Aaaaaages: Broken Age Act 2 Delayed Till Early 2015

Broken Age has long blown past its originally projected release date, but the documentary series available to backers continues to be a regular and excellent thing. Each episode goes into the development process in great detail – and in doing so, telegraphs news like this long in advance: Act 2 of the adventure game has slipped from the end of the year and into early next.

A post on the Double Fine forum says that the team has grown, playtesting feedback has been positive, but that they “just gotta give the game the time it needs” to get it finished. The new timeline means they’re aiming to hit alpha on the project before the end of the year, and the game is apparently “well on it’s way towards Beta”, which is the stage at which Kickstarter backers can help with testing.

There’s also good news for those who found the Act 1 short, as that playtimes during testing of Act 2 “have ranged from 8-12 hours”. That’s at least double the playtime of Act 1, if John’s experience are any measure.

Double Fine Adventure was one of the earliest games to hit it big on Kickstarter and the project ballooned in the wake of its success. That partly accounts for why it long ago missed the estimated delivery date of October 2012. The other reason – as made clear through the now hours-long documentary series – is that the design of the game has been ‘felt out’ as development has gone along. Iteration is a great way to make games better, but not necessarily a great way to hit deadlines or manage projects. It’s terrifying and fascinating to watch Tim Schafer and the Double Fine team walk a tightrope while at the same time braiding the rope only a step in front of them. Even if you don’t care about the game, watch the episodes whenever you can.

90 Comments

  1. eggy toast says:

    Hahahahahahahahaha

    I don’t know how DoubleFine even has defenders, at this point. I’m just glad I was finally able to trade my copy of Hack N Slash away for a couple bucks, after months of trying.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      Do you literally spend all day waiting for Double Fine articles to spew bile over? Time to find a new hobby.

      • Chalky says:

        Some people seem to get inexplicably distraught when video game developers fail to meet their expectations. I guess it boils down to being unable to hold the thoughts “these guys have made some good games” and “these guys did a bad job with a game I liked” in their heads at the same time. Evidently there is no solution to this dilemma besides shitposting at every opportunity.

        If they never made a good game nobody would care, but they made the mistake of making a bunch of good stuff before they slipped up on a few projects. What fools!

    • ecbremner says:

      How it has defenders? I can tell you… because they make great games. As a business they are admittedly a hot mess… but as game developers they still are absolutely at the upper echelon of truly creative and worthwhile game developers. DFA part one was awesome. Im willing to wait for part 2 because I want them to do it right.

      • welverin says:

        I’m willing to wait because it means more documentary!

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          Anyone who backed knows the documentary is the real treat, the game is just a small bonus needed to contextualize it.

    • draglikepull says:

      Games get delayed all the time. AAA games, indie games, and everything in between. I don’t know where this weird thing comes from where people act like only Double Fine has ever released a game later than they originally intended to. It sounds more like a grudge against the studio than a reasoned view about how the development of games actually works.

      • Gap Gen says:

        And again, I’m gonna say that Kickstarter is a double-edged sword for developers and players, and in an ideal world you’d just release a finished product when it’s done without gathering an army of people who feel entitled to certain things.

        • All is Well says:

          Nonsense, I deserve the game I imagined they’d make off their (not entirely clear) statement of project goals. I mean, I gave them five dollars, so you can clearly see they’re indebted to me.

          • almondblight says:

            I’ve followed Kickstarters for a variety of different products. I’d say that video games are the only category I’ve seen where consumers are so submissive that they complain when other consumers want a company to fulfill its obligations. They’re also the only category where the press defends the failure to fulfill an obligation with a shrug of the shoulders. Not sure where this Stockholm Syndrome comes from, but it doesn’t surprise me that video game consumers are treated relatively poorly when so many of those consumer seem to be opposed to be treated well.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I’d be interested to see a variety of case studies for this. My guess is that videogames are harder to project in terms of design than other projects, since they’re a difficult mix of technical issues and creativity such that it’s hard to tell in advance exactly what will be a good game unless you’re making a pretty much straight clone of something (and even then). As I’ve said, I’m not blaming backers (note: not consumers) for anything, but that it’s hard to promise anything at an early stage of game design without realising that you might have a better product if you change one or two of those things later in the development process. This can be as extreme as Blizzard’s recent cancelling of an entire product and (perhaps) re-using its assets for something else.

