The Final Episode Of Double Fine Adventure! Is Out

Games are strange in that they’re a medium that inspires devotion but even the most feverish fans often know little about how they’re made. Most efforts to explicate the process are also often hamstrung by the marketing need to put on a good face or by the details being delivered long after the fact by developer’s whose memories have faded.

Double Fine Adventure is different. It’s a twenty-part documentary series about the making of Broken Age where the cameras were there at the very beginning, when the fresh Kickstarter success seemed to point towards a future of infinite potential, and were still there at the very end, when the team size had been whittled away, when morale had been dampened by layoffs, and when crunch had caused people to fall ill. As of last week, the final episode is out and available to watch for free along with the rest of the series.

I like watching TV shows about people working: chefs preparing food in Top Chef; traditional craftsman carving ornate wooden boxes on NHK World; or people working in government or on TV shows as in any of Aaron Sorkin’s work. The problem, especially with the latter, is that the methodical satisfaction of talented people working hard is constantly interrupted by the dull plot beats of emotional drama. Will they? Won’t they? Who cares. Show me the ornate wooden box.

The Broken Age documentary features all of the work and none of the mucky human emotions that I find so tedious. Except, perhaps, for your own complicated emotions connected to the project. I haven’t played enough of it to have an opinion of my own – my interest in the game is borne of watching the documentary, not the other way around, and the documentary is illuminating for the way it lays bare Double Fine’s development process more than for any revelation about the particular game that’s being made.

As part of that though, the documentary also shows the internal view of the various struggles that befell the project between inception and release, including splitting the game into two halves and the wonky review embargo around Act 1. Tim Schafer directly addresses those struggles near the end of the final episode, reflecting on the experience of crowdfunding and being so transparent:

“Crowdfunding was so great and is so great in a lot of ways. The relationship you have with the community and the nature of the money is so perfect to do something creative and community-focused without worrying about ties to people who might want to influence your game because they gave you money. It’s weird because it just happened to coincide with a weird phase of the internet where everyone is super angry all the time, and it was hard to be that open and transparent and give everybody– it’s like we opened up a little tray of bludgeon instruments so people could beat us up with, and then people picked them up and just beat us up with them. And we were like, ‘Huh, that was an interesting experiment, we probably shouldn’t have given all the weapons to all the people who are mad.’

“If that had not erupted at that moment, maybe I would have thought– Because at the beginning, the transparency was nothing but hugs and high-fives all around. Everybody, our PAX meetups, that was our community experience was everyone just telling us how excited they were about the game and how much they loved us and everything, and then we announced the change in schedule… Just all that, it just seemed like there was this big crowd of people, just super mad.

“And if you Google ‘Broken Age Broken Promises’ on the internet, you’ll see all these angry articles, not just from random people on Twitter but from these journalists, who are like, ‘They really let everybody down with this and they should really be sorry.’ And, here were are at the end and we’re shipping the game and it took a long time but it’s everything we said we going to do, and I want to mail all those people individually and be like, ‘It’s time for you to apologise for that article.’ But I don’t think they feel like they were wrong, I think they feel like we still messed up, but… I don’t!

“Isn’t it great to know I’ve learned nothing? [laughs] I feel like I have this need to make an official announcement that I don’t apologise for anything, because I feel really good about it, and if we had shipped one day earlier then the game would have been one day buggier and if we had shipped the game that the original $3.3 million paid for, it would have been small, and I like the game that we made instead and put a lot of our own money into it and I think I’m really really happy. This is what the game sort of said that it wanted to be, about this size, and we did a really good version of that and so I don’t apologise for anything.”

Which probably means that their next project won’t also come with a twenty-part documentary series alongside. Later he adds:

“I wish I really knew right now, that I could say 100%, what I learned from all that, because some of it’s still too soon. There’s a part of me that just, I don’t want to tell anybody what we’re working on right now, because I feel so exposed that I just want to have some secrets for a little while just as a break from that. I had a pleasant trip down memory lane making adventure games, but I remembered how hard they are to make, and I don’t think my next game will be an adventure game. I wouldn’t say I’d never make one again but in the end, but in the end I really think the team really put together a beautiful game, and that’s what I’m most happy with.”

