for having played them then I’ll be okay.

  35. Acorino says:

    Honestly Nathan, I know that the lurid spin on this news makes it appear more exciting and shocking, but boiled down it’s pretty much a non-issue. As always, Double Fine does the smart thing in the face of trouble. And trouble hasn’t been rare for the studio, see the development of Psychonauts or Brütal Legend. Maybe it would have been more sensible for you to emphasize all the ways this recent development remains true to the Kickstarter promise? Referring to the original pitch might have helped.

    So, what’s gonna happen? No one can say for sure. But here is my promise to you. Either the game will be great or a spectacular failure caught on camera for everyone to see. Either way, you win. What can possibly go wrong?

    Did Tim Schafer ever meet a deadline and stay within budget? I guess not. I wonder why anyone thought that it would be different this time around. I backed because I was fine with that thought, just fiiine.
    The most important thing is that the Kickstarter promise remains unbroken. Money for the project remains without strings attached. Backers don’t have to give more money. Backers still receive beta access before the larger public gets to play the game. And the game will be released as a whole in the end.

  36. ExplosiveCoot says:

    This is why the games industry is so fucked.

    People who’s been doing this for 30+ years should be able to understand the costs of making a game well enough to complete a project when given 700% of the initially requested budget. From the outside this looks like another case of the man-children who work in management at a games company cramming marshmallows down their gullet until they vomit all over the floor and have to beg their parents to come clean up.

    • InternetBatman says:

      To be fair, the scope of the project was determined after the kickstarter ended. So it’s not a case of shooting for a $300k game and spending 11x the budget. It’s a case of trying to make a $4m game, and feature bloating to a $16m game.

    • Echo_Hotel says:

      The fact that all these game studios seem to want to set up shop in high cost of living areas baffles me.
      It really smacks of coastal elitism.
      Why set up shop in San Francisco?
      The developers are there.
      Why are the developers there?
      Because the jobs are there.
      GOTO 10

      I mean I hate to break this to you but there are perfectly modern small cities (50k population) across the american midwest where 2 Mill will last you… well more than a year and a half.

      • Emeraude says:

        The workforce tends to concentrate where a good portion of decision maker and money – and service infrastructure necessary for doing its job – providers are (interestingly, people thought the advent of the Internet meant we’d be able to easily relocate those services, and the contrary happened, it actually increased the concentration into some super urban centers.).

        Relocating an existing studio might be a possibility, but the relocation can easily end up costing more than the economy made – and unless planning on going Kickstarter only in the future, might prove the death of the studio.

      • Shuck says:

        Game developers do occasionally try to set up companies in the middle of nowhere, and guess what happens. First it’s hard to lure people out – people live in cities for a reason (because they’re more interesting places to live). Then you have to pay relocation costs for all your developers (none of whom are local). Game companies don’t necessarily last all that long either, and layoffs frequently occur at the end of development cycles. Which means the employees, after a development cycle or two (if they’re lucky), have to find new jobs. Only there aren’t any in that area. So back to wherever urban area they came from in the first place.
        Oh, and the developers aren’t just in the Bay Area because it’s a traditional game development center – it’s also because the universities are there, because tech companies are there from which programmers can be recruited (and to which they’ll return when they get sick of game industry BS), etc.

      • Berzee says:

        It still seems super dumb to me that so few (any?) game companies employ a telecommuting model. I know there are difficulties in data transfer and management, but provided you can get a “proof of fast internet” from all your employees, and prepare ahead of time for coordinating the team’s efforts, I think it would work quite well.

        Saving on office space would be good for game development studios which are often tight on cash, and working from home would be a great boon to game developers who are often on a crazy schedule. Regarding communications, I doubt there’s anything SO INCREDIBLY NUANCED you’d need to communicate about a computer game that you couldn’t do it over Skype.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Telecommuting is well and good, and most major studios use some of it. However, there are still significant problems with it. One of which is that fixed camera position makes it hard to look people in the eyes / track the shifting of their eyes, which leads to lower information density of conversations and loss of nuance.

          • Berzee says:

            Yeah, I think a lot of that post was just frustration at A) living in “the wrong part of the country” to have much hope of making sweet games for a living without moving, and B) being annoyed that I currently have to Commute to make Websites on the Internet. =P

            I do acknowledge that it can be easier to collaborate on a development problem when the person you need to talk to can just wheel over to your desk and look at something with you — to say nothing of the camaraderie aspect of having gaming nights and such with your co-workers, if you have a company that values that sort of thing.

