Schafer gives first Double Fine Adventure Update to Backers

#1 Edited by Branthog (5562 posts) -

Thanks to the large fan backing, so far, Schafer updates us that:

  • They're going to be able to add more platforms and voices.
  • It'll be on PC, Mac, Linux, and some iOS and Android devices.
  • They'll have actual voice acting in the English version.
  • Text will be translated to French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
  • They'll be using the Steam Beta platform for the closed beta that backers will be participating.

And, in what seems like a very big and generous step considering the state of gaming and the tenuous budget Double Fine is constantly working with, they're going to release the game without DRM as an option to backers (and, from what I understood in the video, also for non-backers, at a later date -- which seems entirely fair so that eventually there will be no DRM but they will be able to try and protect their investment during the most profitable period of the game's life, which is a compromise I've always considered fair in my estimation... DRM it up front, if you want, but promise me that like after a year or something, you'll strip it out for us).

I'm looking forward to more of these. I was unsure how deep the documentary would go and before we even get documentary stuff, to have just flat out "here's what we're thinking/doing" while the fundraising is still ongoing is giving me cause for optimism.

Also, as a side-point, I didn't see it discussed anywhere here, but Apparently in the discussion between Schafer and Notch, Schafer (who said this whole Notch thing was like being proposed to in front of a huge audience on a jumbotron) told Notch it would cost at least $13,000,000 to make a Psychonauts sequel. To which Notch responded "Yeah, I can do that". -- source: http://pcper.com/news/General-Tech/Just-how-much-money-down-mine-anyway-Mojang-Psychonauts-2-could-need-least-13M-Not

That seems crazy, unless Notch and Mojang have raked in far more money in the last six months (since they reached $60,000,000 in sales) than we are aware of. I mean, even if Notch personally has $30,000,000 sitting in an account somewhere, that's almost half of it. God damn. Either he's far wealthier than we know, he's gambling that the investment will pay off far more than any publisher is willing to prognosticate, or he just doesn't give a fuck and really wants that Psychonauts!

.

.

.

(I posted this to General, because it seems that this whole thing has been so widely discussed and such a catalyst for discussion industry-wide that it might be worth more of a general view than just a Tim Schafer or Double Fine or Double Fine Adventure forum - and then, which one of those to place it in, anyway? But feel free to do whatever if you disagree.)

#2 Posted by Hitchenson (4682 posts) -

"* Tim and I haven’t spoken much at all other than a couple of emails.

* We mentioned meeting at GDC, I hope that will happen

* I assume Double Fine will be very busy for many months with the kickstarter project

* The budget for doing a Psychonauts 2 is three times higher than my initial impression

* A couple of other parties have mentioned also being interested in investing in it

* I would not be investing in this as a charity. It would be because I think the game would be profitable"

From Notch about this stuff.

#3 Posted by SSully (4199 posts) -

I am just happy about the voice acting. I could live without it, but it makes the game that much better.

Also the notch thing is crazy. They obviously make more money because of the IOS and android version and other side stuff, but it can't be that much more?

#4 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think that reflects why most other donors from other communities did it.
So I think it's safe to predict, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

#5 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -
@AhmadMetallic said:
From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game..   I think it is a safe prediction, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.
90% really? or did you just pull that out of your ass?  
 
I donated because I'm excited about what Tim and Ron come up with based on games they've done together before
#6 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -
@ZeForgotten said:

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game..   I think it is a safe prediction, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

90% really? or did you just pull that out of your ass?   I donated because I'm excited about what Tim and Ron come up with based on games they've done together before
Suk me Forgotten. Going through that article you can see most people praise the campaign/fundraiser itself rather than what the campaign is for. 90% doesn't actually mean NINETY PERCENT, it means most/almost all. Idiotta! 
 
My argument is about why people donated versus what the actual point and click game will sell (in light of the sales/popularity of previous p&c games).. The argument doesn't necessarily mean I hate the developer or the upcoming game or the donors, it's just an argument and I think it makes a lotta damn sense.
#7 Posted by SpunkyHePanda (1680 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think that reflects why most other donors from other communities did it.So I think it's safe to predict, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

I don't think most of the donors give a shit about the ins and outs of getting a game published. They want a new adventure game from Tim Schafer.

Online
#8 Edited by Kevin_Cogneto (1083 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

@ZeForgotten said:
@AhmadMetallic said:
From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think it is a safe prediction, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.
90% really? or did you just pull that out of your ass? I donated because I'm excited about what Tim and Ron come up with based on games they've done together before
Suk me forgotten. Going through that article you can see most people praise the campaign/fundraiser itself rather than what the campaign is for. 90% doesn't actually mean NINETY PERCENT, it means most/almost all. Idiotta!

