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$1.6 Million and Counting

Double Fine's Kickstarter has been a massive success. Patrick caught up with Tim Schafer to talk budgets, expectations and 40,000 backers.

Double Fine's Kickstarter is at $1.6 million already, and there's still nearly a month left.

Tim Schafer was pretty nervous a week ago.

Just last month, an unannounced project had been cancelled at his studio, Double Fine Productions. Rather than laying anyone off, Schafer kept them on board, hoping a risk would pay off.

That risk was pitching a project to his fans that no publisher had ever seen. Schafer wanted to make a brand-new, traditional graphic adventure--the kind of game that made people fall in love with his sense of humor, long before they ever knew who he was.

Double Fine hoped to raise $400,000 through Kickstarter, a fairly new online service that allows anyone to pitch in their own money to make an idea a reality. The response was explosive. In one night, the Kickstarter hit $400,000. In 24 hours, it passed $1 million. As of right now, it's more than $1.6 million, with still a few weeks to go.

The Kickstarter launched while Schafer was attending the annual DICE Summit in Las Vegas with Double Fine producer Greg Rice and Iron Brigade project lead Brad Muir. Schafer had a few minutes on Friday afternoon, and was able to wrestle an iPad from Rice so he could chat with me about a roller coaster couple of days.

Naturally, because there were other people in the room, he had to talk to me from his hotel bathroom. Naturally.

Giant Bomb: How are you doing? I’m sure you’ve been asked that a million times, but I have to imagine your head space is changing every five minutes, considering your Kickstarter is changing every two seconds.

Tim Schafer: Now, I’m totally used to it, and I’m actually getting kind of upset that there’s money in the world that we don’t have. [laughs] I’m starting to think about all the money that’s not gone there yet because it’s easier to count.

It’s been incredible. It’s been amazing. I just wish I was at the office because every time I call the office, and I can tell from the emails, that everyone was just bouncing off the walls at Double Fine, and they had champagne and they were refreshing the screen and they crashed Kickstarter [from] refreshing it so much, and they hit a million and they all started screaming. I Skype’d in and I was listening to them, and the speaker just got all fuzzy because they were all screaming. It was exciting, it was really exciting.

GB: Was the plan always to do it this week, when you wouldn’t be around while all of this happened?

Schafer: No, no. We were just trying to get it done as soon as we could, and we wanted to get it done so we would be able to talk about it at GDC and stuff, because the thing goes for 30 days. We hadn’t realized it would become...like, I thought it would take all 30 days. I thought, in the first night, we’d be lucky if we hit $2,000--and we hit $400,000 in the first night. I didn’t expect for it to become a phenomenon while we were at DICE, but it’s fun because I know that everybody here, whenever they’re trying to plug their new games, has to answer questions about Kickstarter now. “I want to talk about Skyrim!” “Nooooo, are you going to fund the next Skyrim on Kickstarter?” People have to deal with that annoying question.

GB: You’re just trying to make Todd Howard’s life a living hell for the rest of DICE.

Schafer: [laughs] Yep.

GB: Did you actually think it would take 30 days?

Schafer: Yeah. Everybody told us that $400,000 was too high for our Kickstarter because most of the games on Kickstarter are a lot less expensive than that, and there have been Kickstarter projects that have approached a million dollars, but no one had hit a million dollars like that. The first one to hit a million dollars hit four hours before ours hit.

GB: The iPhone dock.

Schafer: But they were on the last day of their 30 days, right? They were at the end of their Kickstarter when they hit that, and we hit it on our first day. Not to be rubbing it in or anything! [laughs]

If you haven't played Day of the Tentacle, make these recent events a reason to finally dive in.

GB: It hits a million in 24 hours, but how far out did you scope where this could go? As you were planning this, was there a dream scenario where “What if we end up with a couple million dollars?”

Schafer: Uh, planning in advance...where is the microphone on this thing? Can you hear me okay? I just realized I was talking into the speaker. Ugh.

GB: I’m just imagining your face really close to the iPad, trying to speak sweet nothings into it.

Schafer: What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Planning ahead has never been a big forte of Double Fine. People were saying $400,000 was [too big]. Originally it was going to be $200,000, which is like an iPhone game. And I was like “Well, if we could just do something on Kickstarter for the fans, it would be fun, and it would be fun to make that documentary.” To go back to the beginning, people have talked about doing Kickstarters before, you know? A lot of people have brought this up.