            On the other hand, if you have to gaze soulfully into someone’s EYES to figure out what they’re saying about a level design or a walljump mechanics, they probably need to work on their verbal and written articulation. ;)

  37. Mctittles says:

    Can’t say I didn’t see this coming, with the Humble Bundles, Second other kickstarter, Indie Fund etc, I was assuming they were needing more money for Broken Age and trying to gather from other areas. The problem I see with going way over kickstarter goals is the more you give a company to spend, the more they will spend. If you give someone 300K for a game, they will spend 300K, however if you give them 3MIL they will spend 3MIL, but the end game will probably not be too far off the 300K game.

  38. cdx00 says:


    First time poster, very long time lurker. Just dropping my two cents here. I backed this project and I am quite upset over this but what can I do? Complaining does little. I can only hope that this does not happen again in the future.

    • Acorino says:

      no, no, complaining is good, as long as you don’t jerk your knees too hard. ;)

  39. Zepp says:

    That’s why I enjoy small indie games more than those money-sinks made by overpayed gaming celebrities. I bet they set their salaries sky-high. They are world-top artists and designers, afterall. (Spending 3million$$ on hookers and booze, achivement unlocked. :D)

    Now, I’m going back to TOME.

  40. Yachmenev says:

    Pretty much no major kickstarter will get totally funded by the kickstarter money. The game kinda implies that, kickstarter.

    The only difference is that Double Fine is pretty transparent and honest about it, which in some ways might be the actual mistake.

  41. Jaks says:

    Sick and tired of these studios with their hands out like a bunch of fucking beggars. Honestly, if you don’t have enough money to self develop your own game then maybe you should have made sure your previous games made more money.

    This early access this is just double dipping your dedicated fans. Now people who enthusiastically backed the kickstarter will get to pay again for early access.

    So how do I get my kickstarter money refunded so I can use it to buy this instead and get the game faster than being an original backer. Oh, I can’t? I have to buy the game twice? Well then fuck you too, Tim Schafer.

    • drinniol says:

      Learn to read, read the article again, then put your foot firmly in your mouth.

      Fuck, I’ll do it for you.

      “Which is not to say that backers will have to pay again for their chipped off block of Broken Age. They’ll actually gain access to an even earlier beta in addition to Steam Early Access and the full game. So no worries on that front.”

  42. Jim Rossignol says:

    I have some sympathy with Schafer here. Sir won’t be done before the KS money runs out, and we’ll complete it with the money from pre-orders. We’re in a very different state, with a very different game, admittedly. I can’t imagine the difficulty of realising your art-based game needs too much content.

    Threatening to axe 75% of the content seems a little mendacious, perhaps, but as far as I can see that’s the only issue here. I’m puzzled by anyone expressing upset at the road they’ve taken, since this means they still get their game, and get access to it sooner than might otherwise have been expected. Almost all crowd-funding efforts have gone on to ask for more money, whether it be via Paypal, going to investors, or going on Early Access as Prison Architect and others have done.

    Is there any other reason for outcry?

    • drinniol says:

      Tim is a beardie and cannot be trusted!

    • Jimbo says:

      They were massively over-funded and aren’t a group of part-timers with no experience. Different expectations. It’s not unreasonable to expect an established studio with years of experience to have a pretty good idea of what can be achieved with x dollars in y time. To let the project spiral to such an extent is incredibly irresponsible / incompetent.

      They’re doing the right thing trying to make sure they get something playable out the door, but I’m not hopeful about ever seeing part two. Or Massive Chalice for that matter (I backed both).

      Whatever. I can forgive them for being over-ambitious, but how they’ve timed this announcement to only come after the Massive Chalice KS finished is really disappointing.

      • Acorino says:

        I don’t think it’s incompetent to realize the problem and find a way to fix it, which is what they’re doing. The game will get finished and it will be awesome. Anyway, the design of the game was just recently finished, which is why it also was just recently possible to estimate the rest of the development time. They had estimates before, of course, which pointed also to a too big of a scope.
        Sure, the producer could have been more attentive that the scope of the game stays within the budget, but personally, as a backer, I rather prefer an overly ambitious Tim Schafer game than a modestly scoped one.
        And they still could have cut the scope anyway, but they chose not to.

    • Acorino says:

      I don’t think so. Well, except that some people are soo disappointed that Double Fine can’t be professional enough to stay within budget. Personally I prefer unprofessional overambition to professional scope reducing, but that’s just me.

    • Fox89 says:

      The first issue for me is very much the 75%, as it just makes me as a backer think “Do these guys even know what they’re doing?” Technically the situation in Sir is the same: you had a budget, it took longer than that budget could last so you get a bit of extra revenue to finish the game. But I think pretty much everyone who backed your project is happy to accept a few delays and problems along the way (especially from a new developer), and we’re happy to accept a certain amount of bad news from Broken Age as well.