Oh, so you were saying 90% in the general, non-specific sense! It's like when I tell women that I'm a millionaire, when what I really mean is I have a lot of money relative to, say, a homeless person. So it's not really complete bullshit at all! It's just an expression, it's not like I'm giving a specific number to my net worth or anything.

Oh and by the way, the vast majority of the donor comments on Kickstarter are excitement about an adventure game, and only a minority give a shit about the arcane inside-baseball publishing woes of video game developers.

#9 Posted by Branthog (5562 posts) -

@Hitchenson said:

"* Tim and I haven’t spoken much at all other than a couple of emails.

* We mentioned meeting at GDC, I hope that will happen

* I assume Double Fine will be very busy for many months with the kickstarter project

* The budget for doing a Psychonauts 2 is three times higher than my initial impression

* A couple of other parties have mentioned also being interested in investing in it

* I would not be investing in this as a charity. It would be because I think the game would be profitable"

From Notch about this stuff.

Yeah, I've been following every step of this and it's obvious that Notch isn't going to invest millions in the project as a charity, but I also have to consider the reality that if there was profit to be made in full out producing and publishing Psychonauts 2, someone would have jumped at the chance. Publishers perform a lot of work analyzing a game's potential market and I can't imagine Notch has access to any more data and research on the Psychonauts business cause other than "gamers love it and I love it" -- which makes it seem to me that even if he hopes for a return on his investment, it has to be more a passion than investment. Especially if $13m isn't a problem for him.

Anyway, yeah, Tim's comment in the article that instigated this made it seem like three or four million bucks would be enough and I suspect Notch thought that, too. However, if Notch bankrolled a third of it, I'm postive other investors would come out of the woodwork.

Hell, Notch could fund a third. Fans would easily fund a third in another Kickstarter. Then find one other investor for the other third. Not out of the realm of possibility.

But yeah, his timing on all of this was crazy and I'm sure they'll keep talking well after the GDC meeting, but this next year is certainly going to be tied up in the adventure game.

#10 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -
@AhmadMetallic said:
@ZeForgotten said:

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game..   I think it is a safe prediction, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

90% really? or did you just pull that out of your ass?   I donated because I'm excited about what Tim and Ron come up with based on games they've done together before
Suk me Forgotten. Going through that article you can see most people praise the campaign/fundraiser itself rather than what the campaign is for. 90% doesn't actually mean NINETY PERCENT, it means most/almost all. Idiotta! 
 
My argument is about why people donated versus what the actual point and click game will sell (in light of the sales/popularity of previous p&c games).. The argument doesn't necessarily mean I hate the developer or the upcoming game or the donors, it's just an argument and I think it makes a lotta damn sense.
Wait, hold on "Suk me" ? Is that some sort of insult where you come from? All I asked was if you pulled that number out of your ass and you started speaking voodoo.  
Never said anything about your argument at all so instead of mashing different words together you should try reading a bit :P 
 
All I got from "Suk me" is "Sigh Me" .. 
#11 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -

If they are going to release a version with no DRM why are they then choosing to saddle some versions with it? The pirates will just upload the non DRM version for people to download.

#12 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1801 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think that reflects why most other donors from other communities did it.So I think it's safe to predict, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

Ignoring the first part, because more than enough people are going to attack you for that already...

How will this venture be unsuccessful financially? That would necessitate receiving less money than they will spend. They already received their allocated budget, and have far exceeded that, allowing them to expand on what they can do.

#13 Posted by Dagbiker (6977 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

@ZeForgotten said:

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think it is a safe prediction, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

90% really? or did you just pull that out of your ass? I donated because I'm excited about what Tim and Ron come up with based on games they've done together before
Suk me Forgotten. Going through that article you can see most people praise the campaign/fundraiser itself rather than what the campaign is for. 90% doesn't actually mean NINETY PERCENT, it means most/almost all. Idiotta!

My argument is about why people donated versus what the actual point and click game will sell (in light of the sales/popularity of previous p&c games).. The argument doesn't necessarily mean I hate the developer or the upcoming game or the donors, it's just an argument and I think it makes a lotta damn sense.

90% of your argument sucks. also it is already a commercial success, haven't you heard, its made over 1.6 mil.