GB: You guys have actually talked about it?

Schafer: It’s just been a buzz thing. For the past year, a lot of people have been talking about Kickstarter. Around our office, people have brought it up. At the time, our budgets for [games like] Stacking and Costume Quest were like $2 million, and Once Upon a Monster was more than that. I was like “We can’t make $2 million on Kickstarter, that’s crazy.” And then those guys from 2 Player Productions came to interview me for the Minecraft documentary they were filming. I got to know them, and they said “Hey, maybe we can do a documentary about Double Fine next,” and then we started talking about how they could fund the documentary on Kickstarter.

We were talking about what game we could have access to because if we were using one of the games in production, the publisher might not like that, they might not like their coverage of that being so broad. We were worried about secrets and unannounced stuff and all the hassles of getting approval for everything, so we thought: “Let’s just start a new project and we could have Kickstarter fund that, too.”

It was kind of out of necessity that we came up with a game--it was kind of as a sidenote. I was still nervous about, you know, if we just said “Hey, we’re making a game, give us $2 million.” That would have been hard. But then I thought about adventure games, and now that makes it an interesting proposition for fans because they’re able to fund something that we couldn’t have done without them. We could not have gone to a publisher and said we wanted to make a graphic adventure--at all. Maybe if we were only asking for $100,000 or something.

With $1.6 million raised so far, the Kickstarter is approaching the budget for Grim Fandango.

GB: Have you tried?

Schafer: I haven’t pitched a straight classic adventure. It’s just not worth it. I know, for a fact, [they would say no].

GB: You know the answer upfront, so it’s not even worth trying.

Schafer: Exactly. Maybe that leaves me open to all the publishers saying “Hey, we would have done this.” That relationship is all just something I didn’t really want, because when you have a publishing relationship, sometimes it works out great because you have aligned goals and you want to make the same thing, like with Happy Action Theater. Microsoft wanted to show what Kinect could do, and I was interested in that, too. That worked out great.

If we’re making an adventure game, you know a publisher would have mentioned “Maybe you should add an action sequence, or put a gun in it, or, I don’t know, maybe that character looks too old, you should make her younger.” These kinds of things. I don’t have to do any of that if I just go to the fans and have their trust and be like “Hey, I want to make something that’s really creative and cool, are you into it?” And they’re into it to a greater degree than I’d even hoped.

GB: Does the project change now that you have all this money? Do you start thinking you can do something larger, maybe it's episodic? Or is that something you figure out when you’re back at the office?

Schafer: We do, but we’ve been thinking about how...at first, at the earlier, smaller budget, it was going to be a cool, cute, little fun game, but it would probably be kind of hobbled as far as adventure games go. It wouldn’t have compared Day of the Tentacle or our old games because it was going to be a fraction of the price. But we’ve now passed the Day of the Tentacle budget, even if you’ve adjusted for inflation, we’ve passed Monkey Island 1 & 2 combined, we’ve passed the Happy Action Theater budget, and we’re almost, I haven’t checked recently, but we’re almost at $1.1--almost at $1.5, which is the Full Throttle budget. If we pass the Full Throttle budget, then the next thing we’re looking at is the Stacking and Costume Quest budgets and beyond that, Grim Fandango, at $3 [million].

Oh, I just told you all my secrets! [laughs]

GB: Well, I sent a note to Greg [Rice, producer at Double Fine] earlier saying “Hey, Tim’s tweeting all those budgets, just send me a list of the budgets!”

Schafer: Well, I do want to tweet those out, but go ahead, I told you.

GB: You didn’t give me all the numbers, so you can still have your fun. But as you go along this budget path, eventually you hit a pretty big gap, right? You probably get as high as Grim Fandango or something, but the jump to a Brutal Legend or a Psychonauts is huge. On Reddit, there’s an image of someone asking you about the gap to get to Psychonauts 2 from what you’re currently at with the Kickstarter, and you mentioned it being something like $19 million more dollars. How seriously do you entertain those thoughts? It’s really easy to see people start running away with this. How do you ground yourself?

Schafer: I’ve been very surprised by the success of it so far, so it’s taught me that maybe I’m not the best at predicting. Nobody was really good at predicting this one. I guess I assumed this [the Kickstarter] would be a good test. I couldn’t take the money and make Psychonauts with it because some people have backed the project based on a certain promise that it’s going to be an adventure game, so it wouldn’t be right to take it and make Psychonauts with it. Maybe we could put it up to a vote! But I actually want to make an old graphic adventure, so we keep it this way and use this as a test to see if we can go bigger.