          • almondblight says:

            I think it’s the opposite, actually. For video games, even if you run out of money, you could probably produce something in your free time. If you have a physical project like a board game and it turns out something changes with your manufacturer, or the original run has problems, etc., you can easily get into a situation where you don’t have enough money to fulfill pledges. Look at how video game Kickstarters that have been able to deliver on the game have often had trouble with physical rewards.

            As for responses, as far as I know there hasn’t been any legal action against a video game Kickstarter the way there has been against the creators of ZionEyez or The Doom that Came to Atlantic City. The press and community didn’t just shrug their shoulders and say “that’s what you get” they way gaming media has done with some big name failures, but were actually supportive of consumer rights.

            Anyway, I’ve probably backed at least a dozen video games on Kickstarter, and have been happy with all of them. But that’s part of what makes me wonder why we give a pass to the projects that screw up.

          • tomimt says:

            Games have always been ridden with visionary people, like Peter Molyneux for an example, who give visions of heavens and earth only to run short because of the lack of technology, budget, time, or what ever reason. I think gamers are, most of the time, accustomed to that companies do fail to deliver on their sales speeches, sometimes even very badly.

            Does that make it okay? I don’t know. Can a game concept and executed result be compared to some easier to grasp concept, like a car? I mean if a KS projecy would promise you are car with 4 seats and a V8 engine, but would deliver only a car with 3 seats and a two cylinder moped engine, would that really be okay?

            I’ve noticed, that very often game KS project do tend to paint a bit rosier picture of what they’re going to do than what the end result is. Even games that are very well received can be lacking on features that were promised, but that were found to be too difficult or time consuming to create. Some people are fine with that, some other people are not. Sometimes a huge shit storm rises from it (like the Elite no off-line mess), sometimes people just shrug and say, fine.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            @almondblight: This attitude right here is the problem. This idea that there should be an antagonistic relationship between the people who make games and the people who play games is toxic bullshit and 90% of the reason behind the worst ugliness in the games community of late – “Stockholm Syndrome”, gamers = hostages… *seriously?* – Game developers create ENTERTAINMENT. They pour their heart into and often work themselves nearly to death to create something amazing for you to enjoy. And however vehemently some may dispute this, games are also a medium of *artistic expression*. What they are NOT is widgets with objectively measurable properties that must be met with indignant consumer rage in the event that the ‘product’ does not exactly conform to your precise and non-negotiable specifications.

            There are situations in crowdfunding where developers unwisely make promises they cannot keep or where designs change for different (often good) reasons and sometimes people are understandably upset. [Crowdfunded] devs do have an obligation to deliver on what they promise, but making games is not an exact science [or an a la carte menu] and we need to stop pretending it is.

          • almondblight says:

            @Ninja Dodo
            Expecting that developers respect their obligations is “toxic bullshit” and an “antagonistic relationship”? Sorry, I think you’ve proved my point. I can’t think of other products where consumer rights are painted in such a negative manner. If your lasagna takes three hours to make, comes out cold and you ask for your money back, other restaurant goers don’t start yelling about how entitled you are or talking about how cooking is an artistic expression so you have to accept whatever is thrown in front of you (or sometimes, nothing at all).

            @tomimt
            Other than release dates (I’ve only seen a few Kickstarters meet those), I’d say that there are many projects that have delivered what was expected. There are even a few that had some issues that worked out a way to satisfy backers anyway (Shadowrun Returns with eventually bringing DRM free versions to all, Kult with refunding any backer who wanted one, etc.). Which is why I’m not prepared to give projects like Elite or Clang a pass.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            When was the last time you saw someone who just watched a film or read a book complain about consumer rights?

            @almondblight: And yes, comparing the relationship between game developers and players with a hostage situation, where the developers are the hostage-takers, is absolutely toxic bullshit.

          • almondblight says:

            @Ninja Dodo
            You seem to be unaware of this, but that phrase has been used in modern times to describe more than hostage situations. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal it’s mostly used to describe other situations now.

            RE: Novels – again, a quick google search reveals instances of people suing (such as with Frey’s novel) or demanding refunds (Amazon policy allows refunds for those dissatisfied with novels). Not sure if the facts will change your mind, or if your statement was merely made to further your argument, and will be discarded as soon as it proves to be inconvenient.

