Doubleplusbad: Double Fine Layoffs

Grim news emerged from Double Fine at the tail-end of the week, when Tim Schafer confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that the cancellation of an unannounced project has led to layoffs.

One of our unannounced projects was unexpectedly cancelled by its publisher, forcing us to reduce our staff by 12 people. Our remaining projects–Broken Age, Massive Chalice, and Grim Fandango Remastered, were unaffected…

That’s all the information we have and while there’ll be a brief attempt to squint between the lines below, first up are condolences and best wishes for the future to those affected.

All three titles still in production have been funded at least partly through external sources. Massive Chalice (Alec recently took a quaff) and Broken Age (Part 2’s script was completed in October) were both Kickstarter projects, and Sony supplied some of the cash for Grim Fandango Remastered. Along with what I’d consider their core output, Double Fine have been producing peripheral-based games over the last few years. These range from a Kinect-powered Sesame Street game to a robotic warfare prototype utilising the Leap Motion Controller. Given that the cancellation was on the publisher’s side rather than an internal decision, it’s possible that the unannounced project was along the lines of the former rather than an entirely internal creation.

As to whether or not there are other unannounced projects in development, the statement is slightly unclear. “One of our unannounced projects” would suggest that there are others but the list of “remaining projects” only contains the three we already know about. If there are other unannounced projects in development, they may be at the prototyping stage, with no committed team yet attached.

With the abrupt end of Spacebase DF-9 development still fresh in the mind, the last couple of months have been rough for Double Fine. But it’s not all bad news – Geoff Keighley’s Spike-free Game Awards’ nominations include Broken Age in the running for best indie game. What kind of hacks nominate an unfinished point and click adventure game for an award of any kind?

In other news, point and click Kickstarters continue to pull in the big bucks. Thimbleweed Park has more than three weeks on the clock and has already raised more than $350,000.

82 Comments

  1. P.Funk says:

    Grim Fandango Remastered… unaffected…

    What a relief. Don’t scare me like that!

  2. huldu says:

    The sooner they start using Denuvo DRM the better. It’s the cure everyone has been waiting for and finally the last nail in the coffin for pirating. I guess there is only one downside for publishers/game developers, no longer will they be able to blame poor sales on pirating.

    • mukuste says:

      It will be cracked in a couple of weeks, and I hope it dies the horrible death it deserves soon thereafter.

      • melnificent says:

        Fifa 15 says hi.

        Sky and Virgin Media were pretty easily cracked for years. Then the new encryption has not been cracked yet considering there is a lot of money for the first ones to do it there is a lot of focus on it at present.

        I hope Denuvo stands up for at least 6 months, let the piracy rates drop and lets see how the AAA devs cope when that isn’t an excuse any more.

      • robotslave says:

        Ah yes, if only these embarrassing games-releasers with their hopelessly gauche “pay us to consume the cultural experience that 40 human beings worked on for 2 years” notions would stop being so extra stupid and just give us the week of entertainment we deserve!

        Really, why can’t they just look at how easy it is to obtain Dragon Age Inquisition on the pirate sites right now, and learn their lesson?

        What littlebrains they are!

        • Epsz says:

          The problem is the intersection between people who would pirate game X and people who would buy it at 60 dollars is probably very small (disclaimer: this is all speculation, as there are no studies on the subject I know about). So when people can pirate your game, they are not going to buy it instead; they’ll do something else with their time. By preventing piracy, you haven’t gained sales, you simply lost exposure. So you are spending money on DRM, but you can’t prove it increases your revenue, and it’s possible that it actually harms you. But hey, no one is playing your game for free, so if the concept of that happening bothers you, then mission accomplished!

    • Humppakummitus says:

      Derp.

    • BisonHero says:

      Wow, that sure has no fucking relevance to this story whatsoever.

    • revan says:

      They say that for every new DRM. And that DRM gets cracked. Publishers will buy themselves a couple of weeks, maybe a month or two, but take it from someone with IT background, no protection is uncrackable. It’s always just a matter of time. What has been constructed can be deconstructed, no matter how complex the construction.

