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KestrelPi

The Broken Age Development Timeline

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The thing that struck me with all the vitriol going around in public forums is that they literally have no idea what happened on this project. Thinking about this, I made a timeline detailing what actually DID happen on this project. I tried to get exact dates where I could, but some are guesses based on the documentary air dates.

BATimes.PNG

Things of note:

- Note that nowhere on the timeline is 'project runs out of money.' Because it never did. As we see, the earliest discussions we saw around having to reduce scope/increase budget are around November 2012, a few months into full production. It wasn't until well over 6 months later that the final decision was taken. Yet invariably this is painted as an 'aw, shucks, I guess we ran out of money, better split the game' emergency decision. Nope, it was the product of 6 months of attempts to self-fund in favour of significantly cutting scope.

- Act 1 came out on schedule. They said January, it came out January. Nobody seems to say anything when things go RIGHT on the project, do they?

- Act 2 took quite a bit longer than anticipated, and in the end production was able to be extended - likely as a result of the Vita/PS4 and retail deals. But let's not lose sight of the fact that Act 2 reached the minimum required funding levels less than a month after the release of Act 1, even though act 1 sold modestly. So it was never the huge gamble some people claimed. It was a sensible decision which allowed them to avoid significant scope cuts.

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Nice timeline, but it's very hard to read :-/ Maybe rather than having your dates in 14/03/2012 format, you could have "14 March" and have the years in the "tube" (with a different colour for each year).

If there was one thing I wished the documentary had in it, it's dates! Too late for that now, I guess.

Nice job, though.

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Nice timeline, but it's very hard to read :-/ Maybe rather than having your dates in 14/03/2012 format, you could have "14 March" and have the years in the "tube" (with a different colour for each year).

If there was one thing I wished the documentary had in it, it's dates! Too late for that now, I guess.

Nice job, though.

I was kind of limited by my tools. I don't think it's THAT hard to read though - phases at the top and events at the bottom. It was hard to fit in all of the things that happened over 3 years, though. I wanted more detail, but it was getting very busy.

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I miss the representation for the time it took 2PP and DF until they could hit the Kickstarter button, as well as the Kickstarter period.

Well, the project ran out of money in respect to what was funded on Kickstarter.

Due to DF's decisions and estimations they weren't able to produce a convincing complete adventure (maybe also the engine) with this budget within a shorter timeframe most people (including DF themselves, in the early days) were expecting. Due to this DF had to split some game (whatever they had in mind the game should be like those days) into two episodes and reinvest the earnings from the first release as well as additional money streams coming from other sources (like it has been stated in the docu for multiple times).

But if you're are backer, you known all this already.

If DF would be better at projecting games then we would have ended up with a different adventure. This might have been better (due to more focus, no usage of possible bottlenecks, ...) but it also could have been worse, so in the end you could be happy that things went this way. I guess we'll never find out which way would have been the better one. As i wrote in the beginning of the campaign pi is a pretty good multiplier for quick rough estimations to end up comfy when there are unknown obstacles or projecting stuff just isn't your thing.

More information, less propaganda, please.

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I miss the representation for the time it took 2PP and DF until they could hit the Kickstarter button, as well as the Kickstarter period.

Well, the project ran out of money in respect to what was funded on Kickstarter.

No, it didn't, and stop repeating this inaccurate, misleading and damaging statement. I mean, unless you literally mean that some abstract concept of a bucket from kickstarter was emptied, and if so, so what? Irrelevent. The budget is the budget, and it underwent changes. It underwent changes which ALL enabled the team to make the game bigger, not smaller.

They looked at the budget and the project, and they realised, quite early on in the project (around november 2012, a short time into full production) that the scope of the project was significantly bigger than the budget would allow at the current rate, projecting into the future.

They decided to make some minor scope cuts, and find more money at this stage. LONG before they were anywhere close to running out of money.

They did this. They sourced funding from sales, Brutal Legend PC, Humble Bundle, various other sources and this kept them going.

Then, sometime probably around spring 2014 they realised that despite having raised a bunch of money to extend development, they were still going to have to make cuts to the game if they wanted to release it in budget. So, at this point they made the decision to cut the game into two parts as a way of extending development without having to severely cut scope.