          • All is Well says:

            To all of you: I’m glad my facetious comment inspired a less facetious argument.
            As it stands, I think we’re arguing about consumer attitudes and whether they’re justified.
            In regards to this: almondblight, I think you’re mistakenly framing this as a consumer rights problem. As Gap Gen pointed out, backers are not consumers, as consumers are persons who purchase a product or service for private, non-commercial use. Backing a project is more akin to an investment contract or commissioning a painting but does not equate to this either. As such, I think we should be careful not to force Kickstarter agreements into any existing legal categories (that is, specific legal categories – I wouldn’t suggest we can’t call a Kickstarter agreement an agreement in the legal sense) without some closer consideration.

            Backing a Kickstarter does entail a contract though, and as such each party has obligations. What I feel is at issue, and what I was commenting on originally, is that backers will complain not only when contractual obligations are breached (I would have absolutely no issue with that) but when the end product fails to live up to the backers’ expectations, which isn’t the same as not living up to obligations. To use your lasagna analogy, it’s much less a case of ordering a serving than it is paying to have a new type of lasagna invented and put into production. You are never paying for a specific, well known entity, the production of which is more or less a matter of routine, but rather paying someone to undertake a new endeavor, resulting in an only partially defined product. It is a lot less agreeable to be upset at the latter not being to your liking than it would be for the former, as the former is more or less a given – we know what it is and expect new iterations to be similar to the old ones. The new lasagna, on the other hand, is an unknown and it would be unfair to expect it to be in certain ways (unless it was explicitly promised that it would be).

            I’m going to stop now as this lasagna business has left me more confused than when I started.

          • almondblight says:

            @All is Well
            I should point out that (at least in the US), tax law treats (most) money raised on Kickstarter as income, not gifts, and it seems that projects also need to pay sales tax. So legally, it seems to be considered a sale more than anything else (even if that isn’t entirely clear cut).

            As for people complaining – I guess we’d have to look at specific examples. Some people want money back because they were told they’d get something they didn’t, some are merely voicing disappointment and moving on, some are asking for money back just because they didn’t enjoy the game – which for some projects was the game that was expected, and for some wasn’t.

            Naturally these are all different cases, but I think (and Kickstarter does as well) that there is some obligation to reasonably satisfy backers.

            I think the lasagna analogy is a decent one. Every restaurant will have there own version, so you don’t know what you’ll get. However, most people think there are certain minimum requirements an establishment needs to fulfill, even if you aren’t completely satisfied with the final outcome.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            @almondblight:

            A few people getting a refund on a book is not comparable to the non-stop rage that dominates gamer forums.

            >that phrase has been used in modern times to describe more than hostage situations.

            link to en.wikipedia.org

            Even if your definition were accurate, you would still be describing a situation in which group A (the developers) seek to harm group B and C (the players) where group B is inexplicably defending A while group C (the self-styled ‘defenders of consumer rights’) attack A. This is a load of crap.

            It is the definition of antagonistic and this attitude of treating developers as “the enemy” needs to stop.

          • All is Well says:

            @almondblight
            Even if it’s not entirely relevant, I’m interested in the first point you bring up, regarding taxation. In my experience (entirely in a Swedish context), taxation law has little say in defining contracts and what obligations they entail, as these are decided on the basis of contract law. In other words, they are separate systems and what is by taxation law defined as a gift is not therefore to be seen as a gifting contract in contract law. So, for instance, if taxation law says “If a house is sold for profit you have to pay 30% of that profit” you shouldn’t look to contract law for defining what exactly constitutes “selling a house”. Is this different in the US? I know embarrassingly little about even such fundamental issues as this in other law systems.

            Regarding the real topic, I think you hit the head on the nail by “reasonably satisfying backers”. I think what we’re disagreeing on is what is reasonable to expect from a Kickstarter project. I think that due to the nature of kickstarting, any higher expectations than what is strictly promised quickly become unreasonable, whereas you seem to be more allowing in regards to what is reasonable. As you say it’s all very much determined by the specific circumstances in any given case, so I think it might be best to agree to disagree on this, more general, discussion :)

          • almondblight says:

            @All is Well
            At least from my understanding (and reading up a bit on this because of our conversations) – you only pay income or sales tax if there is an exchange of goods or services. I don’t know of any situation where one part of the law would be arguing that there was an exchange of goods, and another would be arguing that it was only a gift. My understanding is that it would either have to be one or the other (though naturally, the obligations of the exchange wouldn’t be dictated by tax law).

