18-Part Double Fine Documentary Goes Free

Depending on who you ask, the first Double Fine Kickstarter was for an underwhelming adventure game which snaffled up far more money than it needed, or it was for a fascinating warts and all insight into the making of a high profile videogame which at the very least tried to reach for the stars. I’m not sure either stance is particularly accurate – i.e. given the aesthetic quality of the game it’s not at all hard to see how the money got legitimately spent, but equally Broken Age wasn’t the grand point’n’click comeback we’d hoped for – but there’s no question that the extensive and human Making Of documentary series also provided to backers sweetened the deal enormously.

And now the rest of us get to watch it too, for no-pennies.

The first three episodes OF The Double Fine Adventure are up on YouTube now, with a couple more planned every week. If you can’t wait there is the option to send some cash Double Fine’s way and get immediate DRM-free download access to all 18 (and counting) episodes to date. ‘Early Bird’ access costs $10, but it’ll go up to $15 once part two of Broken Age is released.

I suppose I might as well just embed ’em instead of talking about ’em. Here you go – all being well, this should segue into the second and third episodes at the appropriate point.

The series was made by 2 Player Productions, and covers three years in the life of Tim Schafer’s studio as they take to Kickstarter, make Broken Age and more.

130 Comments

  1. povu says:

    Regardless of whether you like Double Fine or not, the documentary is very interesting.

    • Catchcart says:

      I feel I’ve got more than my backer money’s worth already, just from the documentary. But then I like DF. In fact, I’m the kind of guy who would have gone for the tier with a Tim Schafer plush toy if there had been one.

    • Sucram says:

      Part of the pleasure was watching the episodes as they came out and watching them now probably means you miss out on some of the ‘what will happen’ intrigue. That said they are the best behind-the-scenes video’s of a game’s development I’ve seen. They are funny, honest, well produced and give a good insight into the development.

    • caff says:

      I agree – it is well worth a watch, and will give everyone who appreciates games an insight into development & Double Fine as a company.

    • Continuity says:

      I watched the first few episodes as they came out, seemed rather like a train wreck in slow motion. Hell who knows maybe game dev is always like that, I certainly couldn’t say otherwise, but it did feel like Tim was creating way more problems than he was solving.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Honestly, by most industry standards this is a walk in the park. Unless you’re doing a totally by the numbers game with no suprises or tech challenges it doesn’t get much smoother than this.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          *surprises [no edit button]

          Well, maybe “walk in the park” is a bit much, but seriously: if your game is not cancelled, you’re not crunching like a maniac and you haven’t completely run out of money or had to cut half your features, you’re doing ok.

      • Yachmenev says:

        It’s not just game development, but pretty much all software development project. I’ve worked as a programmer for 10 years, and it’s vary rarely smooth sailing.

        We need to learn to applaud the best cases when it doesn’t happen, without condemning the cases where it does, because this shit is hard.

      • Sic says:

        Are you trolling, or have you just never worked a day in your life?

  2. Yachmenev says:

    That was quite a heavy judgement of the game in this article, without really leaving much space for those of us who thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Alec Meer says:

      That’s what comments are for, man.

      • Yachmenev says:

        Well, I just feel that the tone from RPS seems to be getting more harsh all the time, which I personally feel takes a away a bit of the enjoyment of reading the site. I do expect and want it in reviews and similiar articles, but when it slips even into simple news reporting like this, then I think it’s a bit unfortunate.

        Just a thought.

        • Alec Meer says:

          I think you need to spend some time browsing the RPS archives, to be honest!

          • Yachmenev says:

            Yes as I said, it’s a feeling I have, nothing else.

            But I do wish, as a supporter of RPS, then you would tone it down in news reporting like this. It’s not that RPS shouldn’t be critical, not at all, but when you like the output of a certain developer, you don’t really want to read harsh judgements of them in every article where they figure. You have Wot I Think’s, interviews and editorials for that (IMHO).

          • Zallgrin says:

            Yachemenev is right, imo. Harsh criticism has its place and I welcome this attitude in RPS, but please be kinder in the news articles themselves.

            Disclaimer: It is totally alright to spurn a game in news articles through use of outrageous puns or horrible jokes. Without puns, a no-go though.

          • Alec Meer says:

            Can I ask you both to go back and read the article’s introduction very carefully and double-check it says what you thought it said? You will find that the actual criticism is very light. It may be that you read too fast, or it may be that you can’t abide any criticism of the game in question.

          • Alec Meer says:

            Regardless of your misinterpretation however, we will continue to include as much opinion in news stories as we wish to. Always have done, always will. Straighter sites are available. Would you be making such comments if this was a story about a game you felt negative towards?

          • Yachmenev says:

            Alec: My opinion was based on two readings of the article. I can certainly go back and read it again, and think about it some more, np. But when you raise the argument that I can’t tolerate any critique about the game at all, you’re missing the point I’m trying to make and/or are just making it to easy for yourself here.

            And I’m a bit dissapointed your last response there. Of course I can have misunderstood it, but I even if that’s the case, I as a paying supporter of RPS expect more then “you can go elsewhere if it doesn’t suit you”, when you do respond (which you’re free to not do, I don’t expect you to do so always when I write a comment).

            And that’s not me saying that I won’t continue to be a supporter, btw. I generally like the site.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            I have to agree with Yachmenev that you guys seem to have lost your sense of joy and wonder a bit of late… even if it’s qualified in a “some people think everything is terrible, but we don’t completely agree” sort of way.

