Broken Age pushed back again.

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#1 Posted by turboman (9891 posts) -

An update on the backers site for Broken Age reveals that plans are changing again. Long story short, Tim's designing a game that's bigger than the budget/timeframe allows and they are pushing back Broken Age once again instead of cutting 75% of the game. They will also release the first half of the game on Steam's Early Access thing and that will continue to provide funding for the remaining parts they need to develop, and the full game should be out in Aprilish. They're doing this because they don't want to violate the spirit of the original kickstarter campaign. I'm about to watch the documentary episode and I'll chime in with an edit if anything else is brought up.

Here's the post:

Hello, Backers of Adventure!

Those of you who have been following along in the documentary know about the design vs. money tension we’ve had on this project since the early days. Even though we received much more money from our Kickstarter than we, or anybody anticipated, that didn’t stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money. I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it’s hard for me to design one that’s much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle. There’s just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is.

So we have been looking for ways to improve our project’s efficiency while reducing scope where we could along the way. All while looking for additional funds from bundle revenue, ports, etc. But when we finished the final in-depth schedule recently it was clear that these opportunistic methods weren’t going to be enough.

We looked into what it would take to finish just first half of our game—Act 1. And the numbers showed it coming in July of next year. Not this July, but July 2014. For just the first half. The full game was looking like 2015! My jaw hit the floor.

This was a huge wake-up call for all of us. If this were true, we weren’t going to have to cut the game in half, we were going to have to cut it down by 75%! What would be left? How would we even cut it down that far? Just polish up the rooms we had and ship those? Reboot the art style with a dramatically simpler look? Remove the Boy or Girl from the story? Yikes! Sad faces all around.

Would we, instead, try to find more money? You guys have been been very generous in the tip jar (thanks!) but this is a larger sum of money we were talking about. Asking a publisher for the money was out of the question because it would violate the spirit of the Kickstarter, and also, publishers. Going back to Kickstarter for it seemed wrong. Clearly, any overages were going to have to be paid by Double Fine, with our own money from the sales of our other games. That actually makes a lot of sense and we feel good about it. We have been making more money since we began self-publishing our games, but unfortunately it still would not be enough.

Then we had a strange idea. What if we made some modest cuts in order to finish the first half of the game by January instead of July, and then released that finished, polished half of the game on Steam Early Access? Backers would still have the option of not looking at it, of course, but those who were sick of waiting wouldn’t have to wait any more. They could play the first half of the game in January!

We were always planning to release the beta on Steam, but in addition to that we now have Steam Early Access, which is a new opportunity that actually lets you charge money for pre-release content. That means we could actually sell this early access version of the game to the public at large, and use that money to fund the remaining game development. The second part of the game would come in a free update a few months down the road, closer to April-May.

So, everybody gets to play the game sooner, and we don’t have to cut the game down drastically. Backers still get the whole game this way—nobody has to pay again for the second half. And whatever date we start selling the early release, backers still have exclusive beta access before that, as promised in the Kickstarter.

I want to point out that Broken Age’s schedule changes have nothing to do with the team working slowly. They have been kicking ass and the game looks, plays, and sounds amazing. It’s just taking a while because I designed too much game, as I pretty much always do. But we’re pulling it in, and the good news is that the game’s design is now 100% done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and it’s not going to get any bigger.

With this shipping solution I think we’re balancing the size of the game and the realities of funding it pretty well. We are still working out the details and exact dates, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. This project has always been something we go through together and the ultimate solution needs to be something we all feel good about.

In the meantime, I’m hoping you are enjoying the documentary and like the progress you’re seeing on Broken Age. I’m really exciting about how it’s coming together, I can’t wait for you to see more of it, and I feel good about finally having a solid plan on how to ship it!

Thanks for reading,


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#2 Edited by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

Not that I'm really complaining but it's become a trend to see Kickstarted games miss their predicted release window by a long margin. I think the only game that released semi-on time was FTL. Weird that a fresh two-man team can deliver where companies who ostensibly know how long it takes to make games keep whiffing so bad.

Though in this Broken Age's case, I guess it's not really the same situation.

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#3 Posted by turboman (9891 posts) -

@ravenlight: It's definitely different because with FTL, most of the design was already complete and they already had something playable before they went to Kickstarter for their final stretch. Plus, FTL is more of a game based around random events, which I'm guessing is much easier to make than creatively making a world filled with characters and art.

Broken Age wasn't even a thought yet until the Kickstarter was over, everything was made from scratch and the original date coincided with the original 400,000 game. Tim got a whole lot more than what he asked for and designed something that was much bigger.

It sucks to see the date pushed back once again, but some of the glances of what the game is looking like in the documentary shows you that they are knocking it out of the park right now.

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#4 Posted by TruthTellah (9821 posts) -

So you're saying it's a videogame project?

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#5 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

@turboman said:

but some of the glances of what the game is looking like in the documentary shows you that they are knocking it out of the park right now.

This is definitely important. Double Fine earns a pass from me since they're doing a fantastic job of letting backers in on the process of creating the game. Post-funding updates = Crucial.

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#6 Edited by turboman (9891 posts) -

in the documentary, Tim puts it like this:

He designed the game to be bigger than the original 3 million would allow them to make. It's not possible within the time constraint and monthly wages to make the game look the same calibur as the first couple of environments are (they look beautiful btw).

so the decision was either scale the design back significantly or push it back and release it this way. Tim didn't want to compromise his game.

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#7 Posted by Demoskinos (17458 posts) -

Well, better late than it end up being a bad or drastically neutered game.

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#8 Posted by chaser324 (8651 posts) -

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