            Well, that’s at least for goods sold at what is considered a reasonable value. For something like, say, an autographed copy of a book for backers who pay and extra $1,000, my understanding is that the amount of money beyond the value of the good can be considered a gift (uncompensated money).

            Are you saying that in Sweden something can be considered both entirely a sale and entirely a gift at the same time by two different parts of the law? One of the interesting parts of Kickstarter is that it can be legally rather murky in an individual country, but things get much more complicated when you consider the fact that they’re operating in many different legal jurisdictions.

            As for the final part of your post, yes, we’ll just have to agree to disagree (or maybe not even agree to that – it’s quite possible we agree about individual situations). Another thing to keep in mind is the difference between what’s legal and what’s ethical. I’ve noticed numerous Kickstarters that didn’t feel like they were legally obligated to, say, give refunds to unhappy customers, but did so because they felt it was the ethical thing to do. Again, I’ve Kickstarted numerous games (just counted – 20 on Kickstarter alone) and have been happy with all of them. But I’ve also seen a number of situations where I think the consumers have every right to start yelling (Clang, Yogventures, Elite, Confederate Express).

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            Kickstarter is very clearly a sale under contract law in the common law countries; you have a project making a range of offers in the form of their rewards, acceptance from the backers and an exchange of consideration. People get hung up on the ‘investment’ thing – but Kickstarter is very explicitly not an investment, largely because the Kickstarter people don’t want to go to jail for securities fraud. (its not a donation either, there’s rules for those too)

            I agree with almond, there seem to be an awful lot of game fans whose only complaint is that the devs didn’t walk through enough mud to give them something to lick off their boots. Kickstarter’s a great idea, but developers shouldn’t make promises they can’t keep if they can’t be honest on their own they should go back to working for publishers who will keep them honest.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            almondblight:

            While I fundamentally disagree with both the tone and breadth of what you consider justified gamer outrage, and your assumption that anyone whose opinion differs from yours must have been somehow misled (“stockholm syndrome”), I will note again that I do agree that crowdfunding devs do need to make good on their promises, and if for whatever reason they cannot they should offer a refund or find some other way to make up for it.

            However, there is a distinction to be made between campaigns that are fundamentally dishonest (Confederate Express), campaigns that try but completely fail to deliver (Yogsventures), campaigns that by and large deliver but go back on one or more promises (Elite) and campaigns that are delayed but remain on track to deliver (most campaigns).

            Some are prone to shouting “SCAM!” at the slightest change of plan. The first is the only category where that is actually appropriate.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Yep. There sure are a lot of angry children on the internet who don’t understand game development.

        @Gap Gen: Maybe in a year or two crowdfunding will have stabilized to a point where only people who are interested in and have the patience for how games are actually made, or who just want to support something cool will keep funding projects while the rest who don’t care wait for reviews. There will be less money, but also less shouting.

        Meanwhile devs will probably have gotten a bit better at communicating the process as well. Double Fine and 2Player are pioneers in that regard.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Yeah, Octodad used Kickstarter pretty early, but Double Fine were the first big-name people. I think you’re right that it’s a two-way process; developers have to be very careful about how they communicate their goals, and backers have to have reasonable expectations going in. It’s still a valuable resource, but one that does constrain you if you promise a lot of things and devote a lot of time to material rewards like tshirts or whatever.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            Yeah, I meant more pioneers in transparent development as a mid-sized studio. Outside of indie devlogs, there was never anything like the DFA documentary.

            I think Double Fine both got a lot of things right and made a few mistakes. There was an interesting talk by Lee Petty recently that touched on some of that stuff: link to youtube.com

    • yonsito says:

      Me, for instance.

    • ravencheek says:

      Agree wholeheartedly, doublefines business practive has been VERY dubious pretty much since Psychonauts.
      Why so many people love Tim Schaeffer I will never know.

      I mean look at Massive Challice, that was kickstarered with nothing but the concept art and the promise of an idea, of a dream of a drawing on a napkin, someone once imagined. But still gathered WAY more than I expected for a kickstarter campaign which had zero proof of concept.

      • Yachmenev says:

        Well, it’s one thing to demand more from the pitches, but the game they released to early access just now matches their pitch, and is a pretty complete game already, so if you want to question their practices, you might want to use a better example then a kickstarter that succeeds in delivering.

    • Philomelle says:

      My gaming backlog for December is 20 games. My Steam library is 1,821 games, with GOG providing another library of 300 or so games, and then my console-exclusive backlog is so behind that I’m still in the PS2/DS/PSP era.

