Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Broken Age split

This has been doing the rounds on Twitter this morning, and I'm kind of disappointed by the response to the news that Double Fine aren't able to make a whole videogame for $3m.

The full statement, from Double Fine's CEO Tim Schafer, can be read all over the internet (I happen to have a tab open to Destructoid's story, so have that), but the TL;DR version is that they got too ambitious and rather than compromise, they're going to make some cuts to the first half of the game to get something ready for public consumption.

They'll then release that first part of the game, in January, on Steam's "Early Access" program - which lets them sell the (unfinished) game to the public. The remainder of the game will then be released at no additional cost to Early Access buyers (and Kickstarter backers).

There's almost a sense that some people feel Double Fine should have been able to make the whole game using only the money raised through Kickstarter. But then what? Are they not supposed to sell it? Was there some unspoken agreement that, with the whole thing paid for by Kickstarter, the game would then be released for nothing?

It's kind of fascinating to me to see the reaction, though. One of the great things about the Double Fine Adventure project is the transparency; for the first time, consumers are getting to see how the gaming sausage is being made. But rather than learning from seeing that process, they're getting angry that the reality doesn't match up to their utopian ideal.

Even though Double Fine are getting to make the game they want to, on their own terms, it was never going to be a smooth ride. Publishers might be difficult taskmasters to work with, but I'm surprised at how not surprised I am that working directly for your audience is even less stable.

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