So that’s that. Whatever you think about the end result or the schedule or the management along the way, you should watch the Double Fine Adventure documentary. It’s a humanising look into the process of game development and at people trying their hardest to make something beautiful. At times, such as a particular montage near the end of episode 19 that highlights the stark contrast between the beginning and end of the process, it’s a little bit heartbreaking – and all without a forced romance plotline between Tim Schafer and his point-and-click adventure hating co-worker.

Also there’s no smug baby boomer bullshit in Double Fine Adventure, so that’s another point against Sorkin.

Here’s the final episode in full:

75 Comments

  1. Josh Reichental says:

    This was such an incredible documentary series; wonderfully crafted, consistently engaging, and eye-opening. I was very happy with the final product of the game, but even for those who weren’t, I think this documentary is excellent viewing.

    I particularly liked how they never shied away from blunt honesty and always connected with their audience. It was always a treat to find a new episode on Kickstarter; definitely the best money I’ve spent on the platform to date.

    • AngoraFish says:

      The DFA documentary series is nothing short of the most fabulous thing to emerge out of PC gaming this century.

      Shame the game itself falls flat, but hey, at least this makes the documentary all that more compelling.

      • caff says:

        Yes, great documentary series. Really opens your eyes. No matter what people have said about Double Fine / Time Schafer / recent games, I still have absolute respect for what they do. I just wish they could do something with the quality of Psychonauts again.

      • S Jay says:

        I have to agree. The documentary is awesome, the game not so much.

  2. draglikepull says:

    While I was certainly looking forward to playing the game, the documentary was the main reason I backed the Kickstarter. It’s been fascinating all the way through. It was a great look at the development of the game from both a creative and business perspective. If you haven’t watched it, even if you’re not really into the game, it’s worth setting aside some time to watch the series as they put them up on Youtube (they were originally only available for Backers to watch).

  3. Stone_Crow says:

    Cool… do we get to see the gold car he bought with all that money?

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Clearly games costing money to make is a difficult concept to grasp.

      • Hobbes says:

        Costing money is normal, but the fact that Schafer is an absolute fail when it comes to project and financial management isn’t something that should be overlooked.

        It’s a cold day in hell when I actually agree with Bobby Kotick *genuflects, throws holy water on the ground, apologises for swearing* on -anything-, but when it comes to Tim Schafer, you’d best let Satan know to order in some air conditioning.

        • AngoraFish says:

          And yet he still seems to be running a major game studio with dozens of employees and has done so successfully for many years.

          • Stone_Crow says:

            Whether you are a massive fan or ambivalent you have to acknowledge he had 4 MILLION to build a point and click adventure game, managed still to only do half of it, then release the other half a year later reusing 95% of the same assets. In addition as we all know PnC games are the most simplistic of games to develop… they have NO complex logic to code, click A = scene B… it’s not rocket science. This means your costs are twofold. Artwork and story. The artwork was OK, but as mentioned reused all the assets from part 1 so cost wise was basically nothing. The story was balls, and they clearly made it up as they went along (If I was a betting man, on fitting part 2 with the existing artwork). 4 Million should have produced an adventure game for the ages… in stead it produced drivel. They blew the money and screwed it up… it’s a kickstarter lesson for everyone.

          • Xocrates says:

            @Stone_Crow: Point and Click games are nothing but content, and content is, though not the hardest, the most time consuming thing to to.

            Every single thing that shows up in an adventure game needs to be individually scripted. Point A -> Scene B still needs someone to implement, and then test to make sure it didn’t break anything anywhere else. Not to mention playtesting to make sure the puzzle makes a minimum amount of sense.

            Even the “reused assets” had to be completely re-rigged and re-scripted.

          • Ajmist says:

            Worth a mention that Broken Age cost the same to make as The Witcher 2.

          • Ajmist says:

            Sorry should be two thirds the cost of the second Witcher game.

          • Pliqu3011 says:

            @Ajmist
            Don’t forget that wages in Poland are significantly lower than those in the US, let alone San Francisco. You can’t just compare the two budgets like that.

          • jrodman says:

            Stone Crow, you are editing events to fit your own axe-grinding operation.

            They made a game. The release process may not be your ideal, but it didn’t involve “making only half a game” or something like that. It’s not like they did a second 4 million kickstarter to complete it.

            If you aren’t a fan of the result, that’s fair, but there’s no justification for respinning the facts to suit your storyline.