    • Emeraude says:

      There’s a weird schadenfreude from some people I really don’t understand in that whole denuvo development

    • Baines says:

      In related news, a Russian site claims that Denuvo DRM, at least as used in Dragon Age: Inquisition, may be causing damage to SSD drives. Truth? Or a weird attempt to turn the public against Denuvo?

  3. TightByte says:

    I really liked a comment made by gnodab (a poster on this very site!) back when Tim Schafer spoke out on ending Spacebase DF-9 development:

    “It is really sad. There aren’t many games which occupy a bigger part of my adventure gaming heart than Monkey Island and DotT…
    But I get the impression Tim Schafer is like this uncle you haven’t seen in ages, but he suddenly pops up at your parents and you have no idea why everybody seems so weary of him. You find him hilarious, he is witty, tells great stories and has this amazing ideas for new projects. Then some day you wake up and he’s gone. Turns out he robbed the place blind and hit the road to blow it all on coke and hookers. You are completely befuddled, but your parents just sigh and resolve that this time it really was the last time we let him in.”

    I love Double Fine’s entire catalog and have nothing but respect for Tim Schafer’s creative output, but it’s heartbreaking that the brave little video game development company who showed the world that it was possible to get games made through crowd funding (we probably still wouldn’t have had a Wasteland 2 if not for them), thus shaking off the publisher’s shackles, seems to be the one outfit where the lack of a publisher’s whipcracking brings disaster.

    Please, Double Fine, help us help you save you from yourself.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Heh, indeed.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      “It’s not to late to turn it all around, but you have to please, please get your shit together. You’re hurting people that love you, and you’re failing the people who depend on you!”

      Cut to twelve ex-Doublefine employees. The whole ‘Tim Schafer needs an intervention” was a lot funnier until I got to that point.

    • gnodab says:

      An intervention or some sort of oversight would be nice indeed. And I mean what would be the downside of having a publisher? That he’d force them to release unfinished products? or rehash old IPs?

      But all cynicism aside. I hope they get it together Grim Fandango and Broken Age guarantee them a relatively safe income and I hope they use it wisely. I am sure Tim and the talent-pool at Double Fine have some good games left in them, but I don’t see them succeeding in another kickstarter. I mean Tim can always choose to go down the Phil Fish route, but that would be a shame for everybody and especially for his employees.

      In the mean time I’ll go and be excited that Ron is going his own way and that his kickstarter seems comfortingly restrained.

    • barney says:

      This is a lovely and well-recounted analogy up until the point where a publisher pulling a major contract forcing layoffs as a result of the funding gap is equated to stealing money from relatives to spend on expensive drugs and prostitutes. The premise of the analogy is that we are naive children who don’t understand the terrible things adults get up to, but there’s no light shed on what it is exactly that we’re being naive about, so as much as it’s lyrical and amusing, I’d be careful not to take that poetic license for insight or credibility.

      • gnodab says:

        Well, in my defense, my original post belonged to an article about SBDF9. So no publisher involved.
        As for being naive, that’s just me and my relation to gaming, always oscillating between childlike glee and grumpy cynicism (and kickstarter is an easy way to compound this tenfold). That is why I love games.
        I also love the words well-recounted, lovely and lyrical and now feel a little warm inside. So thank you kind sir.

        And please never assume anything I (or anyone) posts in a comment section might be insightful or credible.

    • Emeraude says:

      Given the layoffs in that case happened *because* of a publisher canceling a project, I can’t really say how it is an argument in favor of Double Fine in any way needing the input of publishers.
      In that case, publishers haven’t helped them do any better.

      • Baines says:

        That depends on why the publisher cancelled the contract.

        If it was related to mismanagement on Double Fine’s part, then the fault falls back onto Double Fine for not fixing itself.

        After a point, there is nothing a publisher can do except say “No” and maybe hope that the developer cleans up its act before it goes under. (Of course this incident could instead be a case of a publisher just killing a project for whatever reason, and not actually be related to a fault on Double Fine’s part.)