      If I spent my time on whining about one game that didn’t come out yet, I wouldn’t have the time to beat the 2,500 I already own.

      Seriously, where is the problem? So long as Double Fine deliver the good game I backed on Kickstarter eventually, I’m perfectly fine passing the time by playing all the other things I already have access to.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Oh that’s easy, they make great games! I would be happy to explain more in detail if you remain confused?

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      As others have said, I’m not sure if 2014 ever was a definite release date. Schafer wanted to get it done by the end of the year to have it eligible for various awards (It’s harder for a game released early in the year to get noticed in those.) but any time the 2014 release date has been mentioned (at least in the excellent documentary), it’s been sort of “hopefully, maybe, but probably not”.

      And taking the extra time to make sure it’s great is a good thing from my point of view. Some studios may (and have) throw a buggy mess out the door to meet a deadline, but I’d rather wait a little longer. For me as a player of the game, the wait is only positive. Double Fine are the ones who have something to lose by it, as every week spent working on the game is costing them money for salaries. I lose nothing.

  2. Yachmenev says:

    Well RPS, I guess you know what you start in the comment fields with a subject like that. Now let’s watch everyone go into “OMG Double Fine suxx0r” frenzy for no good reason. :P

    It’s a bit unneccesary to still use the oct 2012 release date, since that was scrapped just a few days into the kickstarter.

    • KestrelPi says:

      Also I don’t think it’s really accurate to say the design of the game has been more ‘felt out’ than any other similar project.

      It was actually pretty early on that DF decided to seek extra funding because the vision they had for the game was bigger even the 3.3 million (actually effectively 2.5 when you take out fees/rewards). They had several rounds of self-funding before deciding on the Act 1-Act 2 approach in July 2013.

      In July 2013 they said that Act 1 would be released in January (and it was) and that Act 2 would probably be mid year. However quite faster after that it became apparent it would take longer, so they re-adjusted to aim for the end of the year (which was formally talked about in the documentary in July this year, but informally talked about quite often before hand).

      In the last couple of months backers have been made aware that they were still aiming for the end of the year but it could slip to early 2015. Now that’s been confirmed.

      So, in summary, Broken Age has met every firm deadline it ever set for itself except for Act 2 being out this year, which it’s going to miss – just slightly, by the looks of it.

      Seems pretty mundane to me, the only odd bit is that the ways this game has been funded (a mixture of Kickstarter, Double Fine’s own income from sales of other titles etc, and a bit of Act 1 sales) has given them the latitude to work longer, instead of making cuts that they didn’t want to make. Which we’re now seeing in this seemingly significantly longer second Act.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        “Also I don’t think it’s really accurate to say the design of the game has been more ‘felt out’ than any other similar project.”

        Except that is 100% accurate. The Double Fine Adventure wasn’t Broken Age or even Reds until after Tim found out what the original budget was. Thimbleweed Park, in contrast has been pitched knowing what the plot and characters are ahead of time, with some wiggle room if some of the puzzles/scenes need to be fixed. It’s two completely different ways of approaching design. (I’m not saying one’s good and one’s bad, but they are objectively different.)

        • KestrelPi says:

          Ah, I think you’re conflating 2 things here. First is the Kickstarter project which did indeed run from before thee was even an idea beyond adventure game, deliberately.

          Which means that pre-production was always a major part of the funding. So in that sense yes, it was more felt-out. But the actual development of the game was scoped, went through scope changes and had deadlines some of which were hit and others not, much like any other game (except that the funding allowed them to extend development in ways that wouldn’t ordinarily be possible.) So in that sense it wasn’t really felt-out.

  3. rustybroomhandle says:

    There was a deadline?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Every year Broken Age is delayed Tim Schafer has to kill another developer and post their head atop a pike in front of the offices as a warning to the others.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Not really, they aimed for the end of the year, but it wasn’t a confirmed date.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        That’s what I thought. And, ya know, I’d rather have a delayed release than on time with faceless character models.

      • KestrelPi says:

        Ah, I missed this post. Yes, I summarised the history of Broken Age deadlines above a bit, in your other post.

    • Sucram says:

      In the last documentary episode they talked about trying to get the game out before the end of the year so they could get holiday sales and be eligible for GOTY awards.

      Also in the episode it was obvious that the game was never going to come out this year as it’d require everything to be finished ahead of schedule, which has never happened in the history of software development.