I think people are asking a lot of publishers and developers out there. At DICE, you can tell people are asking these interview questions, “Well, has this changed everything? Are you going to do Kickstarters to fund all your development now?” I think it really has to be a special thing. I think it’s definitely a possibility to do it a lot more, but I think each time you do it, it has to be a good story for people to get behind. I think the story of us making a graphic adventure when we couldn’t have done it any other way is a good story. I think there are more stories to be done that way, and there might be one that is equal to $20 million dollars. I don’t know.

GB: I think that’s been interesting--the one pushback I’ve seen is extrapolating too much out of this. Double Fine making an adventure game, and having you make an adventure game is a very specific story to tell, and just saying “I’m gonna make a game” isn’t enough. But it’s, at least, encouraging to other developers that have a story. There are other stories that can be funded through this way.

Schafer: Exactly. It’s a good lesson because even when you’re pitching to a publisher, it’s a good lesson in how having a good story is the most important part of a pitch, whether you’re talking to fans or publishers. Having it make sense, why this developer is making game at this time, is always something you should have clear in your mind before you ask anybody for money. You can’t just go “I feel like making something. Gimme some money.”

Brutal Legend was greeted with a mixed reaction, but almost everyone agreed it was hilarious.

GB: Do you consider this validation for what you’ve been doing your whole life? This is such a different scenario than the way you traditionally sell a game, where you get the money afterwards and hopefully it’s a success, but this is people, upfront, telling you how much they believe in what you’ve done before you’ve even produced anything.

Schafer: That’s been really flattering and touching. It’s been really emotional for the whole team, I think, because we’ve had a roller coaster ride in the last couple of years. Just last month we had a project cancelled, and it was really hard on us, and we were like “Are we going to have to lay people off?” But instead, we decided to keep everyone together, and having that at a time when we’ve been struggling, to have this huge outpouring of love from the community and the fans and other developers...it’s just been something that reminded everyone at the company that what they’re doing is noticed by people and matters to people.

GB: It’s a reflection of the enthusiasm. From my perspective, as someone who has watched Double Fine over the years, Double Fine has always come across as a studio that’s never caught that break. It’s a studio that should be much bigger and a much larger success, and the sales and the size don’t reflect people’s reverence for what comes out from the studio. Unlike buying a game at a GameStop or Amazon, this is a much more direct way for people to show their appreciation for what the studio has done over the years.

Schafer: I think so, it’s had that effect on us. It has been a perplexing question. There’s always been a really passionate community, and a really supportive community of Double Fine fans. Or when I walk around the Game Developers Conference and people come up and talk to me and they’re so appreciative about the games and I appreciate them playing them and there’s seems to be so much love out there. And then, when you release a game and the sales are underwhelming, you kind of wonder “How can there be so much love and so little money?” [laughs]

But I’ve always accepted that as the path we’ve chosen. We always want to make games that were experimental and unusual and risky and creative, and also realize there’s a lot of self-determination--own our IP, control our own business and not be told what to do, and that just makes your life harder. That means you don’t get money thrown at you. If you want to do what other people want you to do in life, it’s a lot easier. If you do what you want to do, it’s a lot harder. We’ve always accepted that.

Then, this Kickstarter thing happened, and people were able to express themselves and make themselves heard in a financial way, which is totally new and crazy. And if you look at the number of backers, it’s just like 40,000, which is the highest number of backers they’ve had on Kickstarter, but 40,000 is not high for the sales of a game, right? If you sold 40,000 copies of a game, that would be considered a flop. For a Kickstarter project, it’s considered the greatest success. Why is that? [sighs]

Full Throttle was my first Tim Schafer game, and it still holds a special place in my heart.

GB: It’s not too different from what we’ve been trying to do over at Giant Bomb. The traditional idea is that you need to dominate in order to be a success, but there has to be a way to be happy with what you’re creating, create something that other people enjoy, and do that without having to take over the world in the process. There has to be a way to make that balance, and we try to do that on the editorial side, but it seems like Kickstarter provides a way to maybe do that on the creative side.

Schafer: Yeah, I agree.