Making decisions early that allow you to continue working on a game rather than significantly cutting scope is the pretty much the OPPOSITE of running out of money.

Due to DF's decisions and estimations they weren't able to produce a convincing completed adventure (maybe even the engine) with this budget within a shorter timeframe most people (including DF themselvesin the early days) were expecting. Due to this DF had to split some game (whatever they had in mind the game should be like those days) into two episodes and reinvest the earnings from the first release as well as additional money streams coming from other sources (like it has been stated in the docu for multiple times).

But if you're are backer, you known all this already.

If DF would be better at projecting games, then we would have ended up up with a different adventure. This might have been better (due to more focus, no integration of possible bottlenecks, ...) but it also could have been worse, so that in the end you could be happy that things went wrong. I guess we'll never find this out which way would have been the better option. As i wrote in the beginning of the campaign pi is a pretty good multiplier for quick estimations to end up comfy when there are unknown obstacles or projecting stuff just isn't your thing.

More information, less propaganda, please.

Sorry, but this is a load of bull. There has never, once, not even slightly, been even the SLIGHTEST hint that Broken Age is any less than the game that Tim wanted to make (aside from modest cuts in scope common to almost all game projects) - he and the team are proud of what they made in act 1 and the majority of backers are pretty damned satisfied too. Your personal quibbles have nothing to do with the budgetary concerns of the game and I really wish that you'd stop bringing them up at every possible opportunity. The idea that had they made different budget decisions it would have somehow magically had the sort of puzzles you enjoy is completely groudless.

There's no propoganda here, just facts, so I'd kindly ask you to stop bringing my motives into question.

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Okay let's put it this way, for such projects: If you have a given budget and you need more resources than you initially thought, you run over budget. You're running out of budget if you can't get those further resources somehow. DF was only able to not run out of budget or releasing something very unpleasant to the public, with the route they've chosen, by splitting up the game.

A better strategy might be trying to communicate what people hopefully get more out of this.

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Okay let's put it this way, for such projects: If you have a given budget and you need more resources than you initially thought, you run over budget. You're running out of budget if you can't get those further resources somehow. DF was only able to not run out of budget or releasing something very unpleasant to the public with the route they've chosen by splitting up the game.

Except that very, very few people agree with you that they released something "very unpleasant". Even people (myself included) who thought the puzzles could be improved or missed the 'look' button, were in the overwhelming majority pretty pleased on the whole.

I'm sorry it wasn't what you hoped, but you need to stop projecting your desires for the game onto the project team, because they are (and in most people's opinion) SHOULD be proud of what they made and are finishing up as we speak.

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Without having some serious numbers it's childish suggesting that someone is part of a minority or majority. What i can evaluate is how i feel about the game, how other people i know who are into the genre as well as adventure gamers over the net feel about it. And from those i can assure you that if act 1 plus a little bit more would have been the only game, the majority wouldn't be pleased at all. The project would be seen as one of those tragic examples of misusing resources in the games industry, especially as Schafer has been a target for these kind of things before. Only by delivering a solid second part DF is able to put the DFA into a nice light and themselves into a better position for the future and i guess that's a fair situation.

Game journalism, prices, people commenting on the game without knowing it, ... who gives a fuck about this?! It's the adventure gamers who should enjoy this.

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Without having some serious numbers, it's childish suggesting that someone is part of a minority or majority.

It's true, I don't have solid numbers on all 90k backers, but I do have, at the very least, a good sense of what the reaction was at the time. I had (and actually continue to have) a twitter search open in my twitter client for Broken Age, and I was keeping a very close eye on it in the months following the release of act I. There were so many positive responses (including during the backer-only period) early on that it was actually hard for me to find negative ones.

I remember I posted about it at the time, in my estimation well over 95% of the twitter talk about the project from people who were actually PLAYING the game was not just positive but extremely positive. Sure, that's just an estimate, but it's indicative of what people felt about the game at the time.

Here on the forums, it wasn't quite as positive, because people were (rightly) using this place to give suggestions for improvement and air their thoughts if they were disappointed. Also, this forum probably houses more traditionalist adventure game fans than an average sample, and the people most likely to be disappointed by the game are the people who have a very set view of how difficult and what sort of interface a point and click adventure should have.