            As someone who rarely plays point & clicks anymore, I thought Act 1 was a delightful start to an intriguing world and story and I really like that they chose to not just make a retro SCUMM game and pushed the art as far as they did. It’s gorgeous. Whether it can sit comfortably alongside classics like Grim Fandango will depend on how they wrap it up but I am very much looking forward to the conclusion. The documentary, meanwhile, is friggin AMAZING. As a fellow dev such an in-depth look into other people’s creative process is super interesting and it is by far the best documentary on game development I have ever seen. The documentary was a big part of why I backed the kickstarter and the final release of the game will be bittersweet in a way as we won’t have more episodes of the documentary to look forward to…

          • Alec Meer says:

            We praise loads of games to the hilt. We’re just not praising one you guys happen to be very fond of the hilt; that’s not symptomatic of any rot in the site and it seems extremely unfair to make that claim due to a difference of opinion about one game.

            Again though, there’s been a misinterpretation of the introduction too, which hasn’t helped.

          • Thirith says:

            Not to add too much to this kerfuffle, but for me the difference is between expressing opinions in a way that invites discussion and doing so in a way that basically comes across as “That’s how it is, no need to talk about it any further”. There are a handful of topics IMO where the RPS team does the latter (not many, mind you). I also think that occasionally you guys aren’t particularly good at dealing with criticism – whether you meant it like that or not, your “Straighter sites are available” comment did come across as a bit of “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” I’d agree with Paroxysm’s point that “If you have to keep asking people to go reread what you wrote, maybe your writing doesn’t carry the tone you intended it to.”

          • dahauns says:

            I have to fully side with Alec here: I simply can’t see any overt harshshness or heavy judgment in this article – ESPECIALLY compared with the sites’ history.

          • Alec Meer says:

            The ‘straighter sites’ thing probably came across harsher than intended, but I was pretty perplexed that people would be telling this site of all sites not to have opinions. Especially when they were very mild opinions in this instance!

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            @Alec: Fair enough. The impression wasn’t based on one game for me, but either way RPS remains a bastion of intelligent games writing and like Yachmenev I’m not about to stop reading or supporting the site, differences of opinion notwithstanding.

          • noodlecake says:

            I kind of agree with these guys. I think I might be particularly worried about this because the Peter Molyneux (Or Monyleux? I can’t remember which one is real and which is the parody!) interview which felt like pandering to the angry, entitled #GamerGate type of gamer who like game devs to be treated like criminals by the press. The ending wasn’t to my taste SO REMAKE THE GAME JUST FOR ME!!!!! AAAAARG! (The dickwad gamers response to Mass Effect 3).

            It’s your site though! I feel like criticising articles like this while being annoyed that you guys are critcising somebody else’s work harshly is probably a little hypocritical too. You guys kinda have to enjoy your job for the content to be good. I just don’t want to see it slip into being cynical douchebag central. It’s generally a warm and pleasant website to follow every day. :)

          • Vandelay says:

            Alec, I think there must have been two articles posted. There is the one you wrote and are referring to. For since reason, only you and me can see it. Then there is the other article written by your evil twin, Alex, that everyone else can see.

            Fortunately, I am able to clear this issue up and tell everyone that Alec actually wrote that some people didn’t like Broken Age, whilst some others enjoyed watching the development process. He personally liked the art style, but didn’t think it met expectations of being a return to classic point and click games. In other words, he said some people have opinions.

            Evil Alex didn’t spike everyone that liked the game though; I thought it was a good start to the story and very much enjoyed it. Could have been better, but certainly not the failure some would have you believe.

            Also, please don’t succumb to the demands of the naysayers. I want some personality with my news please.

          • dragonfliet says:

            Alec, I think you need to reread the introduction. Feeling that the snark and opinion is fine is one thing. I mean, sure, but claiming that this is NOT a pretty strong criticism is…well, it’s a little naive.

            “the first Double Fine Kickstarter was for an underwhelming adventure game which snaffled up far more money than it needed, or it was for a fascinating warts and all insight into the making of a high profile videogame which at the very least tried to reach for the stars”

            Or, so say it differently: There are two opinions about the DFA kickstarter: It is underwhelming and got too much money (it isn’t very good, and they shouldn’t have gotten money for it) OR it is bad, but has made a good documentary into the insight of failing.

            That’s right, the opening says: The game is bad, and you either think: wow, what a bad game, how did they get so much money? Or you think: wow, what a bad game, but at least they documented their failure! You then backpeddle a little, and say, well, it IS pretty, so obviously they used the money in the ways in which game companies use money and not on drugs and prostitutes.

            I think that the problem isn’t that the game is being criticized, but that in a news article about the documentary going free, it presents the universal consensus as: this is a bad game, that everyone thinks is bad, but I will at least say that it has nice production values. As far as a criticism of the game, it’s really quite tame, but as far as presenting the game, it is kind of a hit-piece.

            I’m honestly surprised that this is so difficult to see. I mean, sure, whatever, I don’t think that Broken Age is particularly great (I liked the first part, it was a pretty standard adventure game, and it is pretty), but I would hope that people could see what they were saying a bit better.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            “Broken Age wasn’t the grand point’n’click comeback we’d hoped for”.
            That’s a hit piece now? What that says exactly is the game is somewhere between crap and pretty ok/good, everything further is your interpretation of that sentence. It is just baffling to me how you arive at “hit piece”.