      But when Tim Schafer, industry and adventure game Vet, comes out and says he had a budget and then designed a game so massive the money raised could only fund a quarter of it, it’s a confidence knocker. That’s not just delays and development problems (at least not to my ignorant backer’s ears), that sounds like a complete lack of self-control and terrible planning.

      The other big issue is that the Massive Chalice Kickstarter was run and completed before we were told about this. How many Massive Chalice backers might have had second thoughts because of concerns about the ability of Double Fine to manage themselves efficiently? When asking for people’s money, these kinds of problems within a company are the sorts of things potential backers deserve to know. To keep it under wraps until Massive Chalice was paid for feels kind of dishonest. I can’t speak for anyone else of course, but as a backer of both Double Fine projects it’s this second one that stings the most.

  43. demicanadian says:

    If only The Cave was a good game…

    • Strabo says:

      It’s a good game hidden under a few cumbersome gameplay mechanics. If you could have more than one item and if the characters moved faster/less awkward in some instance (and if the common areas could be skipped during your second playthrough) it would be a really great game.

      • demicanadian says:

        Yeah, and if selection of characters would do ANYTHING more than changing sequence of single character episodes.

        • InternetBatman says:

          There are a few places where it does (especially for the time traveler), but it was sold as each play through is unique. It wound up being “each playthrough is the same, except for one to three puzzles of a seven puzzle game.” That said I enjoyed it quite a bit. The knight’s tale is my favorite.

  44. c-Row says:

    So that’s why it is called Kickstarter, not Kickfinisher

    Seriously, unless this turns into a complete trainwreck I still have all the faith in Tim and his crew.

    • RedViv says:

      Aye. You pledge to support getting production rolling, and it’s always risky.

      They seem to learn lessons about feature creep the hard way right now, and DF have never been a studio that would not learn. So that’s good too. Bit disappointing that learning this has to happen this one time when it’s really public, so they show that it’s possible to not have seen that coming even for someone in the industry for as long as Schafer has been. But that’s all.

    • Teovald says:

      What, you mean this is not Amazon ?

  45. andytt66 says:

    As a backer, I much prefer DoubleFine trying to make a $4M game and struggling to the alternative of making a $400k game and pocketing the difference.

    Also, I found this interesting : link to Scaling up production (be it physical goods or development time) quickly unexpectedly is hard.

    • Moraven says:

      Same. It seems that any Kickstarter that gets a way larger budget expand SCOPE and CREATIVITY or what not, with no sense of project management. Adding more people adds more bloat and wasted money.

      I would have been happy to get what they expected to do with $400k. I have the feeling now they were not even sure what they would do with $400 and we would not even get a game out of that low amount. Now we get 25-50% of the game for sure and who knows how much of it later in 3 times the amount of time expected to the finished product.

  46. Lethys says:

    I’m more interested to know what they would’ve done if they only received the $400,000. Given it back? This is entirely unethical and shows the major flaw in the Kickstarter model, something which I’d been wondering about and the only thing that has prevented me from contributing. I’d much rather spend $50 on a product I am satisfied with the completion of and can see reviews of than $20 on something whose fate is entirely without guarantee.

    • Acorino says:

      It’s entirely unethical that Double Fine puts their own money into the project, so that the backers get more game than they pledged for? You got a weird sense of ethics…

  47. Kadayi says:

    Unfortunate, but not a surprise given the sheer amount of over-subscription for the project. Once the money went beyond the expectation so wildly then invariably the ambitions increased accordingly. With any creative project it’s pretty hard to be accurate on how long something will actually take (and therefore require funding on) Vs what you estimate it will take. Having done creative for a fair few years now I tend to work on the rule of if someone says it will take them a couple of hours, the reality is that means it will probably take the better part of a day. Not because they’re lazy, or goofing on the job but just because collectively we’re all pretty bad at estimating time required.(Wiki: Planning fallacy).

    The real problem DF face is that in large part a fair amount of the audience have already funded the game, so are unlikely to reach into their pockets again, which begs the question as to where’s the actual sales (that generate a profit) come from when the games finally done. Every moment you’re in early release and still working on the game you’re effectively burning through your profits.

    In many ways DF probably needed to limit the amount of backers for all tiers, so that there was a maximum amount of money that could be generated in line with their original ambitions for the title. That way it would of been easier to stay on track, and not tap out post release sales.

    Hoping that they get back on track, but I doubt this will be the last case of an oversubscribed Kickstarter running into troubles.

  48. onsamyj says:

    Bottom line: alpha funding FTW. If you don’t have product, go fuck yourself in your creatively free ass, pardon my French.

    • Noviere says:

      French? That’s barely even English… ;)

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Well that’s not a nice thing to say. I have a few previously crowdfunded games in my collection and not regretting backing anything thus far.