    • melnificent says:

      Of course they have a deadline. October 2012.

      But like all things Double Fine it was written on water while drunk.

      • Yachmenev says:

        Nope, October 2012 wasn’t the deadline. You’re mistaken.

  4. David Bliff says:

    Maybe I’m showing my ignorance as someone who doesn’t care about the genre, but why would Kickstarter backers want to play a beta of a point-and-click adventure game? Doesn’t that just spoil the final product? How much draw can there be to replay these, particularly since the first one was regarded as pretty shallow?

    • sirdavies says:

      where was it regarded as shallow?

      • David Bliff says:

        Eurogamer said it lacked depth, for one. I remember plenty of youtubers saying much the same thing – it’s fun but short and there’s no depth to it/it’s too easy.

  5. Shazbut says:

    I figured it wouldn’t appear until at least mid 2015 so this is a pleasant surprise. Last I heard, they’d only just finished writing it

    • Xocrates says:

      “Finished writing” means every line of dialog is finalised. In practice they probably had the overall plot, plot points, events, characters, and other general tidbits much longer ago.

  6. ix says:

    Iterating over the design is great for the game of course, but there is something to be said for capping the number of iterations. Good to know they’re still committed to quality on some titles, though.

  7. Michael Fogg says:

    They’re busy working on the surprise RTS mode

  8. XhomeB says:

    Fun fact: The Journey Down is pretty much THE kind of LucasArts-esque adventure game people backing Double Fine’s adventure wanted and expected, and it was made by a different studio on a shoestring budget with no Kickstarter support.
    Broken Age is NOT what people paid for. Not a bad game, but art style-wise, gameplay-wise it… completely misses the mark. It feels and plays modern in all the wrong ways. Tim Schafer once said he wanted to make a game his daughter would enjoy. Well, too bad nowhere on the Kickstarter page does it say “GIVE ME THE MONEY SO I CAN CREATE A GAME SPECIFICALLY FOR MY DAUGHTER”.

    • Emeraude says:

      Thanks for the heads up, liking what I’m seeing.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Well, it might not be what you paid, but I’m not quite certain you have the mandate to speak for everyone.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Nor do you.

        • Lars Westergren says:

          The difference is, Yachmenev didn’t claim to.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Neither did XhomeB.

          • All is Well says:

            @SkittleDiddler
            Well, they did say “Broken Age is NOT what people paid for”. So while they technically weren’t speaking for everyone ever, they were proposing that nobody who backed DFA wanted the final game that is Broken Age. I think that’s what Yachmenev was commenting on: that XhomeB shouldn’t make assumptions about what what backers in general wanted.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @All is Well: Maybe, maybe not. All I see when this topic (DF) comes up is fanboys and haters getting all pissy at each other over stupid shit that game publishers normally get away with day in and day out. The amount of gloating and white-knighting over DoubleFine’s problems is pathetic, and should be called out.

          • Yachmenev says:

            @SkittleDiddler: You’re not scoring any points at all in the discussion by using the terms fanboys and white knightning.

    • almondblight says:

      Thanks; that does look pretty good. There’ve been a number of promising “old-school” adventures in recent years (Wadjet Eye games – I really enjoyed Primordia, Quest for Infamy, Heroines Quest, etc.) and some promising newer adventure games (I liked what I played of the Stasis demo).

  9. Emeraude says:

    They can take their time as long as they deliver.

    That’s the big caveat as far as I’m concerned. I can wait.

    They have a huge hole to fill for all that wait (nothing Freudian).

  10. eggy toast says:

    Scrolling past all the people who are deluded enough to give DoubleFine money, again, is honestly the most heartwarming thing so far this holiday season.

    The world will always be full of joy, as long as there are people this bad at thinking things through.

    • Emeraude says:

      You don’t even need this thread. You can have numbers of bigger magnitudes in one thought: people *vote*.

      • eggy toast says:

        That’s certainly true and sometimes hilarious, but people indignantly defending daft purchases never winds up with schools losing funding, so it’s easier to fully enjoy :D

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      At least I’m not a cretinous felchmonkey.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      How long did you spend refreshing RPS before you could get that sweet first post on a Double Fine related article to vent all that pent up frustration?

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      Wherever you stand on DF’s fortunes and practices, you realise taking joy in the misfortunes of others is pretty much the definition of an arsehole, right?