          • TheLordHimself says:

            @dragonfliet

            You just performed the most ridiculous selective tabloid-esque quoting. Your initial quote is one of two opinions that are presented in a single sentence where Alec is presenting the two perceived main reactions to the game. If you read the whole introduction clearly, I really cannot believe that your suggesting the quote you have provided indicates a negative point of view from Alec. The quote in full, as it should be presented:

            “Depending on who you ask, the first Double Fine Kickstarter was for an underwhelming adventure game which snaffled up far more money than it needed, or it was for a fascinating warts and all insight into the making of a high profile videogame which at the very least tried to reach for the stars. I’m not sure either stance is particularly accurate…”

            Key points I guess are “Depending on who you ask” and more importantly “I’m not sure either stance is particularly accurate”. Surely this is indicating being undecided rather than particularly one sided?

          • Rozza says:

            I think the reason that some people think Alec was a bit harsh is because of the wording of the first sentence. From the first part – “Depending on who you ask, the first Double Fine Kickstarter was…” – it sounds like two contrasting viewpoints will be offered in an even-handed way.
            What’s actually said, though, is viewpoint a) an “underwhelming” game; and viewpoint b) a “fascinating warts and all” documentary about a disapponting game.

            It caught me out, too – and I guess the mid-sentence surprise had the effect (for me anyway) of making it feel a bit unkind (which is different from just critical).

          • dragonfliet says:

            @TheLordHimself : Keep reading. There is nothing selective about what I quoted It is presented as there being two opinions (that’s how either/or setups work. The first opinion is that it is a bad game, the second opinion is that at least the bad game has a good documentary. Alec then says (we’re at opinion 3, differening from the other two, that, apparently make up the bulk of the argument): I don’t think that’s entirely true, as the game looks good, so they did spend the money on that. I address that backhanded compliment in a further paragraph. A game having money spent on it is neither a response to it being a bad game (it only addresses the fact that it is aesthetically pleasing and the money wasn’t blown frivolously–which says nothing about the quaulity of the game), nor that of the only worthwhile part of it being the documentation of the process.

            The backlash has been because you would think that either/or camps would be, reasonably, points from either camp (some think the game was a waste, others thought it was pretty darned good), and that a news piece for a well-received game (from both critics and gamers) releasing content for free would be: hey, this content is free! Instead of: hey, everyone thinks the game is bad, but at least there is a documentary!

            In truth, I find it difficult to keep writing about this, as I don’t really care all that much for DoubleFine (they’re interesting, but the games are rarely great), but it’s worth addressing such incredible confusion over why people are calling out the wording. It is pretty obvious why this is–and whether or not that is worthy of change (if it was MEANT to be a slap in the face–albeit a gentle one–that’s just fine. Part of the charm of RPS is that the writers can be complete aholes at random times, getting onto tangents), to not acknowledge it is to be a bit blind.

          • Sic says:

            You’re, of course, entirely entitled to your opinion (even though it is wrong); BUT, I still had a reaction to you saying the game as a whole wasn’t all that. It’s not out yet. You’re not in the possession of that information.

        • Yachmenev says:

          @Vandelay: No one has put forwards any demands. It’s opinions, nothing to be scared of.

    • amateurviking says:

      OK I’ve reread it twice now and I can’t see any judgement, heavy or otherwise.

      • Imbecile says:

        Yeah, I like Double fine myself, but cant really spot the heavy criticism here – it seems fine. I’d even agree that it wasnt the grand point and click that (many rather than all) hoped for, but I think that says more about rose tinted specs myself.

        • P.Funk says:

          Perhaps they’re referring to this damning rebuke:

          “or it was for a fascinating warts and all insight into the making of a high profile videogame which at the very least tried to reach for the stars.”

          Clearly Alec was being a cunt.

    • Continuity says:

      THe game is fine, but given the budget and with better management it could have been much more and perhaps sooner. This is a big part of the problem DF has, they have their studio in one of the most expensive places to run a studio in the world, thats just not smart.

      • Yachmenev says:

        They obviously started the studio where they lived, in 2000, and have stayed there since moving a company is both costly and complicated, with a guarenteed loss in the workforce and the experience that comes with that.

        What is your suggestion to them, in how to move to cheaper locations, without the move costing more then whats gained?

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    > Broken Age wasn’t the grand point’n’click comeback we’d hoped for

    I disagree, I loved Part 1, I thought it was up there with Grim Fandango, Monkey Island and the others (apart from the length) and hope that Part 2 will convince others I’m right.
    :)

    • sfury says:

      Hmm, for me personally, while I generally liked Part 1 it doesn’t come close to Grim Fandango, but to each his own. All I can say is that even though I’ve only played half the game and I don’t find perfect or as exciting as say Grim or Day of the Tentacle… it’s way way way better than a lot of adventure games.

      Also watching the documentary while waiting for it has become kinda indelible experience for me. The series and getting to know the ins and out of its game development, the challenges the team meets and all the personal touches and little details… I had a general idea what the game will be and that it probably won’t turn into my next most favorite adventure game once I get to play it, but sharing the journey with Double Fine and 2PP up to that point turned into a much more interesting adventure, so I’m very glad for that. :)

    • Acorino says:

      Broken Age so far was more than I hoped for, but I think we all should wait for the release of Act 2 before casting final judgement.