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          Yes, but we don’t know if that was the case, or if the publisher had them work on something then suddenly decided it no longer fit their goals. (Remember that has happened a lot in the past, sometimes with games that had already been announced and had names.) It seems mean-spirited to assume the publisher was saving the world from a bad game by cutting its funding, even if it’s not an entirely unlikely proposition.

    • BisonHero says:

      OK, but in your (borrowed) analogy, he didn’t rob the place to buy hookers and blow, he asked for a bunch of money, people willingly gave it, and then Double Fine actually spent it on all the projects they’ve been talking about.
      This narrative where Double Fine asked for a bunch of Kickstarter money, and then “made off with it” onto a yacht with champagne, as if they didn’t try to use the money to make the best game with it they could, is so childish. You’re allowed to think they’re just not your cup of tea as far as game design competency, but it’s like people have no idea what the definitions of the word “scam” or “rob” are.
      They got as much money as they could for Spacebase DF-9 from their internal funds, made the best game they could using that money plus redirecting pretty much all of the Early Access sales revenue from Spacebase back into itself. And it turns out public interest in their type of Dwarf Fortress clone is low enough that it wasn’t turning a profit at all. So instead of cutting it off, what, should they have kept developing it for years, until they raised the quality enough that instead of appealing to 0.001% of Steam’s user base, it now appeals to 0.0011% of Steam’s userbase? Having now sunk probably a few million dollars into it that they’ll never recoup?

      • wyrm4701 says:

        Perhaps it’s best to just agree that DoubleFine has a recent history of some… difficulty managing both funds and expectations.

        • BisonHero says:

          That’s fair, in that people seemed to think DF-9 was going to be like Dwarf Fortress and have active development for nearly a decade, and I guess Double Fine didn’t do enough to dissuade people of that idea.

          That ongoing development works for Dwarf Fortress because I believe it’s pretty much two brothers doing it in their spare time, so the profits/donations are irrelevant at that point. As a commercial product made by a game studio, it’s expensive to keep even 2-3 salaried employees working on a super niche game like that. So frankly, I think they handled the funds for DF-9 reasonably well, given the circumstances. Development continued for as long as it could, but people just weren’t that interested in the game. No point developing a game for 3 years that only like 40,000 people are ever going to give a shit about.

          Now, managing the time and funds on Broken Age is a different matter. Ultimately the scope of what Tim designed exceeded the, what, 3 million they got from Kickstarter? But by diverting a bunch of Double Fine’s profits back into Broken Age they expanded the budget so they could actually complete the game as designed. If they’d only used the 3 million they initially raised, Broken Age would either have all the art and voice that we’ve seen but only be 90 minutes long, or it would be the current length of part 1 and 2, but have no voice acting, or way crappier art. I feel like the game would’ve made a much worse impression if the game content/length, art quality, or voice acting had been of a lower quality than what shipped. As it is, people are giving it kind of middling reactions because the game never clogs your inventory up with 15 items at a time, nor is the humour as wacky as the old Lucasarts stuff.

  4. zhivik says:

    Hiring staff for a single project seems to be something usual with smaller developers in recent years. It is hardly surprising, though, considering how publishers have tightened their budgets, while crowd funding is not the most reliable source of money. To be fair, this has been a standard practice in the US for theatrical and musical productions, not to mention cinema – staff is hired only for a single project, and then everyone goes to do something else.

    Maybe it will be interesting to write a longer piece about it, what do you think? Many have no idea how gaming development actually works, and I think it will be very entertaining and also educational to show how games are made. Double Fine itself opened the curtain quite a bit with its documentaries about the making of Broken Age. That documentary about World of Warcraft also shows some things, though not many, from what I gather, so I’d be interested to see how medium level and bigger studios work as well. I am aware that not anyone is eager to disclose internal information, but if you don’t mention particular names, I think it might work.