          • Great Cthulhu says:

            Ajmist, if the $4M figure is correct, it’s more like 40%. Which is still remarkable, but mostly because of how little TW2 cost to make.

            Source: link to cinemablend.com

          • Hobbes says:

            In the same way a robin reliant that’s been left out in the cold all winter might “run”. *grin*

            Massive Chalice was -good-, and it needed to be, considering the absolute trainwreck that DF-9 was. Broken Age ultimately shaped up to be nothing more than competent, it certainly hasn’t heralded in a new age of point and clicks or sparked the imagination of anyone who isn’t a die hard DoubleFine fan to be blunt.

            DoubleFine runs in the same way a wonky car runs, it gets from A to B right now, but in no way does it get there smoothly or reliably. The last crop of projects shows very clearly they’re fighting the tide, part of that is because they are it seems hell bent on staying in San Fran even when the costs of doing so are rising at a rate which makes it economically insane to do so (really, not kidding, these days you need to have an income in the top decile to reasonably expect to survive there). Remastering Grim Fandango gives them time on the clock, but that’s all it does.

            Letting Timmy near the money well is a -bad- idea. He’s got great ideas, and he’s a loveable chap, but he can’t run a business for shit. He needs someone (a bit like Peter Moly needs someone) who holds him on a leash. Then you get the best out of him. Letting him off said leash is what went wrong.

            Hell, it’s what happened to George Lucas, and look what happened when they let him out of the cage. We got Jar Jar Binks. JAR JAR BINKS

            Had Massive Chalice not been a solid hit and one they could sell to a now sceptical public DoubleFine would be in the DoubleFires of DoubleChapterSeven.

          • Philomelle says:

            @Hobbes:
            Broken Age, Massive Chalice and Spacebase DF-9 are games developed by completely different teams within the same company. Tim Schafer’s involvement with both latter games boiled down to appearing in trailers and canning DF-9 when it was discovered to cost about four times more than it brought in. Comparing them otherwise is about the same as comparing Need For Speed, Dragon Age and Battlefield.

            With that in mind, the rest of your post collapses into a bunch of conspiratorial blathering written by an armchair developer.

  4. Dances to Podcasts says:

    “and when crunch had caused people to fall ill”

    To think I once wanted to make games…

    • king0zymandias says:

      I don’t know, I crunch a lot, and that too voluntarily. Not in the gaming industry, but in a related field. And every time there is a deadline we go to crunch mode. And it’s not because the clients are always giving us unreasonable deadlines, although they sometimes are, it’s just that nothing is ever perfect, nothing is ever finished. It only ends when the time’s up. So it seems reasonable to us that we would do our best to make the end product as polished as we possibly can before it’s time for the public to take a look at it. For a lot of us It’s about taking pride in our art/design, this is our creation, and many of us would be willing to make a lot of sacrifices to make it the best that it can possibly be. I don’t think this is a thing that’s exclusive to the game/CG industry either. I know a lot of different types of artists who go days and nights working without any break just to make their work a little better. These people don’t even have bosses.

      But I guess maybe when you are a part of a bigger pipeline, and your contribution is so little relative to the whole that that sense of artistic ownership doesn’t kick in. And you feel like a gear in a machine, churning out crap. In that case it makes sense as to why crunch would be demoralizing.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      That was disturbing. That episode (19) was rough. They definitely weren’t kidding about showing all the highs and lows of game development… It should be noted though that crunching to the point of affecting your health is not considered ‘normal’ everywhere, especially outside the US. Short bursts of long hours before a deadline are one thing, but anything beyond that is unsustainable in the long term.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        [edit]Not to suggest they consider it normal here – clearly people were working those hours because they wanted to make the best game possible and there was no budget for more time – but there is a point beyond which you’re not really being more productive and you can really do some serious damage to your health. I was shocked they let it go that far.. Just saying, it’s not like that everywhere. By most accounts there seems to be a culture of poor work/life balance in the US compared to Europe for example, and it also differs from company to company. You don’t have to sacrifice your health to make games, just choose where you work carefully.

    • WJonathan says:

      “and when crunch had caused people to fall ill”

      It appears Cap’n Crunch has caused Tim Schafer to fall ill. Or Nestle’s Crunch. Or a lack of abdominal crunches.

      He’s fat, in other words. Tim Schafer is very, very fat. Is my point.