    • Vandelay says:

      I loved the story, but agree it wasn’t the grand resurgence of the point and click genre. It was definitely lacking in that regard, with a too limited interaction system and very simplistic puzzles. I have hope that part 2 can fix the second issue though.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        It was never going to be the resurgence of adventure games. Due to their nature, adventure games were able to have in depth stories and world interaction that you couldn’t get with most other genres. That’s not the case today, where they actually feel more limited than other genres, story aside.

    • Sucram says:

      The word I’d use to describe part 1 of Broken Age is ‘pleasant’. It’s a really nice game, though I don’t think it’s quite up there with the first half of Grim.

      • Yachmenev says:

        Is it really a fair expectation to expect it to match one of the most classic games in the genre though?

    • Frank says:

      For me, it was easily my favorite point-and-click, thanks to its high delight-to-time-wasted ratio. I never put other games in the genre on very high of a pedestal, though.

  4. gbrading says:

    I still can’t judge Broken Age because it isn’t finished; once Part 2 is out then it can be judged as a complete experience.

  5. P-Dizzle says:

    It was almost overnight that they became a company not to trust having once been considered great. They can still redeem themselves though if they make the kind of quality games they used to.

  6. klo3 says:

    I don’t have a strong history with adventure games and would not consider myself as a fan of the genre.

    Knowing that DF is a studio which does not always deliver (which is ok if you’re experimenting and can stay afloat), I decided to back the project because I absolutely LOVE Psychonauts.

    The first part of Broken Age no doubt exceeded my excpectations. As a game it was overall a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I’m glad I backed it.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Fully agree here. I think BA: Act 1 shows a greater understanding of the genre, then most other kickstarted adventures. It was not perfect, but in terms of puzzle structure, characters and a worthwhile story, they did really well.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      This.

  7. Curled Woofy says:

    I have to say the Double Fine bashing is getting tiresome. I think everybody knows by now that RPS is berry berry disappointed in DF.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Can I ask you to go back and read the article’s introduction very carefully and double-check it says what you thought it said? You will find that the actual criticism is very light. It may be that you read too fast, or it may be that you can’t abide any criticism of the game in question.

      • Curled Woofy says:

        The first sentence is what I call bashing, but ok, that’s subjective. I just feel that the game/DF is treated a bit unfairly on this site. Many, many Backers and other Players think that BA1 is a good (not brilliant or revolutionary) game, whereas the opinions on RPS just represent the “meh, but at least we got a documentary” side. I know that RPS covery always has been and will be subjective and opinionated, that’s why I read it every day, but the treatment of DF just doesn’t seem to be based in reality enough and too much in personal disappointment/grudge.

        • Kala says:

          That read to me as “I like that RPS presents personal opinions – that’s why I read it!” and “whoa hey, this thing over here, you’re being too personal with your disappointment”

          You also said you appreciate that such things are subjective, and then complained the treatment wasn’t grounded in reality. (the ‘reality’ presumably being the stuff you think about the game, rather than the stuff he thinks).

          Unless I’ve misread, you don’t appear to be being consistent in what you want.

      • Curled Woofy says:

        I think I know now what bothers me. The beginning seems to summarize the range of opinions on BA, but in reality .doesn’t even mention the big proportion of gamers who think that it’s good(Steam-Reviews very positive, Metacrictic 8.2, User-Score 7.8). The problem isn’t, that RPS doesn’t like it very much.

      • Paroxysm says:

        If you have to keep asking people to go reread what you wrote, maybe your writing doesn’t carry the tone you intended it to.

        • Chirez says:

          That’s got to be a fair point. I read the first paragraph a few times, trying to work out what went wrong.
          I think its structure lends more weight to criticisms of the game, by placing them front and center, qualifying only further in. ‘ given the aesthetic quality of the game it’s not at all hard to see how the money got legitimately spent’ might be a clumsy way to acknowledge that the first sentence is not necessarily true.

          In full, and thoroughly parsed the paragraph is not technically critical, it just quacks like one that is.

      • Deano2099 says:

        I too am tired of the snide Double Fine bashing on RPS but I am not seeing it in this article…

    • Baines says:

      To me, RPS has been rather kind to Double Fine. Double Fine and Schafer have received better treatment than others like Molyneux or Ubisoft. It is more that Double Fine and Schafer aren’t in the “untouchable” category that RPS reserves for certain figures, so you do sometimes see posts that might imply that they’ve been less than perfect.

      • malkav11 says:

        I dunno. I still don’t get people who are upset over Broken Age. Adventure games are one of the most expensive genres to make, always have been, because they’re typically linear, story driven, and have very little room for reuse of assets. The game that was being proposed for $400k would have been very minimal. What we got is already well past that (and, to my tastes, very good), and the whole thing may be taking longer and more money than anticipated, for sure, but Act 2 is well underway and the documentary and otherwise open nature of their development process on this game make it clear that that’s so. And I have every expectation that Act 2 will cap off a great game. As Kickstarter game projects go, it seems well in the upper tier to me, still. This isn’t a Godus situation in the least. Or a That Which Happened (that didn’t happen), or a Haunts, or…

        Totally get the outcry over Spacebase DF-9, mind you.