GB: I know you’re going to have the discussion board, but how influential are people going to be in the development process, and have you thought about the consequences of inviting 40,000 people to be involved in that process?

Schafer: [laughs] Well, I feel like it’s more about the openness. We’re opening the doors and letting them see the whole process and see the art and hearing what people feel about everything--even 40,000 people--that will be our job for a while. [knock at the door] Do you need to use the bathroom?

Greg Rice: Are you just sitting there?

Schafer: [sigh]

Rice: Wrap it up--I’m sorry!

Schafer: I’m going to go stand in the shower now.

Listening to what they [backers] feel about it is not that different from what I do all the time at Double Fine. Double Fine is a very collaborative office, and everybody feels entitled to and is asked to contribute their ideas to the game. But at the end of the day, I’m responsible for my game and project leaders are responsible for their games and we have to make calls about whether we agree with all that feedback or not. We’re still on the hook for making a great game, so we have to listen to the feedback and filter it and make a great game out of it.

GB: Alright, Tim, I’ll let you go and let someone use the bathroom. I appreciate you taking a couple of minutes. Congratulations--it’s been really fun to watch.

Schafer: Thanks a lot.

281 Comments
Edited by Wes

@HelixNebula said:

Not everyone seems to like this.

Link Removed

He does bring up some valid points.

Duders this is pure spam, report it. The guy created his account today and posted this message 5 minutes after making the account. The name HelixNebula also happens to coincide with the name of the intro theme to their podcast, Helix Nebula by Anamanaguchi. His statement "not everyone seems to like this" is merely trying to drive up site views through confrontation. I would say the user is either the author of the piece or another contributor to the website.

Stop giving them hits.

EDIT: Made a modification based on Mumrik's input.

Posted by Tamaster92

i agree wholeheartedly with Patrick on the fact that double fine seems to have never caught a break, im so glad they finally have been able to see just how many fans they really have.

Posted by BrianP

@Wes: A+ internet sleuthing

Posted by Wuddel

Is it just me or I am the only person that does not want at all to know what this games is about or looks like until I receive my Steam key in the mail? I do not want to take part in creating. This documentary seems like a huge spoiler. Its cool to watch it afterwards though.

Posted by Tordah

I can't wait to see what this game will be like.

Posted by Mumrik

@Wes said:

@HelixNebula said:

Not everyone seems to like this.

http://www.blablabla.bla/sunday-edition-kickstarter-double-fine.html

He does bring up some valid points.

Duders this is pure spam, report it. The guy created his account today and posted this message 5 minutes after making the account. He stated "not everyone seems to like this" while there were NO COMMENTS on the post (he's just trying to drive up site views through confrontation). And the name HelixNebula just happens to coincide with the name of the intro theme to their podcast, Helix Nebula by Anamanaguchi.

Stop giving them hits.

Good call, though you're wrong on the "not everyone seems to like this" part. He is referring to the writer (who might be himself).

Posted by JacDG

I don't have any affinity for Double Fine, have yet to play Costume Quest and Stacking (although I bought both) and I thought Trenched/Iron Brigade was.... bad, I don't like point and click that much either, yet I spend 35 bucks helping them out, why?

Posted by EnchantedEcho

Great story, great interview. Good job Patrick.

Posted by paulunga

@JacDG said:

I don't have any affinity for Double Fine, have yet to play Costume Quest and Stacking (although I bought both) and I thought Trenched/Iron Brigade was.... bad, I don't like point and click that much either, yet I spend 35 bucks helping them out, why?

I trust them to produce an enjoyable game and that's why I gave them money, plus Grim Fandango and the Monkey Island series are probably my favourite point'n'click adventure games. I love Double Fine and I also have no idea why you would do that. Seems like a waste to me, really. Give the money to a charity instead if you have no interest in the product.

Posted by Balex1908

@Cozmicaztaway said:

@Xevabis said:

@Balex1908: I'm gonna say that with the $20 million budget for Brutal Legend, at least 50% of it was for the voice actors.

The entire game was $24 million, which seems like a crazy amount of money and yet NOT super high, at the same time, weirdly.

No data on how much of that is voice actors and music licensing, however (and it was totally worth it because we got Lemmy, Motorhead, Bodom and Tim Curry, and other awesome things).

Source: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4308/postmortem_double_fines_brutal_.php?page=6

I forgot about the voice actors, makes more sense now.

