Double Fine Kicks Ass at Kickstarter to Fund New Adventure Game

February 9, 2012 — 4 Comments

Double Fine is the game developer behind great games like Psychonauts and Stacking. It’s also the brainchild of Tim Schafer, a former LucasArts employee who created Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango, two of the very best games ever made. Now Tim has teamed up with Ron Gilbert, creator of Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island, to create a brand new point-and-click adventure game. They’re doing it small-scale, with a planned Fall 2012 release. I can’t wait.

What’s more, Double Fine has decided to forego seeking a publisher. Publishers are a waste of time, and if Double Fine pitched a point-and-click adventure they’d get sent packing. Adventure games are dead! Tim and his brethren have taken the case to the fans instead. They’re going to fund the entire game development through Kickstarter.

The goal was to get fans to put up the cash for getting the game made. Anyone who donates also gets a copy of the game when it’s completed. On top of that, Double Fine has hired a documentary crew to create an ongoing series that shows all the ins and outs making a game.

This Kickstarter project is already extremely successful. Double Fine announced the project last night with a goal of $400,000 (that’s $300,000 for the game and $100,000 for the documentary). A totally reasonable goal. Well, in just about 16 hours by my current watch, the project has amassed over $725,000 from nearly 18,000 backers. That’s insane.

Seriously. Insane.

Schafer posted this on Twitter earlier today:

Absolutely nuts. I haven’t donated yet, but I definitely will. Most likely at the $30 level. If you’re a fan of indie gaming and classic adventure games I’d recommend doing the same. Even though they are already well beyond their original goal, the more money the project gets the more they can offer with the game. Versions for various platforms right out of the gate. More languages. More and better voice work. And best of all, it’s a slap in the face to major developers. It shows them that despite all their focus on huge, big-budget games, there are vast untapped markets just waiting for great smaller games.

Now if only Hollywood could get a slap in the face like that as well.

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4 responses to Double Fine Kicks Ass at Kickstarter to Fund New Adventure Game

  1. 

    Have you played any of Double Fine’s latest stuff? I’ve only caught up with Costume Quest, but it was a lot of fun. I like the fact they’re going for the smaller projects instead of AAA titles. I think they’ll do much better this way.

    It’ll be interesting to see what they make with a modern point and click adventure game. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit skeptical, but the folks at Tell Tale Games (who are also made up of a lot of old school Lucas Arts people) have done a good job of making some really fantastic modern adventure games.

    Also, what’s Day of the Tantacle? Never heard of it.

    • 

      I played Costume Quest and Stacking. Both were really good and really polished. To me it shows what’s capable when you make a small game but put the right amount of focus and energy in. It’s better than the Telltale model, quite frankly, which pops out decent games, but the way they approach episodic means the games feel somewhat half-baked.

      What’s interesting to me about this adventure game project is that it’s not episodic. It’s not a mini-game. They plan on making a full adventure game. And though the timeframe may seem small, I still remember that it took about 6 months to make the original Monkey Island with a team of about 10 people. Maybe less. Throw a bit more money at it, a few more people, the same amount of time and a good story idea and we could be looking at something special. The talent is certainly there. Of course, it could turn out crappy. Still, it’s a cause worth supporting.

      Also, I hate you.

  2. 

    I don’t care about this particular news as I don’t play video games but I’m assuming that in exchange for your financial commitment, you get a copy of the game or similar perks. I like the idea of this. Charity would be fine and all, but it is even easier to justify if you are just pre-ordering in a way that makes sure something you want comes to be. And of course the idea that you only pay if they get enough commitments to make it happen makes it a lower risk investment. It’s all very smart for capital strapped innovators.

    • 

      Yeah, Kickstarter is a great tool in that way. What’s impressive about this particular project is that it isn’t just some guy finishing a short film, or some random invention somebody came up with. There has been a pretty vocal minority asking for great point-and-click adventure games for years, and they’ve been asking people like Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert to try to get some made. The problem has been getting investment from a publisher. No publisher wanted to fund an adventure game, and no publisher would be interested in something as small scale as $300,000.

      Telltale games came up with a method, which was to get investment for an episodic platform. New episodes of limited series every month. It’s been quite successful, but quality has suffered.

      These guys thought about it and said, you know what? People have been asking us to make a game like this for so long, maybe they’d throw in $15 or $30 if they new the game would get made as a result and they’d get a copy. And then on top of that they throw in the added value of a really unique documentary series chronicling the production and a special community forum where backers can interact with the developers and give feedback during production. For higher donation amounts it does become more like donating to charity. There are gifts, but they obviously aren’t directly worth the amount given. There are tons of people who donated in those amounts, but even if you took them out of the equation the project would still have reached its $400,000 goal easily.

      The next step in a project like this would be getting profits back to the donors. Make it like a collective investment group. People could fund a movie, for example, and if it makes profit then people who put up money get something back based on a percentage share of investment. It’d be tricky, but it could be done. Joseph Gordon Levitt’s HitRecord project already does something like this.

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