But even with that, a poll revealed a very high level of satisfaction among forumgoers for Act 1:

Absolutely Yes 400

Mostly Yes 411

I feel that something was missing 260

Mostly Not 79

Absolutely Not 33

So being very generous, surely the only people who would qualify for seeing act 1 as something "very unpleasant" would be the 'mostly not' and 'absolutely not' people. Or 9.5%.

By the way, that poll represents a sample of around 12% of backers, and while there's bound to be sampling bias (forumgoers, etc), as mentioned before, that sampling bias cuts both ways, and in combination with the general mood on twitter, I think that I have enough 'numbers' to back up my statements before.

Oh, and add to that the fact that the game reviewed pretty well (in some cases EXTREMELY well), I guess. That's not so important, but it's really rather hard to argue that the developers released something very unpleasant in the midst of so much praise.

So I'm not just pulling all of this out of my butt.

I had a conversation with Anna Kipnis, team programmer on twitter the other week. She also keeps a running tab of Broken Age comments on twitter, and we were talking about how, before recent-ish unpleasant events in the games industry, talk about Broken Age was generally either positive, of the 'where's act 2?' variety, and only negative rarely. Since recent unpleasantness, the mood has shifted greatly - but that's nothing to do with the game itself.

Besides, what are you on about 'act 1 plus a little bit more'? All reports indicate so far that act 2 is harder, testing at twice as long as the first (which tested internally at 4-5 hours and ended up about 3.5-4), all things you wanted, so what even is the point of this statement?

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Just thought I'd throw this out there. If they had only raised the small amount of money that they asked for in Kickstarter and no more, the game would have been much much smaller. These "scope cuts" are cuts to their new, much bigger vision that exceeded their kickstarter promises in every way (except time to completion of course). They could have given us the game they promised initially, but why not make a game "worth" the amount of money they received?

Of course, they stretched a little too far, but unlike other game devs who just tie up loose ends and release an unfinished game (often because of impatient publishers), they took a route that would allow them to complete the game, which a publisher would never have allowed them to do. It has taken much longer and more money than they expected, but I feel that they dealt with it in a smart way. In the end, backers are still getting more than they paid for when the kickstarter campaign started.

As for the criticism they've received about incorrect projections about the timeline and budget, there's really no way to accurately predict how a project will go. I'm a developer myself. While not in the games industry, I still have plenty of experience with projecting timelines and budgets. Small projects are much easier to predict, but large ones are really hard. And projects like mine are much easier to plan than a creative project like a video game. There are so many factors that play into it. Ultimately, budget and time are a tug of war between the developer and the customer, and it's really hard to please both at the same time. You want to predict higher costs and time to give yourself room, but you also want to predict lower costs and time to make customers happy.

I personally think that if the same game was released the same way as Psychonauts or Brutal Legend, without all of the waiting and steadily growing expectations, people would be much more pleased. The route they've chosen allows customers who know next to nothing about the development process to criticize the way they do things. If everyone could have had the same look into the development of their favorite games, I'm sure there wouldn't be any less criticism. Doublefine isn't the only one that works this way.

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@KestrelPi

So, you've made your experiences and i've made mine and i'm sure we both don't cover the whole spectrum as well. See, Schafer can make whatever kind of game he's interested in (if he can afford it) but this one was about a point and click adventure, therefore different opinions from (as i see it, quite some, german market) adventure gamers. Superfluous to repeat my opinion about game journalism.

Before the Kickstarter this forum was a lonesome place and DF can be happy that they got so much input from here. People are expressing their feelings and experiences and it doesn't matter if you value them as negative or positive. Critics are important, if you can deal with them, good, read and learn from them, if you're more thin skinned, stay away from them.

In my opinion DF and 2PP should just try to make the best adventure game (docu) they can for adventure gamers. Anything else doesn't matter, that should be in the focus. The rest is wasting energy on aspects which aren't important and which will be affected by the quality of the final product sooner or later anyway.

episode 1 + a little bit more was the estimation for what we might have received without adding additional resources, not the current state. I haven't played the second part, so, i have no idea how it will be. From the docs i got the impression that it could be more pleasing, although i do hope that they won't reuse too many scenes and there are still new things to be explored. The length of a game can be defined by many screws (difficulty/design of the puzzles, complexity of the scenes, length of the story, dialogues depth, ...).