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          basilisk says:

          By all accounts, Act 2 is not just “well underway”, it’s basically finished and is currently being polished. This is more or less the first part of the final marketing push before release.

        • Moraven says:

          I expected a completed game in in the timeline they proposed.

          We did not get that. Then they overspent their budget and basically had to release half a game and a 2nd campaign to complete. Hell, Time was not even done writing for the game until Fall 2014. Poor project management and over promising. The game is only being completed due to the goodwill people have to Tim Schafer. If this was anyone else the project would be dead in the water. And likely that extra time and couple million would not be as big of a difference anyway. Not sure why DF deserves a free pass.

          • Curled Woofy says:

            “Either the game will be great or it will be a spectacular failure caught on camera for everyone to see. Either way, you win. What could possibly go wrong?” Schafer’s exact words in the KS-Video.

          • malkav11 says:

            Why would you expect that they would produce the completed product by a certain time and within a certain budget? Not only does this not reflect any real understanding of how Kickstarter works (I’ve backed well over a hundred projects and their timeline estimates have been accurate maybe once. Twice at the outside.), but it doesn’t reflect an understanding of how game development tends to work. Furthermore, being expected to ship a game by a certain time and under a certain budget is a hallmark of publisher control of a project which not infrequently results in badly underdone games, and part of the point of Kickstarter is to avoid that sort of essentially arbitrary constraint. Not that it’s always a bad thing (it does, for example, ensure that publisher-run projects tend to either launch or get killed before they can soak up too much cash), but devs can get that with publishers. Why should KS backers take the same attitude?

            Why does it matter to you, for that matter? Why is it important to have the game done by a certain time or with a certain budget? Of course it’s important that it be done and released, and it’s important that you not be expected to pay extra for something you were already promised, but neither of those is an issue with Broken Age – it’s demonstrably on the way, and the extra funding wasn’t from backers, nor a second Kickstarter campaign. Early Access is a different thing being used in a fairly appropriate way.

          • Deano2099 says:

            They always proposed for the game and timeline to scale with the money they raised. It bought in 10x as much as they asked for, which people are so fond of pointing out. Is it that surprising it’s taking 3x as long?

          • Yachmenev says:

            The only proposed timeline was the one set initially on kickstarter, and that one was scrapped one day into the kickstarter. Double Fine commented on that plenty during the month the kickstarter run, and the reason that it wasn’t changed on the project page was because Kickstarter didn’t allow it.

      • Curled Woofy says:

        What everybody seems to be forgetting is that Schafer said in the KS-Video that it could all end in a catastrophy but then at least everybody would have the documentary. It was planned as an experiment first and foremost.

    • Monggerel says:

      You should keep in mind that at lvl 3, Bash still only has a 35% chance of triggering on any given attack. The overall statistics will reflect the simple fact that most attacks will not actually apply Bash and rather be as regular and boring as all other auto-attacks.
      Then again you might just get stunlocked because tough shit. Mountain King is a bastard.

      … I need to lie down.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Not just RPS. Many of us are quite angry with DF, seeing how they’ve treated us in the last two/three years (see: GFWL in Iron Brigade, lack of support for DF-9, Broken Age, inexplicable bugs in Grim Fandango 2.0, etc), and their total failure owning up to it.

      • Acorino says:

        DF doesn’t own the rights to Iron Brigade, Microsoft does, so Microsoft decides if the DRM stays or if it doesn’t. Blame them for signing the stupid contract, so probably Microsoft wouldn’t have been otherwise willing to sign the deal. And Iron Brigade took a long time to get signed, so I think you can excuse DF for bowing to a bad deal. It’s the worst they ever agreed to.
        So, in that regard I don’t see how you can blame DF. Blame Microsoft.

        • Acorino says:

          DF doesn’t own the rights to Iron Brigade, Microsoft does. Microsoft gets to decide whether the DRM stays or not. Blame DF for signing the stupid contract, though Microsoft likely wouldn’t have been willing to sign if they weren’t allowed to slap their shitty DRM over the game and keep the intellectual property.
          Iron Brigade took a long time to get signed, so I think you can excuse DF for bowing to a bad deal. It’s the worst they ever agreed to.
          So, in that regard I don’t see how you can blame DF. Blame Microsoft.

          Screw you RPS for not allowing me to edit my posts. I guess I have to reply to myself with a corrected post then! :P :P :P

          • Philomelle says:

            To add to that statement, Schafer stated on a couple occasions that they did contact Microsoft asking to let them patch Iron Brigade, including a request to let them port the game onto Steamworks when the whole exodus from GFWL started happening. Microsoft simply ignored them.

      • Acorino says:

        What’s the problem with Broken Age, apart from the delays? Act 1 isn’t buggy, and I think it’s well written, beautiful, funny and engaging. From all the Kickstarter campaigns I’ve backed, it’s still the one I’m most happiest with.

  8. dmastri says:

    Df defense league out in full force.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      Said “league” wouldn’t even exist if any mention of Double Fine wasn’t instantly met with poorly informed vitriol in every comment section ever, for reasons that continue to elude me.

      In fact, the decision to make the documentary public was at least partially motivated by a vain hope that it might help with that constant problem. Which it won’t, of course.

      • Bob Barker says:

        I don’t know how anyone can defend Double Fine after Spacebase DF9.

