Double Fine Needs Even More Money & Time
Many of us have been impatiently waiting for Broken Age (previously known as the Double Fine Adventure that ignited mainstream interest in Kickstarter as a viable game funding method), and it looks like you'll be waiting a while longer. Tim Schafer has explained that the title has now been cut into two halves, the first of which is out at the start of next year.
The reason? Effectively, the game has gotten so big that Double Fine needs more money to finish it. You know, despite raising $3,336,371, a budget that most adventure game developers could only dream of.
"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," Schafer told backers in the latest email update. "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."
The solution, Schafer explains, is to cut Broken Age down the middle and release the first part of the game as a standalone title, which can start bringing in revenue to finish off the second half.
"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!"
As promised, backers will receive both halves of the game and beta access. It's also headed to OUYA at some point, though not in time to make any sort of launch impact.
What do you make of this, dear readers? Has Broken Age succumbed to the dreaded "feature bloat?"