Hey, if it will turn out great, great, but i want to feel if it's great on my own. DF just saying that it will be great, i don't think that's gonna work.

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As for the criticism they've received about incorrect projections about the timeline and budget, there's really no way to accurately predict how a project will go. I'm a developer myself. While not in the games industry, I still have plenty of experience with projecting timelines and budgets. Small projects are much easier to predict, but large ones are really hard.

Thanks for saying this! Something that gets lost is that getting 10 times more than they asked made the project harder, not easier to predict.

It's kinda like the difference between getting ten bucks, with which you can maybe buy a sandwich and a coke, and being given $100 and being asked to plan a big meal. It's do-able, but the variables are much more and the number of potential points where someone might miscalcate or end up having to spend more than they thought.

When you apply this idea to budgets that run into millions, across many months or years and involving a team of a dozen people, it's easy to see how a plan is, at the very best, an educated guess at how things might turn out. And sure, you can make some conservative assumptions, highball your estimates, add percentages to add for unpredictable delays but even doing all that even the best run projects tend to get it wrong by at least some degree.

If we look at the history of DF, they've taken longer than expected on some projects (Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Broken Age) and released others pretty much according to schedule (Massive Chalice once you account for the extra budget, the costume quests, stackings, their published smaller games). In this respect they're really no different from anyone.

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Hey, if it will turn out great, great, but i want to feel if it's great on my own. DF just saying that it will be great, i don't have this blind confidence anymore.

Sure. And I'm saying my confidence isn't blind. It's based on past satisfaction (clearly shared by what at least APPEARS to be a large majority), plus the noises DF have been making about Act 2 this past year.

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I altered this to ... ;O)

Hey, if it will turn out great, great, but i want to feel if it’s great on my own. DF just saying that it will be great, i don’t think that’s gonna work.

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Well, the project ran out of money in respect to what was funded on Kickstarter.

Kinda true. As I remember it, it was a deliberate choice made after they had built enough of the game to be able to judge what pace the production could keep. It sounds dramatic, but it's something several other kickstarters have done - Wasteland 2 and Dreamfall: Chapters being two examples.

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I altered this to ... ;O)

Hey, if it will turn out great, great, but i want to feel if it’s great on my own. DF just saying that it will be great, i don’t think that’s gonna work.

That's fair.

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Well, the project ran out of money in respect to what was funded on Kickstarter.

It is true, but would you rather they decreased scope and stuck to their initial budget or would you rather they instead found a way to bring in more money? I personally don't care if they spend more money than they got from kickstarter as long as they produce a good game.

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@wwarnick

Of course you can plan projects. How well things go afterwards or during a process depends on a number of aspects. Very often people are struggling getting their work done in time and there is the whole range from "all went fine this time" up to "we'll never gonna make it". But there are differences, some are quite good at doing this whilst others ... With games it's just that it always seems to be this way (considering the games i'm interested in) and i'm less into the a game is special thing argument because whilst it is, arts combined with more complex processes is being worked on every day in so many fields. After quite some years it sometimes comes around as a crankiness towards people who aren't experienced in their lifes yet.

I'm not saying that people aren't working and trying to do their best (and sometimes if they don't, that's humanly too), it's just as soon as you read an estimation for a release date, you already know ... mostly forget about it (if the game isn't almost finished already).

The obvious answer would be "I'm glad that they spent more resources on it". On a second thought it's not this obvious anymore because a tighter budget doesn't automatically lead to a worse (of course less production values) experience, it depends on the specific case.

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Nobody's saying you can't plan projects, really. What you can't do, is accurately predict whether you'll hit the planned targets. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't, and the bigger the budget the more unpredictable it is.

In getting delayed, and going over budget, Broken Age is not particularly unusual. It's a very common story. Games either find extra funding, get cut in scope, or some combination of both.

The only interesting thing about Broken Age's development path is first of all it doesn't have a publisher, so there was nobody to demand they cut scope, but also nobody to beg for for funding. Which meant they had to decide for themselves what to do about it, and their decision was to mostly retain the scope, but split the game in order to solve the funding. I would rather that to the alternative described by Tim at the time of severely cutting the scope of the game and releasing in July 2013.