Posted by Kevin_Cogneto

@vinsanityv22 said:

I don't care much for graphic "adventures" (pointing and clicking isn't exactly Uncharted. I have no idea why this genre stole the word "adventure")...

It's because the first game in the genre was called "Adventure" and the name stuck.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_Cave_Adventure

Posted by budgietheii

Wait, Giant Bomb doesn't want to take over the world? How disappointing.

Online
Posted by Wes

@Mumrik: Yeah I agree with you there, changed my original post.

Posted by Sergotron

Great interview, nicely done Mr. Patrick.

Posted by Zlimness

This is so fucking cool. Pitched in $15. Make whatever you want, Schafer.

Posted by SockLobster

@HelixNebula said:

I'm a stupid spamming, edgy jerk face. Don't visit my website.
Posted by Scotto

@Balex1908 said:

@Cozmicaztaway said:

@Xevabis said:

@Balex1908: I'm gonna say that with the $20 million budget for Brutal Legend, at least 50% of it was for the voice actors.

The entire game was $24 million, which seems like a crazy amount of money and yet NOT super high, at the same time, weirdly.

No data on how much of that is voice actors and music licensing, however (and it was totally worth it because we got Lemmy, Motorhead, Bodom and Tim Curry, and other awesome things).

Source: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4308/postmortem_double_fines_brutal_.php?page=6

I forgot about the voice actors, makes more sense now.

Keep in mind they made their own graphics engine for the game, too. In the QL for Trenched, Brad Muir made mention of the fact that it uses parts of the Brutal Legend engine.

Posted by Scotto

@vinsanityv22 said:

I don't care much for graphic "adventures" (pointing and clicking isn't exactly Uncharted. I have no idea why this genre stole the word "adventure"), but I will kick a few bucks to the Kickstarter in the hopes that Double Fine will get around to releasing another Costume Quest (or Costume Quest-esque title) with the money. Or Psychonauts 2. And hopefully it will release on PS3 so I can play it, instead of this Xbox exclusive silliness that has taken control of their last two games...

Microsoft published their last two games. I'm sure they'd be willing to make a PS3 game, if Sony wanted to give them money to do so.

Edited by Lucidlife

I know Double Fine is loved by GB but Brutal Legend wasn't funny. At all. The minute Jack Black got involved it doomed that game.

Edited by Branthog

I gladly gave them my money. There are a few guys in this industry that I will gladly just throw my money at, no mater what. Even if I don't think I'll truly enjoy their next project (that isn't the case, here - I'm sure I'll love it). The gaming industry needs people like Tim and I'm going to make sure that I do my part to support what he does.

@Pop said:

Tim said that a game selling 40.000 copies is a flop, but all those 40.000 ppl didn't donate just 15$ some donated 100 1000 etc. so some ppl bought the game 100 times xD, also this thing is crazy and doesn't kickstarter take a part of this?

To clarify a couple things. First, these aren't donations. These are people paying for things. They just don't get the product, yet. This is a company saying "so, we want to make this thing, but we don't have a business case to justify the investment of money and resources to do it" and then saying "but if we can get enough people to buy the game ahead of time -- to give us the funds to make the game for them -- we can totally do it". That's the entire point of Kickstarter, frankly. It's to generate capital to produce something that people want enough to pay for it ahead of time.

Second, 40,000 is obviously enough to support a game. You'll notice that more than 40,000 of the current 45,000 backers chipped in only $15 or $30 (for the game or the game plus HD version of the documentary). However, 40,000 buyers after the fact would not be enough to justify making and publishing the game. After everyone took their cut (including the publisher, who would take easily 50% of the money from every copy sold), you would need hundreds of thousands to justify the project.

When you cut out the middle-men, you can suddenly make a solid living with a much smaller audience. Google around for an essay (I forget who it was written by) called "1,00 True Fans". The premise is that you don't need to cater to everyone. If you can find 1,000 true fans of your work and cater just to their specific wants to the point that they're willing to give you $100/yr, you can make a solid living. This is why things like Trent Reznor giving albums away digitally, but then selling huge collector's packages with autographs and all sorts of goodies for $300 works. Because the smaller group of "true fans" will be eager to spend their money in support.