    • Sam says:

      The cruel thing is that long before people get physically ill from overwork their quality of work will have already suffered massively. There’s extremely good evidence for significant loss of concentration, memory and executive decision making skill when doing anything like the crunch work schedule.

      It feels like you’re “doing all your can” to help make the game, but overwork almost always contributes to making it worse, not fixing the problem and introducing new ones. Much like a drunk staggering to their car, overworked people are poor judges of how much it’s affecting the quality of their work. They know it’s making them tired and ill but think they can still do the work fine. Unless the task is extremely simple a tired person will mess it up. Crunch is good at generating wacky stories about replacing error messages with “Thanks for playing Wing Commander”, but maybe if they’d been working sensible hours the problem could have actually been fixed.

      Tragically similar things to crunch culture exist in many other fields. Doctors especially are often expected to work absurd shifts, and their work is exactly the type worst affected by lack of rest. Every nuclear accident except Fukushima can be directly linked to a skilled and properly trained worker not noticing warning signs (often literal flashing warning signs) after working long hours.

      Shout out to Jon Blow’s team making Witness which has a strict no-crunch policy. Indies in general are terrible for crunching, usually self-imposed. There’s a point to be made about Jam culture which celebrates at least short-term crunching, although maybe it’s a useful tool to show people that although they can make something fast like that most of it needs to be redone if you want to properly release it.

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        teije says:

        Well said. Hard-core crunch times at our software dev studio (non-gaming) in the past resulted in rushed, crappy, poorly tested code – which will then piss off the customers. Which is why I don’t have our devs do it anymore.

      • KevinLew says:

        About Game Jams and Crunches… Let’s be honest. Crunching is really all about money. It means that you’re slipping behind schedule and if you don’t ship a product soon, then you’re going to go bankrupt, pay a penalty, lose preorders, etc.

        Game jams have nothing to do with money. The short time limit is to force creativity out of developers. When you give people weeks to work on an idea, people tend to debate or waste time. So with a very short time schedule, you come up with a crazy Molyneux-like idea and you focus on execution. In the end, maybe one out of every 100 games would be considered fun. But sometimes, perhaps one out of a thousand games, you’ll get a really good game idea that people would want to buy and play.

        • jrodman says:

          An indie game dev friend said to me:
          “Game Jams give you practice finishing.”

          What’s meant is that in game development, you can often fail to target an achievable ending point and proceed towards it in a focused way. It’s so common to get distracted by scope creep, complex goals, bad project planning, etc. Granted commercial game development involves team of a size that can’t work the way a Game Jam can, but it probably gives good practice at the right mentality.

      • MisterFurious says:

        I saw a documentary about film crews working insane hours which has resulted in several deaths. That’s America for you, though. Work until you drop dead to make a few rich assholes even richer.

  5. Mojavi Viper says:

    Ah so that’s where the money from space base df9 went.

  6. DeepFried says:

    My impression of Double Fine is that whatever else they maybe they’re terrible project managers and have very little financial sense… I wonder what others in the game dev industry make of the Double Fine we see in this documentary, is this sort of wasteful chaos normal?

    • Xocrates says:

      Define wasteful.

      Software development in general is finicky. Even having a relatively short experience in the industry, every single project I’ve worked on was late, overbudget, or both. This includes a project that had to be delayed before even starting.

      It does not matter how much experience you have, you WILL fuck up estimates, and you often only have the resources to plan around the optimist ones.

      There is absolutely nothing unusual about the development of Broken Age.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Anyone who’s worked in the games industry will tell you: this is a largely typical game development story. I’ve worked at a couple of different places and it was all very recognizable. All the obstacles, the ups and down, and the occasional missteps are very common in any mid to large game studio. In fact, statistically speaking, if your game is not cancelled at some point during production and you haven’t had to fire everyone you’re doing pretty good by most industry standards.

      The only part that’s unusual is their being attacked by an army of obsessive cyberstalkers. That shit is not normal.

      • Ajmist says:

        Is the degree to which it went over budget normal I mean the game supposedly cost around three times more that amount the raised and >20 times the original funding goal. It cost about the same to make as The Witcher 2.

        • Ajmist says:

          My mistake it cost double the budget not 3 times which makes it more like 2/3rds the cost of the second Witcher game.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          Comparing different game budgets 1:1 is a pointless exercise.