        They’ve damaged the reputation of Early Access for people who intended to use it in the manner prescribed by Valve’s Early Access Developer Guidelines and not as an experimental alternative funding source. Not to mention all the scummy things they did to their own customers.

        • Pliqu3011 says:

          “Not to mention all the scummy things they did to their own customers.”
          Like… what?

          • Bob Barker says:

            Mostly the stuff surrounding the Spacebase DF9 debacle. Reassuring the community everything was fine and putting the game on sale weeks before they announced abandoning it. The way they’re so willing to release broken and buggy games (Grim Fandango Remaster) then throw up their hands when they realize a large portion of their player-base can’t even start the game. The way that they made the documentary free a couple weeks after I paid full price for it. Lying to the press about releasing the “full source code” of DF9. The broken modding support that was supposed work with the source code. Their inability to take any responsibility for what happened.

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Ok, DF9 was a debacle, and the sale prior to abandonment probably was too (‘probably’ because it may have been a last-ditch attempt to make sufficient sales to continue support). They have already released a couple of patches for the Grim Fandango remaster, and seem to be working on more, so I don’t think it’s really fair to characterise that as throwing their hands up.

            They polled their userbase about releasing the documentary, and received an overwhelmingly positive response – the timing of having paid for it yourself is sad (I assume you voted ‘no’ for releasing it?). I paid for it too, but I have no problem with other people getting to see it, particularly as I tend to assume that any digital media is likely to end up piratable anyway should folks be motivated to do so. The full quality version, and the ‘side quest’ extra content is still exclusive to paid viewers.

          • Bob Barker says:

            I don’t have access to any of the backer stuff as I’m not a backer. Even the “bonus” content and interviews that backers already have access to I have to wait until it’s finished to get. Considering that in their recent announcement says “early birds” like myself get bonus content it feels pretty scummy that in fact I don’t have access to it.

        • Premium User Badge

          basilisk says:

          You’re acting like this tendency to pile up on DF whenever the studio is mentioned, often for no particular reason, didn’t exist before Spacebase. It did. It has existed ever since the Kickstarter campaign at least. I’m honestly not sure why; it seems almost hashtagy in its manifestations. The only thing it does is polarise the discussion before it even starts.

          In other words, no, I’m not even remotely defending Spacebase. I think that particular project was very poorly handled in many ways. But that has very little to do with Broken Age, which is what is being discussed here.

          • Bob Barker says:

            Quite frankly before Spacebase I cared little about Double Fine simply because they made games I was uninterested in beyond say Iron Brigade (which was buggy and unsupported, but they have the Microsoft excuse).

            I can only speak for myself and I’m angry at DF because of Spacebase DF9. It will taint and follow Tim Schafer/Double Fine. It cannot be avoided, to say otherwise is like saying people shouldn’t be talking about Ubisoft’s previous games whenever the new Assassin’s Creed pre-order marketing push happens.

            I think it’s well deserved too, it’s a unprecedented failure of an established game studio to produce content using a shady alternative funding model that Valve has since come out and written guidelines against.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Spacebase was horrendous, and I genuinely don’t think DF get how bad that behaviour was. Because they’ve been hit over the head about it yes, but no harder than they were over what they did with Broken Age. When it’s ten times worse. Doing the split release for Broken Age was all about how to do right by backers. Spacebase was the opposite. But they’d been attacked so much by the time it happened that they weren’t listening anymore.

  9. sirdavies says:

    Just FYI there’s still a second half of the game that is apparently twice as long as the first half. It’s a bit weird that this isn’t noted in the article.

    • Bob Barker says:

      source?

      • Acorino says:

        link to steamcommunity.com

        “Playtimes of just Act 2 have ranged from 8-12 hours”

        This estimation is based on their internal play tests. Still, take this with a grain of salt.

        • Acorino says:

          Correct link: link to steamcommunity.com

        • Bob Barker says:

          I believe Tim said the same thing about Act 1 in the documentary. Hopefully they’re right and it’s not just another case of The Order devs trying to spin news.

          • KestrelPi says:

            That’s just patently untrue. I remember it pretty well – the figures they gave for act one was that it was playtesting at around 4-5 hours, and most people completed it in about 3-4, so not all that much less than their testing estimated it. It’s not too bad for an internal estimate, which always seem to be a little overblown.

            This time they’re saying part 2 is testing at significantly longer, so while it might not actually be 8-10 hours long, I think it’s fairly safe to say that it’s longer than the first part.

          • Bob Barker says:

            Forgive me for not searching for the exact spot I recall a conversation concerning game length when talking about the soundtrack and use of ambient audio going along the lines of: “how long is this game is supposed to be? I heard like 8-10 hours but we only have about 3 hours worth of music.”

          • Acorino says:

            Yet you asked sirdavies for a source.

          • Bob Barker says:

            and I got it, does verifying hearsay preclude me from criticizing it?

  10. Noviere says:

    I would describe myself as a DF fanboy, and I think the “criticism” in this article is entirely justified. I adored Broken Age and have no problem saying that it’s development was troubled to say the least, and that it was not the point n click comeback I thought it was going to be.

  11. Berzee says:

    The documentary was the main thing about Broken Age that I was interested in. My strategy of biding my time and giving them no monies appears to have paid off!