Whether they could have avoided these troubles by making different engine or art choices IS a good question, but also one that's much easier to talk about in hindsight.

The second interesting thing about the development path is that we were in on it. A similar story (usually ending in scope cuts, etc, because of inability to secure additional funding) is true of many games. The 30% of Full Throttle they had to cut (people thought the game was short, but only heard the story years later), the bits of Grim Fandango that never made it, and dozens and dozens of games everywhere in all genres. 90% of the time, we never hear about what was cut.

It has become very apparent that many people on the internet don't really know what to do with this information. They think Broken Age is some weird, special case of a particularly botched development, when actually it's pretty normal - except in those two ways.

I can imagine a scenario where instead of the Kickstarter, Broken Age got some funding somehow, the development happened the same way, and the first we heard of it was when we were told part 1 of a 2 part adventure game was coming out.

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What makes me question DF's initial take on the game are the questions: What would have happened without the split? What kind of game would we have ended up with? According to what we got already, i feel that this would have been an rather unbalanced experience. Anyway you once earlier mentioned that the mood was shifting somehow, personally i feel a kind of (refreshed) sadness due to the rerelease of GF because it's such a into your face demonstration were we've been many years ago already and what the DFA could have been. I wanted Schafer to create a game on top of GF, going forwards not backwards to some more children like kind of a game.

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What would have happened without the split? What kind of game would we have ended up with?

An unfinished game with huge scope cuts because they didn't have the money to complete it.

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What would have happened without the split? What kind of game would we have ended up with?

An unfinished game with huge scope cuts because they didn't have the money to complete it.

It would have been much shorter. They would have found some extra money from somewhere and probably released the whole story, but Act 1 would have been perhaps a couple of hours, and the act2 resolution a couple more, and the story would have been complete but noticeably short. It probably would have been okay. But certainly not the game Tim had envisioned, and I feel like what we're going to get, with the split, is at least much much closer to the game he actually had in mind.

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A friend of mine was an original backer in 2012, and tried and tried to persuade me to buy in. I wasn't really sure what Kickstarter *was* at the time, so I didn't participate. I had convinced myself that backers didn't actually receive the finished game.

A few years later, after playing some of the Wadjet Eye catalog, purchased in a Humble Bundle, I realized I *loved* adventure games. I was too late for the Kickstarter or Slacker Backer tiers, so I ended up buying the game/doc/soundtrack on Humble in June of 2014. I promptly caught up with the documentary.

I'm an product development engineer by trade, and schedule slips are *totally* par for the course. It's commonly accepted that estimated release dates are *estimates*. Most of the time, years, if not half-decades elapse between when a product is announced to be ready and when it finally gets released. Games are unique in that you *can* release Part 1 and Part 2 separately. Can't do that with widgets.

I've continued to buy DF games (and Wadjet Eye games), as they've been released. Just haven't picked up Grim Fandango yet due to home budget and time constraints.

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Somehow i had to laugh when i read this, backed a game for (at least) six-year-olds.

Now could all the six-year-olds of the backers raise their left hand please?! No kid, this is your right hand.

http://img4.fotos-hochladen.net/uploads/uskg15x9i87f6.png

The Dig, GF, ... were made for twelve-year-olds which a.o. includes "...Die Spielaufgaben sind komplexer gestaltet und erfordern die Fähigkeit des abstrakten und logischen Denkens...".

http://www.usk.de/pruefverfahren/alterskennzeichen/

Yeah, i know ... but still.

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What is ultimately damning for me is that how DFA came about was a landmark moment in gaming history. It showed crowdfunded games as a viable prospect and now it's just part of the landscape. And yet while a great many games that were funded in its wake (in many cases quite ambitious) were long since developed and released without controversy, the saga of DFA drags on and on.

All anyone asked for was a solid adventure game, something the makers of Machinarium and Gemini Rue managed to deliver on much smaller budgets. But it's been so long now, will the precious 'scope' that caused this mess really be worth this endlessly protracted release that's frittered away so much momentum and goodwill?

If they'd released a smaller game a year ago maybe it wouldn't have been the all time classic people might have dreamed of (which I'm not convinced this version will be either), but most likely they could've just launched another kickstarter and people would still have been up for it, and we'd all be happily thinking about the follow up project by now.

Could you imagine what the reaction would be if they tried to launch a DFA2 campaign now?