          I can’t claim to be privy to the balance sheet of every studio I’ve worked at, but budget and time extensions mid-development are pretty normal, yeah. Every time you’ve heard of a game being delayed? That’s a game going over its original budget… and that’s just the ones you hear about. Game development is an unpredictable beast.

          If you want an example of what it looks like when development goes wrong, look at cancelled games:

          link to 1up.com
          link to kotaku.com

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            (though I should add, when things do go wrong it’s often due to a combination of factors, many external and not necessarily the fault of the developer)

        • TheTingler says:

          Yep, that’s normal. And remember that Witcher 2 was made in Poland, where costs are cheaper.

        • Philomelle says:

          An average apartment in Warsaw costs around $300 per month. An average apartment in San Francisco costs $3,000. If you want to compare their budgets fairly, you need to multiply Witcher 2’s budget by ten because that is how much it would cost to make in the same living and pricing conditions as Broken Age. Otherwise your comparison is incoherent at best.

          • Hobbes says:

            Not being funny but the whole “We need to be in San Fran” argument has always struck me as a bit incoherent from DoubleFine’s side. Of all the places in America it’s now one of the most expensive, if not -the- most expensive and it’s still *rising*. It’s not showing any signs of reversing that trend as every damn tech company and their dog seeks to gentrify that place over and over until it turns into some horrible Silicon Valley version of London, just with worse accents and things like “Ordering your housemaid via an app” (yes, that’s a thing, go google it).

            When the costs of living and doing business in a place are going north of $15k a head per month and you can slash that in half by relocating (easily achievable by simply not being in gdmn San Fran), there doesn’t seem to be much sense in staying put aside from “Well the coffee’s good dude.”

          • Philomelle says:

            I’m not at all surprised that the argument strikes you as odd. For one, your assumption that convincing 65 people with friends, families and social lives to drop everything and relocate into a completely different city is super easy tells me that you are allergic to giving a damn about people who work for you. For two, your belief that moving and restaffing an entire studio is somehow not preposterously expensive tells me you never actually managed anything larger than a hot dog cart.

            Both logical conclusions tell me you are terribly underqualified for such decisions.

          • Hobbes says:

            So wait, I’m the one making the reasoned argument based on the fact that the costs of living and working in San Fran are monstrously expensive, and your best response is some pretty terrible ad hom?

            Okay, let’s math out your 65 people then –

            $15k / month per head, going by the current state of play in San Fran, and note that costs are trending upwards at an inflationary rate of 5-10% per year in San Fran, which is excessive compared to most of the country because well, San Fran has crazy housing policies and everyone and their dog is stuffing the place with high earners and gentrifying it.

            That’s closing on 975k / month for your 65 people. Halving that would mean that even if relocation cost *three million*, they’d recoup that in the space of half a year. Again, there’s little going for San Fran unless you’ve a -lot- of money to work with aside from the whole “Well the coffee is good, dude”.

            You need to be in the position of having money to burn, literally, or having the benefit of investor capital in some flavour in order to keep up the San Fran lifestyle for any period of time. At least as a business, as an employee, you’d best hope you’re being paid well, because right now unless you’re in the ever decreasing percentage of “affordable” housing there, it’s fast turning into London Mk 2.

            Logic. I has it. Do you?

          • Philomelle says:

            I absolutely love how your logic ignores the part where a lot of their current employees might not have the option of relocating and moving thus runs the risk of leaving the studio too understaffed to run the projects, the cost to the remaining team’s morale if one does leave veteran employees behind, amount of time and money that needs to be sunk into hiring and integrating new employees in the case where one does accept the risk of being left understaffed, the amount of time and money that needs to be sunk into finding and occupying a new office, as well as the fact that they would be too busy to work during relocation months and essentially do nothing but burn money for 3-6 months, not to mention that any projects that would end up being halted halfway, would then end up in a bad space due to a lot of new fill-in staff that has no experience with working on them.

            It’s not ad hominem, it’s me literally saying that your “logic” ignores both the combination of money/time/effort that is required to relocate a medium-sized company, and the aspect of human empathy to such a degree that you might leave your team as a demoralized trainwreck. A hot dog cart is quite literally the pinnacle of management I would consider leaving in your capable hands.