The beauty of this is that games like this and studios like Double Fine can appeal directly to the fans of a genre or franchise and say "look, there probably aren't enough people to buy this for a publisher to give us the greenlight on making it, but if enough of you support us by pre-ordering a copy and maybe throwing us a few extra bucks for cool goodies like posters and autographs and handmade artwork, we can afford it". That $1.6m goes a LOT farther when it all goes to the developers. It allows things to be made that never otherwise could. I don't know if this would ever be applied to a huge AAA game. I don't think it could and I don't think it would. But it's perfect for keeping games alive that don't have a guaranteed million seller market built in.

And, yes, Kickstarter takes 5% and VISA takes 3-5% for payment processing. That's fine. You're unlikely to find any way on earth that you could just put up a page and process transactions for less than that on your own. You're generally looking at 5% to 12% of every transaction, if you go it on your own. Plus, you wouldn't have the "escrow" type functionality that Kickstarter offers (allowing all funds to be returned if the goal isn't met). There is an additional "expense" to take into account here, too. Attrition. Something like 10% of all backers end up not following through. They cancel before the final day or on the final day, something is wrong with their credit card and the transaction can't go through. At worst, you're probably looking at their current $1.7m turning into about $1.4m. Pretty reasonable.

Of course, a couple million is still pretty low. The average game costs $20m. Most of Double Fine's recent games had a budget of $1.5-$3m. But the difference - again - is that this is all going straight to the developers and they're making a game that is much cheaper to produce. They're not making Costume Quest or Trenched, here. They're making a point-and-click adventure. This budget surpasses their previous point-and-clicks by two or three times (adjusted for inflation, I believe).

Anyway, the important thing for people to remember is that kickstarter funding isn't donating. It isn't investing. It's just saying "I believe in this project and I want this product and I'm willing to put my money down today so you can fund the project and bring me the product tomorrow". And all the nice little extras are there to entice higher bidding amounts. When else are you going to get a chance to buy your own character in a game from a beloved developer or buy a piece of custom artwork from the artists behind it?

Posted by Branthog

@Tamaster92 said:

i agree wholeheartedly with Patrick on the fact that double fine seems to have never caught a break, im so glad they finally have been able to see just how many fans they really have.

Couldn't agree more. Schafer doesn't always make things that I love, but I am a big fan and will gladly support him in everything he does. The industry needs people like him and Double Fine to counter the lack of spirit and soul in much of the rest of the industry. I will continue to throw money at Tim Schafer, every time he asks. Period.

Posted by Keeyez

I hope Double FIne keeps up their good work. They seem like such a great group of people.

Posted by contemporation

Who cares how many articles are published and how many tweets are tweeted about this? The more people who are talking about this means more money in the kickstarter fund which means a more kickass game.

Posted by myslead

I have never played Full Throttle, but always wanted to play it, the Motorcycle guy looked so badass... never got around to rent it or whatever when I was younger :(

Posted by Morrow

Sounds good!

Edited by Cozmicaztaway

@Branthog said:

Something like 10% of all backers end up not following through. They cancel before the final day or on the final day, something is wrong with their credit card and the transaction can't go through. At worst, you're probably looking at their current $1.7m turning into about $1.4m. Pretty reasonable.

Oh yeah, crudbuckets, my card isn't valid for that long. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!

It is good for the remaining period though, so hah, nevermind, we're all good DOuble Fine! Take my money, please!

Posted by Branthog

@Lucidlife said:

I know Double Fine is loved by GB but Brutal Legend wasn't funny. At all. The minute Jack Black got involved it doomed that game.

And my guess would be that - with the price tag of development and everything else involved in it being a huge packaged production and rollout for consoles - it is the game Schafer has had the least input on and control over. Further illustrating why appealing to your fans to allow you to have autonomy over your own projects is so valuable.

Posted by Nerdmotron

Great interview.

Posted by StitchJones

Now hurry up and make the damn game!

Posted by Branthog

@Cozmicaztaway said:

@Branthog said:

Something like 10% of all backers end up not following through. They cancel before the final day or on the final day, something is wrong with their credit card and the transaction can't go through. At worst, you're probably looking at their current $1.7m turning into about $1.4m. Pretty reasonable.

Oh yeah, crudbuckets, my card isn't valid for that long. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!

You should click the big "manage my pledge" button on the kickstarter page for Double Fine and update it with your new credit card information, before the fundraising ends. Seriously, there is about 10% attrition here, so they could lose $150k just in people not thinking about the fact that their credit card won't be processed until a month later. :)

Posted by Airickson

With this game being made without pressure/input from a publisher, it puts a fine point on the quality at the end of the day. If it's not well-received, it is 100% a reflection on DF -- there will be no way to deflect it. For this reason, I give big props to DF for going about things this way -- a lot of pressure on them to deliver.