      I thought part 1 was quite charming, if a bit simplistic, and from what I’ve seen in the 2PP videos, it looks like part 2 will be upping the difficulty and depth. Yeah, it’s taking them forever to get it done, but it isn’t like there’s any shortage of stuff to play in my backlog.

  11. Gap Gen says:

    Actually, come to think of it they even acknowledged the failure case in the original Kickstarter post/video, and promised the documentary as a window into their process even if the game itself was a bust.

  12. Burius1981 says:

    I need to look into the first part, sounds interesting.

  13. Nintyuk says:

    As long as act II is the end of it and we don’t have to wait for a episode 3, I mean, Act III for the story to be concluded.

  14. haircute says:

    I can’t see past those damn hipster/tumblr noses.

  15. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I think this whole -we’re supposed to be artists and we figure the game out on the way with some help from our backers who don’t know an inch about game design and programming anyway and when the money’s gone we call it a day- business can’t work.

    None of the old classics made required you to pay money up front for wishes and hot air.

    None of the old classics were made with players chiming in how to make the game.

    Today “artist”-devs figure: players like Megaman, Eye of the Beholder, Classic Castlevania, Baldur’s Gate etc. but those games aren’t made anymore cause they don’t port to consoles or don’t appeal to modern kids with an attention deficite. So we remake one of those (capitalizing on other devs’ creativity) and charge them up front though we don’t have a clue if it finances or how we code it and what of the details beside copying the existing game and how we’re gonna pay the pizzas the third month in.
    That’s just shady business. Games like Doom, Monkey Island etc. weren’t made like that either.

    Game design is a craftmanship, it’s engineering. There’s also creativity but it’s not a 80% hot air profession.
    The creative work comes *before* the funding and after the funding the coding. So there’s no artsy excuse to take the money and run or for consumers to expect half a product. Deliver or refund.

    And don’t worry, we won’t miss out on a masterpiece not made when common sense returns.

    • Geebs says:

      I think that another major reason why there’s this sense of over excitement, followed by recrimination, about so many high-profile kickstarter projects is that so many of the ones which make the headlines are from established developers promising to recreate their career-defining moment.

      These sorts of project are only ever really going to be like your favourite band from twenty years ago doing a reunion tour, only the original bassist died, the lead guitarist became a vegan and has taken to throwing quorn into the audience between songs, the singer insists on playing songs from his terrible solo album, and then when they play their really huge hit, they do it as a disappointing acoustic version and keep pausing before the chorus. (i.e. the band in question isn’t Soundgarden, whose last album kicked all kinds of bottom)

      What this tortured analogy is trying to assert is that these guys may be more competent at what they do, but that’s precisely why they’re never going to get the lightning into the bottle again and also why there’s always an Internet bitching session to follow (some fans have also got old and love quorn).

      Also, Bobby was right….

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Ugh. I am assuming you are referring to Kotick? All this “the publishers were right” nonsense lately shows total obliviousness to both the process of game development now and in the past and how many recent great games would never have been possible under the old model which you have somehow convinced yourself was when ‘everything was better’. There are things about modern games and the games business as it exists currently that are good and things that are bad, but this reactionary jump to declaring the villains of yesterday where right all along is utterly ridiculous.

        • Geebs says:

          No; Bobby was right about Tim’s management skills, and Bobby was right that Brütal Legend was shit.

          Everything else that you thought you were arguing about was the product of your own deranged imaginings.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            Your first assertion is a highly debatable notion which seems to be particularly common among gamers who have never seen the inside of a game studio and thus haven’t the first clue about either the management of same or the development process. The second is a completely subjective assessment which many would not agree with at all.

            As to “deranged imaginings” the “publisher was right” refrain is something that has been repeated ad nauseam by angry gamers arguing the exact thing I just described, but I will concede I may have extrapolated your argument over much on this point.

  16. RobF says:

    “None of the old classics were made with players chiming in how to make the game.”

    Well, that’s not really a fair stick to beat anyone with because we didn’t have the communication networks we have now at that point. Would they have been? Well, that’s an interesting thing to mull over and I suspect that for a short period in the eighties, maybe not. But as games became games industry, for many it’d be seen as too good to pass over.