    • solidsquid says:

      Single project hiring is pretty common across the board for game development. The developers will have a small core team which they pad out when needed and then let go all but the core team when the project ends

      • LionsPhil says:

        Except for at Ubisoft Montreal, apparently, where the staff complain about being kept on between projects!

        Game developers are so self-entitled.

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          That’s how you interpreted people’s words about building 160? Please tell me you are laying down the japes here. :/

          • LionsPhil says:

            The “entitled” part is clearly flippant, but otherwise pretty much.

            What Ubisoft are offering there is a major perk in the rest of IT, and seems to be pretty much unheard-of job security for games development. And the employees whinge about this while squandering it.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            I’ve never been in a program like this, but having been between projects but still on the job at times, however briefly, if you don’t have any ‘real’ project to work on self-study does start to wear thin after a while, so I can sympathize. I’m not familiar with the inner workings of Ubi Montreal but according to one commenter on Gamasutra non-senior people are not allowed near tools development for example, so it’s not like you can always just start building stuff for other projects on your off time.

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            Grizzly says:

            @LionsPhill.

            The issue here is quite simply that being paid to go to a building to do exactly nothing is either
            a) The best kind of life for a lazy person
            b) The worst kind of life for someone who wants to work!

            And if you work in gamedev, you don’t work there for job security (otherwise you’d have picked another job) – you work there to develop games!

          • LionsPhil says:

            This is the thing though—they’re not being sent there to “not work”. The official management line Ubisoft gave was that it’s self-improvement itch-scratching time. It’s R&D, it’s skunkworks, it’s a chance to get some skilled people with no urgent product requirements to throw things at a wall and see what sticks.

            If you end up doing nothing, that’s not the employer’s fault. It’s your own lack of drive and discipline. And I’m not talking the horrible corruption of that that expects employees to be “passionate” about working 50 hours a week and sleeping under their desks; just finding a way to make yourself useful (and improving your own skills is completely legitimate, rewarding, and beneficial to your employer when you later do have a task) without having to be micromanaged like a schoolchild who immediately starts flicking rubber bands the moment the teacher leaves the room.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            @LionsPhil: As I pointed out above there are situations where skunkworks and self-initiated projects are made impossible because the employer does not accept such initiatives, which leaves only self-study and practice projects that will be thrown away after, which can be frustrating if that’s all you’re doing, especially when extended over an unclear amount of time.

            It’s certainly a luxury to have such job security, but you shouldn’t underestimate how demoralizing it can be when there is no purpose to your work other than practice… which brings us neatly back to how it feels when a project is cancelled and months if not years of work are thrown away and you have nothing to show for it except experience.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I was at an art show opening last night and bumped into some work-related friends. We’ve all been involved in stop-motion film and TV for the past few years. As it turned out, everyone was between projects at the moment. As we batted around the pros and cons of being out of work around the holidays, we joked about the slightly hungry, desperate look in everyone’s eye. Even though you’re happy to see a friend, there’s also an ulterior motive to the chatting. How quickly the conversation pivots to two people simultaneously asking each other “Soooooo… got any work?”

      It’s just a kind of life you get used to.

  5. Kollega says:

    I don’t care much for Double Fine’s current output, but damn, do I want them to port Iron Brigade to Steamworks so I can finally play it properly. There’s some evidence (Steam Achievements being listed for the game) that the work is or was being done on that front, but there’s zero information on if and when it will actually happen. And considering that Iron Brigade is a dieselpunk mecha action game, it’s probably number one on my list of “games that need to be ported to Steamworks”.

  6. melnificent says:

    Unannounced because they hadn’t got the kickstarter/early access scam up?

    I hope the affected people find jobs. It’s a tough climate out there at present.

    • Turkey says:

      The publisher pulled out.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Scam is the wrong word here. Stop using the wrong words.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      How can you type so nicely when you are so illiterate? Was it pure random chance that when you headbutted the keyboard those letters arranged just so? I don’t get it..