Edited by Kevin_Cogneto

@Branthog said:

@Lucidlife said:

I know Double Fine is loved by GB but Brutal Legend wasn't funny. At all. The minute Jack Black got involved it doomed that game.

And my guess would be that - with the price tag of development and everything else involved in it being a huge packaged production and rollout for consoles - it is the game Schafer has had the least input on and control over. Further illustrating why appealing to your fans to allow you to have autonomy over your own projects is so valuable.

Actually, since that game was without a publisher for the better part of a year after Activision dropped them, I'd say the opposite is probably true. Brutal Legend was his baby. I mean hey, I love Tim Schafer, but in my opinion the flaws of Brutal Legend can be placed at his feet just as equally as its strengths. He's a great writer and an incredibly creative person, but gameplay mechanics are not his strong suit, sadly. Which is why I'm psyched for this adventure game. He's already proven over and over that he can design the shit out of a good puzzle. An RTS encounter? Eh, not so much maybe.

Posted by Cybexx

With Double Fine seeing some success with their recent projects I am curious now as to what the cancelled project was.

Online
Posted by NegativeCero

I have now started Day of the Tentacle after reading this.

Posted by Undeadpool

From Monkey Island to Day of the Tentacle to Full Throttle, Tim Schaffer and co. have shown their mastery of the point-and-click adventure game. As much as I desperately want a new Costume Quest (you can't leave me hanging on that cliffhanger ending of the DLC!!), I say go with the gaming gods on this new project!

Posted by HaroldoNVU

That has nothing to do with the article the the images just make me wonder what is wrong with LucasArts that they don't just release those old games on GOG or other digital distribution services. Not just their adventure games, the old X-Wing and Tiefigther games too. There's a few old games on Steam, including Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis which is amazing, but that doesn't do enough justice to LucasArt's amazing library.

Posted by Branthog

@Kevin_Cogneto said:

@Branthog said:

@Lucidlife said:

I know Double Fine is loved by GB but Brutal Legend wasn't funny. At all. The minute Jack Black got involved it doomed that game.

And my guess would be that - with the price tag of development and everything else involved in it being a huge packaged production and rollout for consoles - it is the game Schafer has had the least input on and control over. Further illustrating why appealing to your fans to allow you to have autonomy over your own projects is so valuable.

Actually, since that game was without a publisher for the better part of a year after Activision dropped them, I'd say the opposite is probably true. Brutal Legend was his baby. I mean hey, I love Tim Schafer, but in my opinion the flaws of Brutal Legend can be placed at his feet just as equally as its strengths. He's a great writer and an incredibly creative person, but gameplay mechanics are not his strong suit, sadly. Which is why I'm psyched for this adventure game. He's already proven over and over that he can design the shit out of a good puzzle. An RTS encounter? Eh, not so much maybe.

You know, I had completely forgotten about all of the drama. The lawsuits. The EA and Vivendi stuff. And it all went down around E3 time, I seem to recall. On the other hand, kudos to Schafer for reportedly calling Bobby Kotick a "prick". That still makes me smile. (I had to dig around to find the full context, it has been so long):

When asked in an interview whether Kotick can really be blamed for wanting to make as much money as possible, Schafer replied, "Well, he doesn't have to be as much of a dick about it, does he? I think there is a way he can do it without being a total prick. It seems like it would be possible. It's not something he's interested in. He definitely has that that kind of widget-maker attitude. I don't think he's great for the industry, overall. You can't just latch onto something when it's popular and then squeeze the life out of it and then move on to the next one. You have to at some point create something, build something. He could go to an industry that makes more money. Ball bearings... Something that suits his passions more. Weapons manufacturing?"

Posted by RagingLion

Good to see this interview - just read another one with Tim beforehand, but I was really wanting to hear his take in more detail on things after it all kicked off.

Donesn't sound like Double FIne were doing perfectly does it beforehand from this.

Posted by fidgetwidget

This has been the most touching story in games I have heard in a long time. Not since the beginnings of Megaman Legends 3 and Megaman Universe (both which ended badly) have I felt so excited for this industry.

