So in what will either be a brilliant piece of self-promotion and gamer outreach or a beautiful disaster, last night Double Fine launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce an old-school point and click adventure game, led by Tim Schafer, the first for him in 14 years. This comes days after Minecraft creator Markus Persson offered to fund a sequel to Psychonauts out of his own pocket.
With a goal of $400,000 set at the beginning of the campaign, Double Fine has already exceeded that goal by half, at $600k as of the writing of this post. And the campaign still has 33 days to go.
So why are they doing this? What's it all about? How might it end up being a tremendous disaster (I don't think it will be)?
In a video at the top of the page (or if you're disinclined to watch, in the body of the page itself), Schafer explains that first and foremost, they wanted to make an adventure game in a market that seemingly doesn't have a whole lot of time for the genre (Telltale's output, of course, being the exception). So they opted to crowd-fund the game at a modest budget with a planned six to eight month development cycle (the untitled project has a planned October release), and a digital release through Steam in order to keep costs and publisher interference out of the way. Schafer assures fans that any excess money taken in from the campaign will go right back into the game as well as a documentary series about the process of making it.
The other major element of their campaign is that backers will not only get a copy of the game (there's all sorts of incentives to potential backers), but that the Double Fine development team will be showing their work and getting backer feedback throughout the process, and here I wanted to get all pessimistic about how much trouble it would be to keep that kind of two-way communication and feedback going throughout the development process (it's already tough enough making something with your fellow devs, much less adding the community into the mix) but I suspect that Double Fine has engender enough support from the fans that they can easily sidestep the pitfalls here.
So what's it all going to be? We'll see in a few months as the game starts chugging along. By the way, in the 15 minutes it took me to write this, the page reached $634k.