        • Oasx says:

          It is important to remember that they may have gotten 3.3 million on kickstarter, but there are always backers that don’t have the money to pay when the campaign is over, kickstarter itself takes a chunk of the money and so does credit card fees. And then consider that they apparently spent 600.000$ on physical backer rewards, then the team probably ended up closer to 2 million dollars to make a game for.

  7. Phantom_Renegade says:

    On the other hand I learned plenty. Same lesson Kotick had already learned apparently. Don’t give Schafer money. He doesn’t know how to handle it. I asked him point blank during an ama kind of thing on Kotaku whether or not he’d hire a project manager on future projects since he made such a mess of it. He answered that he’d rather have all the control himself. See Tim, the problem is, you fuck up regularly as project manager. You fucked up during Broken Age, and apparently you fucked up pretty badly during Brutal Legend as well. You’re not good at that stuff. Which is fine. But until you hire someone to whom you are accountable when you go over budget and scope and whatever else, I’m no longer funding your kickstarters.

    • johnny5 says:

      When the goal is enriching Tim Schafer, not making great games, then it starts to make sense.

      • WJonathan says:

        And Tim Schafer’s goal is enriching his closet full of Krispy Kreme donut boxes. (He’s fat).

      • grimdanfango says:

        When the goal is trying everything in your power to avoid having a production team make the whole thing about money, and suck the soul out of what you’re creating, even if that means being a little less “efficient”, it begins to make sense.

        To be honest, in the long run I think production-oriented creative projects get a lot LESS done for the money than by doing it this way… it’s just all meticulously planned and accounted for, so people figure the money has been well spent.
        I’ve worked independantly in a completely aimless, slapdash fashion, with no notion of time-management, or even much in the way of planning, and I’ve achieved more in 3 months than a team of myself and 7 other people achieved in 9 months at a large, organised, industry-leading, production-heavy studio.

        Creativity and business are simply fundamentally at odds, and you can’t have one working well without the other struggling to keep up. That is why Tim tries to retain control. He knows the business side is going to be a perpetual struggle, but he also knows it’s absolutely worth it, as the alternative is utterly miserable for all concerned.

        • MisterFurious says:

          Artists do not make good businessmen, though. They need someone to run the business while they focus on creating the art. They can’t do both. If you look at the great film makers, most of them had a really good producer behind him. Yeah, it sucks when corporations control the artists and it’s more about the business than the art. Nothing good comes from that. The problem is is that you can’t have a game studio or a film studio that’s nothing but artists because you need people to handle the business side. Too many artists have horrible experiences dealing with corporate businessmen controlling their work and strike out on their own and try to run their own studio with no businessmen at all and it just doesn’t work. You need people to do paperwork and get financing and keep track of money and make phone calls and cut red tape. These studios with artists running them almost always fall apart. You need a balance between art and business. You need business men that know when to stay out of an artists way and let them create and when to step in and keep them in check when their ideas will seriously go overbudget. You also need artists that know when to listen to the businessmen and when to ignore them.

          • Nogo says:

            Except the only reason Double Fine still lives is because of sensible and creative business decisions. The documentary, the kickstarter that arguably started it all, Tim Schafer’s self-branding, their aggressive rights acquisitions and remastering, careful expansion in markets and demographics.

            I’m constantly baffled by their seeming incompetence but I’ll be damned if they don’t weather it well.

          • Hobbes says:

            They survive -despite- a lot of factors, much like any other business, however, at some point they’re going to either have to go big or go home. Because unless they’re willing to start actually facing some seriously difficult decisions about their expenses, they’re going to run out of money.

            As much as Philomelle loves to crow about “Empathy”, empathy doesn’t pay the bills, empathy doesn’t put food on the table, empathy doesn’t pay the wages. Living and doing business in San Fran currently is possibly the worst decision imaginable if you’re not a venture backed startup or a high flying, high earning company (or an employee working for either of the above). The costs are ridiculous and are only going up, and due to the likes of Google and Apple intent on setting up permanent HQ’s there, it’s going to get worse.

            If you’re a small developer of sub 100 bodies and you’re staring down the barrels of either running yourself out of cash or making significant savings by bailing out of San Fran, and thereby saving your business and the employees that depend on your business, well, it’s not a choice. You’ll save your business, because warm and fuzzies don’t put food on the table, and the only standing argument I’ve seen for staying in San Fran is “The coffee is good, dude.”