I really hope that more of these types of stories happen, but I worry that the stronger and more money hungry groups (Zynga for instance) try to capitalize on these new venues so quickly that many of the GOOD stories they are enabling won't get told.

I would even like to hear more of the stories of failure to be honest. I took two years to try and create a game on my own, and failed due to rough luck and a few bad decisions, and stories just like mine happen all the time... but no one hears them.

Wishing all the best for Tim and his crew, they are some of the best hearts and minds in gaming IMO!

Posted by umdesch4

....aaaand....

Title needs updating to $1.7 Million and Counting

Posted by superscatman

@HelixNebula said:

Not everyone seems to like this.

http://www.pixelperfectmag.com/2012/02/sunday-edition-kickstarter-double-fine.html

He does bring up some valid points.

This guy seems to have a uninformed opinion on Double Fine's financial situation. Tim even said in this interview that they were worried that they were going to have to downsize .The person who wrote the article thinks that because he played the games or has at least heard of them it means they have to have been a financial success.

Also, the idea of giving the extra money to charity is really dumb. It was given to them to make a game, if the people wanted to give to a charity they would have in the first place.

The guy who wrote the article seems awfully upset that people who are fans of a company are giving a company money to make a game that they want.

Posted by Brenderous

I want to see the video that this article's thumbnail was taken from.

Posted by HaroldoNVU

@Undeadpool said:

From Monkey Island to Day of the Tentacle to Full Throttle, Tim Schaffer and co. have shown their mastery of the point-and-click adventure game. As much as I desperately want a new Costume Quest (you can't leave me hanging on that cliffhanger ending of the DLC!!), I say go with the gaming gods on this new project!

I hear you. I've played through Costume Quest on the week before last Halloween and was completely hooked since the beginning. I'm not one to play a single game on huge sittings, usually will get tired after 1-3 hours, but I finished the game in one sitting, one smelly and sweaty ass on the couch sitting. I hope they get around to making that sequel this or next year.

But adventure is still my favorite genre and if people like Schafer, Tornquist or Jensen say they feel like making another one I just say "by your command".

Posted by Cozmicaztaway

@Branthog said:

@Cozmicaztaway said:

@Branthog said:

Something like 10% of all backers end up not following through. They cancel before the final day or on the final day, something is wrong with their credit card and the transaction can't go through. At worst, you're probably looking at their current $1.7m turning into about $1.4m. Pretty reasonable.

Oh yeah, crudbuckets, my card isn't valid for that long. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!

You should click the big "manage my pledge" button on the kickstarter page for Double Fine and update it with your new credit card information, before the fundraising ends. Seriously, there is about 10% attrition here, so they could lose $150k just in people not thinking about the fact that their credit card won't be processed until a month later. :)

Thanks for the tip, realized it's by the end of the pledge though, not when the game launches, so I'm cool. Yay!

And the Kotick-thing, Tim regrets he said that... out loud (while still totally sticking by what he said).

Posted by Grimluck343

So glad to see this be super successful.

Posted by umdesch4

Yeah, so maybe they didn't have the first kickstarter project to break a million, but I'll bet it's the first project to break 2 million! That's slightly cooler, IMHO.

Posted by HaroldoNVU

@superscatman said:

This guy seems to have a uninformed opinion on Double Fine's financial situation. Tim even said in this interview that they were worried that they were going to have to downsize .The person who wrote the article thinks that because he played the games or has at least heard of them it means they have to have been a financial success.

(...)

Also uninformed opinion about the current state of adventure games. Sure, almost none are high budget projects like Heavy Rain, and the genre is not mainstream, but there are a lot of proper adventure games coming out every year, not just "escape the room" or "hidden-object" games as he implies. If there weren't people interested in those that wouldn't be so many. On Steam alone I usually see a new one almost every month.

Posted by CanItRunBF3

While I have not liked a TS game since Psychonauts, this is still a really cool story and that was a good interview. How does this whole thing work? Are the 40,000 people investors in the game, and stand to profit, or is the 1.6M considered a donation?

Posted by LordXavierBritish

I wish I could talk to Tim Schafer in a bathroom.

Posted by KestrelPi

@CanItRunBF3: It's not quite a donation and it's not quite an investment. It's a pledge - in return for pledging the money, you get various rewards: the game itself, soundtracks, other fancy things. So it's not really a donation, since you're getting something and not really an investment because the only return you're getting on it is the actual product itself and any other rewards depending on your pledge level.