  7. solidsquid says:

    Is it just me, or has Double Fine done the same with the number of projects they’ve taken on as they did with the number of stretch goals they added to Broken Age? Before they ended DF-9 they must have been running what, 5-7 development projects at once? That seems an awful lot of projects, and a hell of a lot of risk, for a small indie development company

    • Kasper says:

      Or you could see it as spreading the risk. If one project flops financially, the other projects still have the chance to be succesful and pick up the slack. Plus it’s more efficient and flexible, from a manpower point of view, for a game developer to have multiple overlapping projects

    • Yachmenev says:

      Well, you need projects to keep people employed.

      And since they have had to (and maybe wanted) to change their focus, from one single publisher funded project at a time, to several smaller projects instead, they have lowered their risk, which means that instead of having to let most people when things like this happened, they “only” have to let a smaller part of the workforce go.

      • eggy toast says:

        Well (and of course we only found this out much much later) but DF9 had two people on the project, part time while they worked on other projects. So it wasn’t a huge drain in that respect.

  8. Jade Raven says:

    Sometimes when I read RPS I feel like everyones name ends in Smith.

  9. Oakreef says:

    Should be Doubleplus Ungood.

  10. heyhellowhatsnew says:

    Good. Next time don’t lie and do shit jobs.

    Don’t feel sorry for them because they make games. You’d have pitchforks if it was your bank. Your best pal in the world Tim Schafer will still have money and a job though, so don’t worry too much!

    • Yachmenev says:

      Don’t be a hater.

    • eggy toast says:

      Yep.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      heyhellowhatsnew, I’d pity you, but you don’t even deserve that much.

    • Niko says:

      Sweet consumer tears.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      @heyhellowhatsnew: This crap is what gives the games community a bad name. If you’re wondering why the word “entitled” gets thrown around to describe gamers… it’s because petulant little children like you go into a rage anytime they don’t get exactly what they want when they want it, shooting their mouth off about things they don’t half understand.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      What part of “the publisher backed out” do you not understand?

    • BisonHero says:

      OK, except banks and game developers are not comparable in any meaningful way. Giving money to a Kickstarter or Early Access game is not an investment, and if you think it is, you’re an idiot.
      Games are a creative endeavour; they are not an engineering project that HAS to succeed if properly planned. Maybe the game design just doesn’t work as the game gets more completed and people play it and it just doesn’t come together. Maybe some game ideas are so niche that for business reasons, the only people who can ever develop them are 1-2 man teams who work on it in their spare time and make almost no money from it. They are valid reasons that game projects just fail and never come out, or they almost come out but they run the business numbers and the project is never going to turn a profit so they don’t even bother releasing the game.

  11. eggy toast says:

    Personally I’m glad to see that with each news article fewer people are white knighting for Double Fine. At this point I honestly think there is 0 room to act as if the studio is capable of finishing a project on their own, and further I think the studio *should* go under, so that the talented people get get jobs elsewhere on projects run well enough to finish.

    • Niko says:

      Does “white knighting for Double Fine” mean “defending Double Fine in hope of having sex with this company”?

      • danielfath says:

        No. That would be ridiculous.

        Just sex with Tim Schafer.

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        If I believe some chap on Reddit it means you have a strong paternal instinct and think Double Fine is so powerless that it needs you to protect it like a strong manly man, and he added I was a sexist.

      • BisonHero says:

        It’s sad that when it comes to internet discourse, if you defend anyone’s position other than your own, of course you must be irrationally “white knighting” for them, and of course you don’t believe that their position is defensible. Nope, Double Fine obviously has done wrong, and anyone who defends them is blinded by nostalgia for Tim’s earlier games.
        I’m sure it was not an easy decision for Double Fine to lay people off when they couldn’t find a new project to transfer them to because the publisher suddenly pulled out. I’m sure it was not an easy decision to just say “Spacebase DF-9 is never going to turn a profit, so we have to just ship what we’ve got or else we’ll gradually bankrupt the company assigning people’s salaries to this fruitless project”. I mean, publishers set hard release dates all the time and say “Fuck it, ship what you’ve got”, and that’s how you get uninspired glitchfests like AC: Unity, or games where clearly the story was cut and they never had time to re-implement it like Destiny. That’s the reality of game development, that at some point the budget runs out and that’s it for the project.