  8. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Hey RPS remember 2 months ago when you posted about DoubleFine re-launching Iron Brigade now that it dumped GFWL for steamworks?

    Well, for those last two months, this supposedly co-op shooter has had completely broken multiplayer for games of more than 2 people. That’s right, a game who’s only reason for existing is multiplayer… doesn’t have functioning multiplayer. Yet not only has this game not been pulled from the store- they’re still selling 4-packs!

    This company is pulling Molyneux-levels of bullshit on its customers.

  9. welverin says:

    This documentary easily justified the backing the kickstarter, well worth watching for anyone.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    When I backed this, like Graham, the main thing I was excited about was the documentary, getting a chance to look inside the creative process of Double Fine, and boy did they deliver! Between this and the Amnesia Fortnight jam there has never been a more comprehensive and unflinching portrayal of what it’s like to make videogames.

    This documentary and game and the crowdfunding surge they caused will go down in history as a turning point of transparency in game development. It used to be that open development was something a handful of indies did. Now you’ve got Epic building a new Unreal in the open, documentary stretch goals everywhere, development live streams…

    I was kind of over point & click adventures (at least the traditional kind), but I really enjoyed the game, even if I do think it could have been expanded in places…

    [SPOILERS] I wanted to see what was behind the plague dam, and I can’t help but wonder what a Fate of Atlantis-esque team up of Shay and Vella might’ve looked like, getting to really participate as a player in the full on dismantling of “[the antagonists’] whole way of doing things”[/SPOILERS], but I feel like that mostly just shows these were characters worth spending time with and a gorgeous world worth visiting…

    It may not be up there with Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle but the impact of this kickstarter and everything that came out of it will be felt for a long time to come…

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      I haven’t had a chance to play it yet but the Massive Chalice documentary and development streams were fascinating as well.

  11. Pliqu3011 says:

    Wonderful documentary. Without a doubt the best gaming-related one I’ve ever seen.

    I don’t get why so many angry people turn up wherever anything’s written about Tim Schafer and/or Double Fine nowadays.
    Judging by the complaints that turn up again and again I can only guess they don’t have a clue what game development (or any software really) is like. Deadlines get broken, it always costs more money than you’d expect.
    If these armchair developers took even a fraction of the time they spend being angry and loud on the interweb to watch this documentary, they’d know that every single one of their arguments is absolute nonsense.

  12. waltC says:

    The only people who find the “starving artist” mantra to be appealing and romantic are people who are not themselves starving…;) People berate the money-making motive, but let’s face it: without such a motive, without the need to make money to eat, clothe, and house one’s self, how many computer games would ever get made? My guess is none. More to the point: if no one needed to work in order to survive, how much work would get done–houses built, cars manufactured, computers designed, etc., ad infinitum? Basically it boils down to the fact that in order to survive and create a civilization, human beings have to work, and making money is simply a component of that mandate. If we didn’t have money we’d have barter, and money is far more flexible, wouldn’t you say? I see no reason at all that any artist has to starve in order to be creative and produce masterful works of art. Indeed, malnutrition hardly seems a boon to the artistic spirit…;)

  13. daz_uk says:

    I have worked in the games industry since 1999 and I have to say I absolutely loved the documentary. It captured the essence of what it’s all about, compromises and stress but with a strong team of passionate people around you it can turn into something special. It’s like, its one of the hardest things to do – making a game. Yet it can also be one of the most liberating and creative endeavours, knowing that potentially millions of people may witness your hard work. it’s what drives you to be better at it constantly.

    Anyway, that aside I think Tim Schaefer comes across as exactly what he is – a passionate, seasoned developer who wants to make successful games and also to have a great team of like-minded people around him to help achieve it. He seems to want to look after those people and genuinely cares.
    Of course I could be wrong but I would give a lot for some of my bosses in the past to be like this.
    Also, people really need to watch the whole thing to comment properly on it. Once that’s done then you still only have half the information, because unless you have worked in the industry or are very close to someone who has – you just can’t give an educated opinion on it. Well of course you can but it’s not worth that much because even the documentary will no doubt have cut LOTS of stuff Tim has to deal with every day just to keep the company afloat. It’s so easy to judge from afar, as useless as hindsight in the grand scheme of things.
    They live to fight another day, mostly intact. Thats success for most devs.