I have no insider information whatsoever and I'm not in anyway affiliated with DoubleFine.
The information stated in this post is based on pure speculations and is solely based on my personal opinion.
So I finished Act 1 today. It took me 4 hours to finish it. I did enjoy the game.
Was it too easy? Yes, I believe any hardcore adventure gamer will agree on that.
Was the gameplay length what you expect for a 3 million dollar budget?
Well, the gameplay is not the only element in the the game. Sure the gameplay was shorter than expected.
However, the art style is most probably the most beautiful I've seen in any 2D adventure game. (And maybe in any 2D game I've ever played)
Every scene is really an interactive piece of fine art. Everything is beautifully hand drawn and animated.
So clearly, a lot of the investment for the game went into the art.
I remember in the episode where DF decided to split the game into 2, one alternative was to go with a more simplified art style.
A more typical art style that you see in other games. I'm glad they didn't.
Now that doesn't explain why the game was too easy. After all, bumping up the difficulty of the game would have increased the gameplay length.
It's not really that hard to throw a couple of puzzles in there that block players for a good 30 minutes each.
However, remember folks, the whole reason that the game was released in 2 parts is because they ran out of fund.
Pretty much every adventure gamer fan backed this game. How will they get more funding?
The answer is that they needed to attract more casual gamers to the genre. A casual gamer needs to feel good playing her/his first adventure game.
Many of the puzzles that hardcore adventure gamers think are too easy or too obvious, are challenging to someone new to the genre.
It's a win/win situation for everyone. More people get into adventure games, DF gets the funding for Act 2 and bring more fans to the genre.
The game has been very positively reviewed on gaming websites. That's a huge win for adventure games and for the community.
When was the last time an adventure game got a 90% score on Polygon? The answer is never.
Would the game have got the same ratings if the reviewer was stuck for a long time in one puzzle.
Maybe if the reviewer is a genre fan, but for most other players, it's a frustrating experience.
It was a little disappointing to the fans and to me I have to admit.
However looking at the big picture, it is really a win for every adventure game fan.
Now as far as Act 2 is considered, I believe that both the length and the difficulty will be bumped up quite a notch.
New gamers will be familiar with the point and click adventure gaming mechanics and will be ready to take it to the next level.
Also, because Act 1 raised enough funds (which I believe and hope that it will), there will be no reason to tone things down.
I think Act 2 will be the epic adventure game everyone was hoping for.
However, in the process, Act 1 was a great entry in my opinion that will do a fine job in recruiting new fans to an extinct genre.