#14 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -
@Kevin_Cogneto said:

@AhmadMetallic said:

@ZeForgotten said:
@AhmadMetallic said:
From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think it is a safe prediction, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.
90% really? or did you just pull that out of your ass? I donated because I'm excited about what Tim and Ron come up with based on games they've done together before
Suk me forgotten. Going through that article you can see most people praise the campaign/fundraiser itself rather than what the campaign is for. 90% doesn't actually mean NINETY PERCENT, it means most/almost all. Idiotta!

Oh, so you were saying 90% in the general, non-specific sense! It's like when I tell women that I'm a millionaire, when what I really mean is I have a lot of money relative to, say, a homeless person. So it's not really complete bullshit at all! It's just an expression, it's not like I'm giving a specific number to my net worth or anything.

Occasionally, percentages can be used as expressions, replacing "most" or "some" etc.. It's nothing new. So yes if you thought I had actual statistics and numbers on this trivial matter, well, I feel awkward having to tell you that no, I didn't.. By saying 90% I meant the vast majority. 

Oh and by the way, the vast majority of the donor comments on Kickstarter are excitement about an adventure game, and only a minority give a shit about the arcane inside-baseball publishing woes of video game developers.

That is good to know! Thanks for countering my argument, I'm glad people are excited for the game itself and I wish Double Fine the best of luck on this project.
#15 Edited by Branthog (5562 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think that reflects why most other donors from other communities did it.So I think it's safe to predict, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

That's the entire point of this alternate funding method. They don't have to be wildly popular, because they're cutting out the middle-men. They have already sold tens of thousands of copies of the game and in doing so have raised enough money to make the game (and make a much better one than they planned) and probably make a little profit. That's all that is necessary. As long as you have enough customers that you can pay the bills and earn a profit, you're in business. Unlike, say, publicly held and listed companies, where being able to pay the bills and your employees and make money is irrelevant and all that matters is that you make far more profit in the next quarter than you did the last quarter. Every additional sale they make to the general public outside of these 50,000 dedicated fans (including myself) is just more money in the bank.

In this case, they've raised the funding. The game can be built and distributed and the salaries can be paid to their developers and they can possibly make some cash to put aside for their next projects. Even if nobody else buys a copy. They just needed these 50,000 customers to do the job.

If they involved publishers and investors, they would be treating it like an investment. That is, paying the costs and staying in business and maybe earning a small profit wouldn't be enough. They'd want to project that they could make $4m on their $2m investment - or not do it at all.

So, you reach out to your fans. Directly to your customers. And you find enough of them to make the project feasible. It's the same thing that is done right now with a lot of books and music. Even some movies and web shows. EA might demand a million customers or more to consider a project viable. And they would add a lot of expense to the project (for instance, you've probably seen that the publisher alone takes about 50% of the $60 on a retail game).

Alternative backing options like this wouldn't work for everything, but it absolutely can work for niche projects. Things where there are enough people to justify doing it and maybe to make some money, but not enough people to interest the big leagues.

If you are not familiar with Kevin Kelly's "1,000 True Fans" essay, I would encourage you to read it. I insist that everyone I work with on any web-based media (moving their shows from terrestrial radio to the internet, making art, producing podcasts, offering services -- whatever they want to do) read this. You do not need millions of customers. You need to very directly and specifically serve the niche demands of only a thousand or a few thousand very dedicated fans who would happily spend their money on you. The example in this essay is looking at an individual making a living from the web with 1,000 fans willing to pay $100/yr, but that's just a random example. It can completely scale to the level of small game development (the success and scope depending on your history and reputation, of course): http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php

#16 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

Awesome! I'm glad Tim and the rest of the team now have the opportunity to proceed with the game at it's fullest potential!

#17 Posted by Bribo (605 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think that reflects why most other donors from other communities did it.So I think it's safe to predict, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

Just a minor point you my have overlooked: if the entire budget is donated up front, this game literally cannot fail. Even if Doublefine doesn't sell a single copy, they break even. Hell, they don't have to release an actual game.

There is no fail state here.

#18 Edited by Zippedbinders (999 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think that reflects why most other donors from other communities did it.So I think it's safe to predict, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

Adventure games were pretty popular in their heyday, why do you think there were so damn many of them? They just receded due to lack of real innovation and genre advancement. Its not like a point and click is unfeasible now, Telltale puts out all kinds of em, Pendulo also manages to make their games. Its about scale and market.

Here's a crazy thing, there are people who pledged money to this that don't go to Giantbomb, in fact, I'd dare say the portion of GB user funding is in the minority of DFA backers. There are plenty of people who are otherwise supporting this that just genuinely enjoy point and click games. I think the real issue is who's going to buy this once it comes out, since the people most excited for it have already donated their $15 or more. I'm sure it will sell enough based on people who come to the party late or pick it up on the inevitable Steam sale. An interesting thing that sets this apart from other releases is that they don't have a publisher who'll be disappointed with sales if its not profitable. The only ones they're answering to are the people who have already bought a game from them.