    And of course, there’s an unspoken assumption here that the old publisher funded model was generally TheBetterWayToMakeGamesTM and I’m not ready to spit on -all- publishers and -all- traditional methods of funding but the sheer explosion in quality games, the breadth of games we’re seeing now, is precisely what the old publisher model restricted. More and more as time went on. That’s the real reason why x game isn’t made anymore in the mainstream, developers were restricted to what-will-sell. Now we can sell to a small amount of people who want those things and the system, whilst not without kinks, mainly works.

    It’s, as ever, a trade off. And sometimes the balance isn’t right and sometimes, there just plain isn’t the right amount of understanding from the general public as to how games are made and how they work. I’m seeing flecks of it in your comment, creative work rarely came before funding once games got BigEnoughTM because the money wasn’t there to fund the creative work. So you’d have a pitch or a design document or whatever and that’s the tiniest part of creative work in games and it is -always- subject to change. Look at any of the games folks put on a pedestal and look at any making of. They don’t emerge as fully formed ideas from the off because sometimes, often-times, you don’t even know the idea you’ve had is crap, too expensive, too wide reaching until you implement it.

    The big thing I see constantly is that the people who describe “the problem with Double Fine is…” could, more often than not, substitute “the problem with making any games is…” in its place but because we rarely get peeks behind the curtain, it’s only really people who make games who recognise that. Crowdfunding brings this problem really to the fore too. More so when you have inexperienced teams who very quickly also find out that “the problem with making games is…” after taking the money. The answer to this though, I suspect, is more and better education for consumers and more of a push for consumer rights in the digital sphere to protect them and/or help them understand the risks about these things.

    • KestrelPi says:

      Well-reasoned as usual, Rob. Of course, this project always had the added wrinkle of starting right from the initial concept stage, and the decision to develop in house tools to attach to the pre-written framework obviously introduced a lot of unknowns into the project. But it’s hard to argue with the results, when you see what they achieved with the engine in act 1.

      On your final point, I think what Double Fine were hoping with being more open is that people would gain a greater understanding of how games do and don’t get made and learn something, but they’ve been stymied in a few ways:

      1) because the updates were backer-only, they suffered leaks which only contained half the story with none of the context months of backer updates had provided.
      2) Because it’s basically the only example of a studio of a similar size being so transparent, it’s easy to assume that Double Fine’s problems are unique to Double Fine, which as you point out they’re not.

      So now they’re everyone’s favourite punching bag – there’s literally nothing that they can say right now that won’t be taken negatively as possible. I worry that the reaction will be for them to close the gates of the chocolate factory and go back to developing projects in secret after this. Which would be a great shame, in my view.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      I agree with most of what you’re saying, but picking out just the kickstarter element I really don’t like developers making promises they can’t keep – if you might change something don’t promise you’ll make it another way first and then get all shocked when your backers don’t agree.
      What really bugs me though are the hordes of fan’s that pop up to defend the developers no matter how egregiously they break promises. “you’re a stupid fool and its a donimationvestmentthinggy you didn’t really buy a game you have to trust the magic faeries in the developer’s head” to which the only logical response is “why yes it seems I have been stupid and I’ll never back a kickstarter again” – if everyone continues to let developers get away with breaking their promises kickstarter money is going to dry up and we’ll be back to relying on publishers to hold developer’s feet to the fire, didn’t we have an article just recently on how much less had been raised through kickstarter recently?

      • Yachmenev says:

        The thing is however DF hasn’t broken any promises. They are delivering a 2D point&click adventure, but it has just taken more time then people have expected.

        *They have not changed what the product is.
        *They have not failed to meet any of their actual announced release dates.
        *They have always throughout the development shown progress.

        There are things to criticize with the game, of course, but they haven’t lied and they haven’t broken promises. That’s the thing. What people are defending them from in the comments fields are the knee jerk “lol Double Fine” comments.

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          Oh, I’m not suggesting they have in this case, just commenting more generally about Kickstarter. My understanding was that they didn’t make much in the way of promises at all so there’s nothing to really complain about there.

          DF-9 on the other hand they had a post saying ‘trust us, we won’t risk out reputation by cutting and running” and then they dumped it, but it wasn’t Kickstarter.

          • Yachmenev says:

            Precisely, Spacebase doesn’t really have anything to do with Broken Age.

            They made a lot of mistakes with Spacebase, and made som really naive PR releases and forum comments. But it was another game, by another team, made under other circumstances.

  17. bielzabob says:

    Half-life 3 anyone? Double fine gained my trust long ago and it will take more than a delay to a game to lose that. The only mistake they made was to promise a date when they understand that a delay could create a better game