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          It’s a pretty crafty bit of sophistry, really, this ‘white knighting’ business.

          It tries to cast someone as being a patronising defender of your opponent, and a disingenuous one at that who is only doing so to curry favour, or because of fanboyism or some other emotional blinders, as opposed to just somebody who also disagrees with your position.

    • Yachmenev says:

      “At this point I honestly think there is 0 room to act as if the studio is capable of finishing a project on their own”

      Except:
      *Hack&Slash was finished according to plan.
      *Broken Age Act 2 is making good progress and will be done pretty soon. Se doc and production updates for source.
      *Massive Chalice show no signs of any delays or production problems.
      *There are no signs of any issues with Grim Fandango Remastered.

      And you still want all of their employees to loose their jobs, and maybe have to relocate their families because of it?

      • Janichsan says:

        I’d like to add Costume Quest 2 to that list.

      • Bull0 says:

        Note, Eggy Toast, as with so many like him, doesn’t bother responding to this. Not here for a conversation; just to be objectionable.

    • Fiyenyaa says:

      I’m as disappointed with Space Base DF-9 as anyone – especially as a big fan both of space and Dwarf Fortress – but I think to say that the studio deserves to die because of that is a really unkind thing to say, and certainly an overreaction.

    • Dezmiatu says:

      I would rather curse the company with competent accountants who smack Tim’s nose with a rolled-up strategy guide every time his ambitions overshoot his schedule and budget.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      What an asshole. You can tell, by the way, from how you use the term “white knight” to describe anything at all ever. Just FYI. Helpful tip for the future.

  12. sophof says:

    Hiring staff per project is stupid and damaging. There’s literally no other software business that does this besides gaming and somehow they keep insisting it is a thing. Such a hiring/firing cycle is brutal and is extremely damaging to their products, I am baffled no one figured this out already (with the exception of Valve it seems).
    They may think their games are their valuable assets, but in fact it is their employees. The fact that they can receive a bajillion kickstarter moneys on Schafer’s name alone should clue them in to that you’d think.

    • barney says:

      Can you tell me what experience or insight lies behind the statement

      There’s literally no other software business that does this besides gaming and somehow they keep insisting it is a thing.

      ?

      I’ve worked as a designer and then as a web developer for independent graphic design agencies, multinational telecoms companies, charities, a publicly-funded national museum, R&D departments for tech conglomerates, and a whole slew of others over the course of an 8 year career. Even in the UK, where workers’ rights are far more respected than in the US by all accounts, this happens all the time, for agencies big and small.

      It is especially easy to see how “it is a thing” given the simple economics of a small specialist agency: Likely 80% or more of their revenue will go straight back into staffing costs. In order to be able to survive quiet periods where there is no continuous large stream of funding, you need to undertake significant projects that promise more budget than your combined turnover without them. In order to be able to do this, you must be able to deliver at speed that exceeds skeleton staff, and hire staff with the hope that you will be able to garner new contracts that will budget for that staff to stay on while this current project takes place over the course of months or years. A large contract such as this falling through is a sad and unforeseen (but frequent, especially in fast-moving industries like consumer media) phenomenon that means you will have to loose staff or file for bankruptcy. Loosing staff – usually under pre-agreed contractual clauses allowing for such eventualities – is preferable since it allows you to fulfil other contracts, try and get new ones, and remain an employer for longer.

    • Premium User Badge

      samsharp99 says:

      Getting software contractors is very common in a lot of industries. I guess the only thing that I find strange is that it seems like they are employed as permanent employees rather than as contractors. You hire some contractors when you have more work to do than your employees can handle and then they leave when the contract expires or you extend the contract.

      I guess the only difference is that you have to pay contractors a lot of money whereas employees are cheaper – which makes the whole thing kind of unfair on those involved.