      • onsamyj says:

        Alpha funding is crowd funding with early version of game attached to it. There is clear vision, there is proof that devs know that they doing, that they can deliver and you getting something already.

        Make your decision based on something! Review, alpha/beta/demo, at least some clear idea of what exactly are you throwing money at.

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          There’s plenty of crowdfunded games that come with demos. You’re making horrendously fallacious blanket statements. There are good and bad crowdfunded games and there are good and bad alphafunded games. Alphafunded games that finally get released and people are still disappointed in them, and ones where people are not. Same with the crowdfunding.

          You have the right to not support/like crowdfundung, but you sound like you think your attitude is the only right one.

    • nulian says:

      This is the worst part of the article when Act 1 gets pre-released in will be in release state like an episode of telltale games.

  49. Screamer says:

    As a Backer I am disappointed but have faith in DF to pull through. Lets just hope the game is still awesome when it gets released and does not suffer from content that had to be cut.

    How successful trying to fund the next 75% of the project with Steam early access is going to be, I do not know. Hasn’t everyone who was interested already backed it?

    • DrScuttles says:

      Between the Kickstarter backers, slacker backers and everyone who pays for early access, I am curious as to what audience there is to buy the game at full price on release. There must be some, and the inevitable bundle / Steam Sale people will snap it up, but I do wonder.

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        You’d be surprised by how many ppl don’t use Kickstarter or don’t even know about Kickstarter. Some just outright refuse to pay for an unfinished game as well.

  50. Trapezoid says:

    Why do people keep mentioning the $400,000 price? That small $400k game is dead. We killed it by donating millions. The $400k game was a pitch for short film, and we greenlit it as a full length film.

    So they expanded it, Tim tried to write it into something appropriately scaled, and he overdid it. Designers do this all the time. Except they don’t usually have a camera crew watching them, and their games usually just get cut down by order of their publishing company.
    This time, Double Fine are calling their own shots, and they’re trying to figure out an elegant way of funding the full game they dreamed up. They’re attempting to do it differently.

    That’s what we backed it for– to remove those restrictions and see how it turns out. I paid 30 bucks, in return I’m getting a fantastic documentary and next year, the full game. I don’t understand what’s changed and why people are complaining.

    • iucounu says:

      What would have been OK would have been junking the $400K game and making a game that costs the same amount of money to make as they raised. They could even build in some profit and some slack to cover the inevitable delays and snags that are a feature of all game development, when they’ve raised several times the initial budget.

      I backed the To Be or Not to Be Kickstarter (Ryan North’s Hamlet gamebook) and you could see exactly – in the stretch goals – what they needed to hit for it to be full colour, hardback etc. The spec increased in very clear tiers that you could tell had been properly costed. Importantly, when he raised half a million dollars, he didn’t then tear up the script and decide to make a $750,000 short film instead.

      I think the freedom that Kickstarter brings is great in many ways, but it’s undeniable that it also means there’s greater danger of costs or scope running out of control. We deride the gimlet-eyed bean-counters who stifle the creativity of our Shafers and Molyneuxs with their petty insistence on things being delivered on time and as advertised, but they do afford protection for the consumer that you don’t get with KS. If I back something now, it’s essentially about trust, and I don’t think I trust DoubleFine with my money any more. I’m happy for others to back them – which I’m sure they’ll continue to do – and maybe I’ll pick up a copy after the event.

    • dftaylor says:

      This is the key thing for me. I’m not a huge fan of DF, in fact haven’t really enjoyed any of Schaefer’s games since Grim Fandango, if truth be told. But I’d support any indie trying to change the sorts of games that get made just to assuage the teen-male-latent-homophobe demographic.

      I digress, nobody gave DF $3m to make a $400k game. They over-funded the $400k and made a completely new game. And as they expanded, they got carried away with the potential before realising what they’d done.

      Sure, it’s crap in terms of project management, but it happens all the time. I had a £10k budget recently for a couple of short films and needed to ask for additional funding. Why? We had a cool opportunity and it made the project better, if a little more costly and over-schedule. It was better for the customer ultimately, even if it was off-scope.

      Finally, Kickstarter doesn’t confer some different moral obligation on a developer and DF has no responsibility to be the poster child for its uses in funding indie development. People gave their money and, like with any investment, there’s always a potential there’s no return. You just need to write it off to bad experience.

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        But we don’t need to “write it off”as they will be releasing this game! I don’t get why ppl act as if they lost something. It is just delayed, big deal!

        • Apocalypse says:

          Not even that, as the delay has nothing to do with the founding.
          Its just that they get a second game for free.

          Lets be honest, even for a full game its not unusual to end with a cliffhanger that opens up for more games. We just get this. And we get the second game for free. What is not to like about this, besides the bad management that makes this change of plans necessary?