  12. KestrelPi says:

    I feel obliged to say, as someone who backed this project and has observed things very closely over the past few years, that the level of backer satisfaction is still extremely high. When it was split into two parts the backers were overwhelmingly supportive, when delays were announced, as they were at the end of last year, backers were similarly supportive. Not 100% but it’s hard to please 90k people. And, for the game itself, the feedback has been very very positive, with some criticisms over length and difficulty, but since Act 2 is slated to be trickier and about twice as long, everyone is very much happy with how things went.

    Speaking of which, it’s a little early to get into post-mortem territory. Act 2 is due out this spring, and except for mobile it’s free for anyone who backed or bought Act 1.

    The documentary is wonderful, and a great insite into just how much care and attention has gone into delivering this game, very much counter to the often forwarded narrative of it being a botched project. And if you like it, the bonus footage with the purchase amounts to hours of detailed interviews.

  13. Robert Post's Child says:

    Well this is a pleasant surprise. That the video begins with some Lifeformed playing would be reason enough for me to watch more if I wasn’t already interested.

  14. Mr Coot says:

    Just watched Ep. 1, nice, candid insight. Tim Schafer is a very funny likable person.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    The documentary is amazing – I have gotten so, so much for my $15, but I’m also delighted to have it shared with a broader audience.

  16. JeCa says:

    Is it just me, or is the music in the documentary VERY similar to the Nexus music in Dustforce?

  17. Rikard Peterson says:

    “Depending on who you ask, the first Double Fine Kickstarter was for an underwhelming adventure game which snaffled up far more money than it needed, or it was for a fascinating warts and all insight into the making of a high profile videogame which at the very least tried to reach for the stars.”

    No. Depending on who you ask, the first Double Fine Kickstarter was for a lovely adventure game and a documentary of how it’s made, or it was for an underwhelming adventure game with a documentary of how it’s made.

    Feel free to dislike the game – RPS should have personality, that’s why we like you – but to phrase it like you did was a mistake. And that you can’t see how it reads when it’s pointed out to you, instead choosing to dismiss the commenters as angry fans that can’t read – that’s disappointingly unprofessional. I hold you to a higher standard than a random blogger.

    • Frank says:

      Yeah. Setting aside the opinion that may or may not be buried in it, that opening paragraph is a mess. The two “but” clauses in a row are particularly poor form, I think.

      I’d rather see Alec’s opinion clearly expressed than this waffling behind a weak characterization of opinions prevailing among others.

  18. rexx.sabotage says:

    Jeez, I wish Spacebase FD-9 could have gotten some of this unwavering affection.

  19. Steed says:

    Huzzah, now I might actually watch the documentary I paid extra for and never watched!

  20. Bob Barker says:

    After I got burned by Spacebase DF9 I actually decided to go out and buy this documentary so I could get a better understanding of what went wrong. All the assumptions of Tim being naive, absent minded and unfit for management are true.

    Sort of feels scummy that yet another thing I purchased from DF has been devalued. Not really a big deal, its nice that other people will get to see it too.

    • Yachmenev says:

      You know that Spacebase wasn’t developed by Tim Schafer? His role in that game was being CEO of the company that did the game, but he wasn’t the designer or something like that on it. So it’s doubtful that you see anything in the episodes that are directly related to the Spacebases struggles (a game that cut short by it selling badly).

      And when you say that this has been devaluated by DF by being publicly released, DF asked backers before doing so if we thought it was ok, the response among the backers on the forums, the kickstarter page and on twitter was overwhelmingly positive to them doing so.

      And you know that there are quite a lof of differences between the public release and the bought version of the doc – 1080p quality, DRM free episodes, somewhere arount 18 extra mini episodes and more?

      • Bob Barker says:

        As someone who purchased the documentary and not backed it. I don’t have the access to the interviews (I need some sort of backer account) nor even DRM free (I have to view it through vhx.net).

        I realize Tim Schafer didn’t make, JP LeBreton made it. I do realize Tim Schafer was the one who approved the project, the experimental/alternative funding model, and also decided to pull the plug.

        That’s not to say JP LeBreton did a good job. It was shitty, slow and quite frankly the worst updated early access game I own *before* they announced it was being abandoned. Based on his Twitter account he seemed to spend most of his day “fighting” for various social justice causes and not actually working on the game.

        I think JP LeBreton was trying to tell us something by this series of RTs… link to i.imgur.com

        • Yachmenev says:

          As I read it, the producer of the doc says in this thread that VHX purchaser should have DRM free 1080p downloads also.

          link to doublefine.com

          • Bob Barker says:

            I may be wrong about the DRM part. It’s not obvious and I didn’t really go out of my way to look for it. I’d be much more happy if you could dig me out a way to view that additional/bonus/interview content.

          • Yachmenev says:

            Yeah, np. I will check the forums to see if I can find an answer to that.

          • Bob Barker says:

            Actually it says right in the forum post you linked “plus a host of free bonus features which will become available once the series is complete”.

            So I don’t get any of that until it’s all over, I guess. Honestly if I had to guess they’ll probably release the same bonus content on YouTube once they’ve cycled through all the episodes too.

          • Yachmenev says:

            Well, they are saying that the free youtube won’t have them, so if they did release those also later on, then yeah, that would be them going back on their words on that. I don’t expect them to though.

          • Bob Barker says:

            They could take the Spacebase route of “well that’s what we were hoping to do but unfortunately it wasn’t possible” excuse while proceeding to through your developers under the bus.