    • Merlin the tuna says:

      Hi, I’m an IT consultant that gets hired for per-project work with huge commercial and governmental organizations around the world. We have literally hundreds of thousands of employees and are not the only firm of such size operating in the US.

      I assure you that the practice, while far from perfect, is extremely common across just about every industry that involves a computer.

  13. barney says:

    RPS needs a stronger editorial policy on covering business news like this. The audience only gets this kind of info from sources like this, and yet typically the source are ill-equipped to give any kind of frame of reference.

    The reaction, as the many of these comments indicate, is largely that of the confused moral outrage of someone given some piece of information they assume must be important, without the necessary framework with which to make sense of it.

    By posting tidbits like this without couching them in context, you are fostering a culture of children who believe they understand the social economics of the video games industry because the papers they read purport to report on them, but the closest to a mental model they can conceive of is an industry that is ratcheting out Kickstarters with one hand and making developers destitute with the other.

    RPS doesn’t do exclusives, nor should it waste its modest funds by trying to compete with the tabloid games press in sending people out to sit like ducks at industry events we’ll get marketed from official sources anyway, but while RPS often stands proud in its honest journalism and progressive editorial stance, the limited resources available need not constrain it exclusively to personalised news reposts and observational essays. You can and should do more to elucidate and educate in matters like these if you’re going to report on them consistently.

  14. DanMan says:

    Double Fine is overrated. There. I’ve said it. Bring the torches!

  15. AugustSnow says:

    Unless you think Schafer is lying, which I don’t, the announcement doesn’t necessarily mean that they hired people per project. It could be that they had some deal with a publisher for X months of development, and they hired (or even assigned existing staff) accordingly, thinking that a few months before X they’ll start planning what those people will do when the project ends. Maybe they even have some long term plans ready. Then the project gets cancelled unexpectedly on short notice, and they’re stuck with too many people. They manage to find jobs for some, but 12 people are left.
    That said, I’m surprised RPS didn’t include the usual “if someone wants to anonymously tell us more email us”. I believe DF has solid HR practices even if their business decisions aren’t perfect, but if something in the way they treat employees is off I’m relying on places like RPS to discover it.

  16. Stellar Duck says:

    Wait what?

    Part two of Broken Age isn’t out yet? And they just finished the bloody script?

    What on earth have they been doing for all these years?!

    • Yachmenev says:

      Sheez, hold on to your panties and calm down will ya ;). Their on the final stretch with the development now, and are aiming for a jan release of act 2.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I guess I just assumed they were long done, considering how long ago the Kickstarter was. I haven’t been following the game as it’s not really my thing and because I generally don’t fancy the games DF makes these days. Last I heard it was to be split in two and then released.

        I suppose I assumed that meant that the two parts would be released close to each other. And I most certainly assumed the script was actually done.

        I mean, that was a long time ago I read that news.

  17. Shardz says:

    I wonder if they miss Perfect World yet…

  18. geldonyetich says:

    I’m not surprised, Double Fine has been circling the drain for awhile now. I’m not sure where most of their Kickstarter money went, but I’m willing to bet it was less game development and more excess.

    It’s a shame. A couple years ago I would have told you Double Fine is my favorite game company, one of the last, best hopes on the PC development front. But lately it’s just been one epic snafu after another.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      ” I’m not sure where most of their Kickstarter money went, but I’m willing to bet it was less game development and more excess.”
      Read, my armchair game developer friend. Read, and be enlightened:
      link to twitter.com

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        Yep it seems they’re just incompetent at money management rather than partying it up. My suspicion is that what DF really needs is a good accountant who can tell Schafer ‘no’ when he needs to.

      • geldonyetich says:

        When I said “less game development and more excess,” was thinking along the lines of making a more expensive game than they could afford than I was partying. Indy development has somewhat established that you don’t need to run a game development company like an industrial one.

  19. DrManhatten says:

    Nice to see Ron Gilbert back, but get real 350k for a game that looks like it has production values of at best 35k? Where does all that money go? That is just an insane rip-off. It takes them 18 months to do something that a 10 year old could do in AGS?????