#19 Posted by Kevin_Cogneto (1083 posts) -

It's worth pointing out that the highest-selling video game for over a decade was Myst. This idea that adventure games never made much money is kind of ridiculous.

#20 Posted by Branthog (5562 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

@ZeForgotten said:

@AhmadMetallic said:

From what I understand, point & click games kinda ceased to exist because they were never popular enough and never made big money, right? So what makes us think this game will be any different? Because of the 1.6$ million? 90% of the donors on Patrick's article did it because this is an unusual and exciting developer campaign in an industry run by fascist publishers, not because it's a p&c adventure game.. I think it is a safe prediction, sadly, that this game will fail commercially and financially.. This is kind of fucked up.

90% really? or did you just pull that out of your ass? I donated because I'm excited about what Tim and Ron come up with based on games they've done together before
Suk me Forgotten. Going through that article you can see most people praise the campaign/fundraiser itself rather than what the campaign is for. 90% doesn't actually mean NINETY PERCENT, it means most/almost all. Idiotta!

My argument is about why people donated versus what the actual point and click game will sell (in light of the sales/popularity of previous p&c games).. The argument doesn't necessarily mean I hate the developer or the upcoming game or the donors, it's just an argument and I think it makes a lotta damn sense.

Just to clarify, people are backing the project by buying the game or buying additional experiences (paintings, posters, tours and lunches, in-game characters, etc). They're not donating or being charitable. At the most extreme end of it, you could assert that people are giving money more to support a developer they have affection for than for the actual game itself, but that happens all the time. People often go out and buy a game, because they like the studio or want the franchise to keep going.

I was one of those people who said "I don't particularly desire point and click adventure games, but I'll throw $30 at Tim Schafer any time he asks me to". For the same reason that I am a patron of certain artists and musicians and do-gooders. I like what they do. I support them. In this case, I also get a product out of it (the game and an HD download of the documentary, which I'm really looking forward to).

The real test of this is yet to come. How will the development go? What will the end product be? How many additional sales will they make after the game is released? This is all very much a trial-run. If this all works out for everyone involved, it could mean much more interesting projects with much more crowd-funding on Double Fine's next project (and possibly other developers trying it out, too). And if it fails miserably, then it is an interesting lesson and everyone goes back to the drawing board.

That's why I find it all exciting, right now. It's unexplored. There's so much potential here. It's going to be a fun right. It's worth my $30.

(Also, to be fair, Tim doing this encouraged me to start making a monthly run through the Kickstarter video game section and kick in a few dollars to other smaller developers.)

#21 Edited by Branthog (5562 posts) -

@SSully said:

I am just happy about the voice acting. I could live without it, but it makes the game that much better.

Also the notch thing is crazy. They obviously make more money because of the IOS and android version and other side stuff, but it can't be that much more?

The voice acting is great news to me, too. I'm sure it'll be optional, but in the modern age, it is a fantastic addition to a point-and-click adventure. I don't even care if it's a bunch of big names or not. Frankly, they shouldn't invest too much money in expensive voice actors. Just get people who do a good job and forget trying to say "we have so and so voicing our game!".

I would really like to see some recent numbers from Notch. I'm sure he'll be open with them at some point. I wonder how open Double Fine will be about that aspect of their project, as it goes forward? As in, will they give a breakdown of how the money was spent and what they bring in after they finish the game? A lot of companies would never do that, but it would be an incredible bit of insight as part of the documentary and "inside look at how the sausage is made".

Edit: This thread has some fun discussion, but since Patrick has since posted a news update about it, I suspect a mod may lock this thread.

(I'm not being an ass over it - I'm just being smarmy. :P )

#22 Posted by KestrelPi (145 posts) -

Actually Tim Schafer has previously said that he has a different theory about why adventure games declined. It wasn't that they got any less popular, it's that they stayed about as popular as ever while the rest of the industry expanded massively. And they didn't fail to expand at the same rate because of a lack of innovation, it was because a lot of the things that previously pretty much -only- adventure games were doing well, like telling cool, occasionally cinematic stories started to get absorbed by other genres, so they stopped being quite so vital as they were before. Anyway, there is still a large number of people with a strong appetite for adventure games and a lot of love for the ones Tim Schafer used to make and it seems fairly clear that that more than anything accounted for the early success of the project.

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