            Speaking of which I’ve been seeing the “well Tim Schafer didn’t work on Spacebase” excuse more recently when talking about Spacebase. Which is odd considering that during the ground zero/0day of the abandonment announcement people generally avoided blaming JP LeBreton and put the responsibility of management/financial planning/experimental use of early access/decision to abandon on Tim Schafer.

          • Yachmenev says:

            Schafer is the CEO, so he can’t, and haven’t, shied away from a responsibility for Spacebase. But when one discuss those game, you have to separate that responsiblity from explanations for what has happened. Total Biscuit also tried to match quotes and previous work for Tim Schafer as explanations for why Spacebase failed, but you do things like that you’re pretty much matching things together because you want them to fit, not because they actually do. :)

            And as for the doc, it’s really a product from 2 Player Productions and not Double Fine, even if it’s a collaboration, so it’s even harder to match that with Spacebase experiences. Double Fine and Schafer can’t just do what you think they will do with it.

          • Bob Barker says:

            Based on Double Fine’s track record I believe their statements should be held in doubt in the same way we hold statements from Peter Molyneux with doubt. Not that they are directly related to Spacebase DF9. Simply that it points to a larger business ethics issue at Double Fine.

          • KestrelPi says:

            What ‘track record’?
            There ISN’T ONE.

            Double Fine have released many games. The majority of them, like the games released by almost every company ever, have either faced normal sorts of delays that you’d expect, or been released on time, on budget as far as we know (most recently, Costume Quest 2).

            A track record means that surely, SURELY you must have several examples of DF screw ups, right? Well, there’s DF-9 which I don’t think anyone denies didn’t go how anyone hoped. Then there’s Broken Age which as much as certain people -desperately- want to paint as a disaster, actually has very happy backers on the whole, is a well-recieved game, and is on the verge of its final release.

            Apart from that, they have put two other games through early access, Hack ‘n’ Slash – clearly niche, but a fine, finished game, and Massive Chalice which is another project with happy backers, which is being finished on budget and is on track for its spring release too.

            Meanwhile, throughout all this other, smaller teams within DF have been releasing games like The Cave (heck, I don’t even like it that much, but there’s no denying it was a game they released in the last few years) and a bunch of smaller mobile titles, ports, and of course GF Remastered.

            So, where’s this ‘track record’? In your head, that’s where.

          • Bob Barker says:

            As the “Supreme Deity of the Forum’s Mother” of the Official Double Fine forums I’m sure you’re already aware but see this other comment I posted: link to rockpapershotgun.com

            No matter how hard you try to spin it, Double Fine has done some downright unethical and scummy things in the name of “experimentation”. I don’t think we should be taking their statements seriously anymore, and rather let their products do the talking. Perhaps Double Fine should try the same.

  21. Bob Barker says:

    Jeeze Alec did you really have to make that video? Don’t placate DFDF (Double Fine Defense Force), it legitimizes them.

    PS. I could sense your eyes rolling throughout the entire video.

    • Fiyenyaa says:

      Well some people like the game, and maybe they wanted to see that viewpoint reflected somewhat? That hardly seems like the most heinous thing in the world.

      When you have these cute, patronising nicknames for people who have a different opinion than you, it just invites invective and argument escalation. Doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

      • Bob Barker says:

        Perhaps, but I feel the idea of an established group of fanboys on the defense of Double Fine is accurate. It doesn’t take long for you to start noticing the same names pop up over and over. In particular I found it distasteful how a certain moderator from the Double Fine forums would act in defense of Double Fine without disclosing their conflict of interest.

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          But the same is true for people who attack Double Fine every time they come up. The DFAF, if you will. Look how many times your own name appears in the comments of this article, for example.

          All it really shows is that there are people who feel strongly about it one way or the other, and they tend to therefore have something they want to say when it is being discussed. Grouping folks into an ‘other’ group is the first step to polarising a debate to the degree where the other guys are always wrong and cannot even be civilly engaged. (Look at the comments below any online thing about US politics for an extreme example, if you have the stomach for invective and ideological blindness).

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Also, moderators for the DF forums are just volunteer forum members – they’re not paid by DF or anything. I think ‘conflict of interest’ is a bit of a stretch.

  22. Frank says:

    The moral of the story is: don’t make games in whatever genre DF9 belonged to. This crowd is the worst.

    It’s probably impossible to reach these people, but here goes: If you want to support a developer, join in on a conversation among fans, and play around with a game in the early stages of its development — with no promise that it will ever move further — go ahead and buy in on early access. Otherwise, guess what: it doesn’t suit you. This is what Valve’s disclaimer now says, and before that. it was part of the thought process any sensible person would have gone through.

    I cannot imagine buying into early access without having a shred of sympathy for the developers or interest in the development process.

    • Bob Barker says:

      The main issue with DF9 was the use of Steam Early Access as an experimental alternative funding model that Valve has since written guidelines against using. I think everyone was surprised how short sighted and ethically questionable Double Fine’s decision to use SEA as a pseudo-kickstarter was.

      Didn’t help that they lied to the press about releasing the *full* source code and generally brushed off any responsibility.

      PS. nice generalization against an entire group of people who enjoy a particular genre.

  23. Yachmenev says:

    I think you’re just misunderstanding it.

    Read the “VHX release info” part in this post from the documentary producer here, to see what extras the $10 gets you: link to doublefine.com