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What is ultimately damning for me is that how DFA came about was a landmark moment in gaming history. It showed crowdfunded games as a viable prospect and now it's just part of the landscape. And yet while a great many games that were funded in its wake (in many cases quite ambitious) were long since developed and released without controversy, the saga of DFA drags on and on.

All anyone asked for was a solid adventure game, something the makers of Machinarium and Gemini Rue managed to deliver on much smaller budgets. But it's been so long now, will the precious 'scope' that caused this mess really be worth this endlessly protracted release that's frittered away so much momentum and goodwill?

If they'd released a smaller game a year ago maybe it wouldn't have been the all time classic people might have dreamed of (which I'm not convinced this version will be either), but most likely they could've just launched another kickstarter and people would still have been up for it, and we'd all be happily thinking about the follow up project by now.

Could you imagine what the reaction would be if they tried to launch a DFA2 campaign now?

Oh, give me a break. It's less than 3 years, once you take into account the concept phase. After 2, part 1 was released. After another 1, part 2 is getting released. It's longer than anticipated, but then the budget grew beyond the original kickstarter goal, so that's to be expected. But in game dev terms 3 years isn't crazy. Not even CLOSE to endlessly protracted.

The only reason it even seems like a lengthy dev cycle is that we've known about this game since BEFORE day 1.

Besides which, the best evidence we have available suggests that the vast, vast majority of backers are pleased with what they got so far and continue to look forward to act 2, so your whole premise of frittered away momentum and goodwill is based mainly on the witterings of uninformed Internet angrymans.

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You can dismiss them as 'uninformed internet angrymen' if you want, but the bottom line is... well, just compare DF's recent fortunes with InXile's. They Kickstarted a game and managed to put it out in reasonable time, and are already well into their second Kickstarter game that was even more successful, and with the minimum of drama along the way. Are their rpgs really less ambitious in scope than a 2D adventure that, if we're being honest, is not drastically more sophisticated than the kind of games that can be done in the likes of AGS?

Again, if Double Fine launched another adventure Kickstarter now would you expect it to match or exceed what the first one did? This is the danger of trading on audience goodwill - it's once bitten twice shy. Why the need for all this damage control regarding the project if everyone's perfectly happy?

I'm glad Broken Age is being finished the way they want it, but ultimately unless it turns out to be a masterpiece I'm not convinced they wouldn't have been better served by scaling down on some inessentials for the sake of getting a finished product out.

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You can dismiss them as 'uninformed internet angrymen' if you want, but the bottom line is... well, just compare DF's recent fortunes with InXile's. They Kickstarted a game and managed to put it out in reasonable time, and are already well into their second Kickstarter game that was even more successful, and with the minimum of drama along the way. Are their rpgs really less ambitious in scope than a 2D adventure that, if we're being honest, is not drastically more sophisticated than the kind of games that can be done in the likes of AGS?

Again, if Double Fine launched another adventure Kickstarter now would you expect it to match or exceed what the first one did? This is the danger of trading on audience goodwill - it's once bitten twice shy. Why the need for all this damage control regarding the project at the moment, if everyone's perfectly happy?

I'm glad Broken Age is being finished the way they want it, but ultimately unless it turns out to be a masterpiece I'm not convinced they wouldn't have been better served by scaling down on some inessentials for the sake of getting a finished product out.

But there IS audience goodwill, among the actual backers. That's what you're ignoring. There's just not really any evidence that backers feel burned by this project in any big numbers, and it's not really DF's fault that misreporting of the story has made the situation sound a lot worse than it is. Backers largely don't feel 'bitten,' at all. Feedback on Act 1 wasn't spotless, but it was very good.

Also, no, the engine that Broken Age is made in is, in fact, DRASTICALLY more sophisticated than what is possible in AGS, and also having developed the tools has already enabled them to develop other 2D games.

And it's extremely, extremely naive to compare what one studio did with their project to another. There are too many variables. Besides, even if you do compare them inXile's record is nowhere near as spotless as you suggest. Wasteland 2 was delayed by around a year, and required additional publisher funding from Deep Silver. Did you forget that? So let's not pretend it was some incredibly smooth project in comparison. Broken Age, meanwhile, has managed to reach the end of development without publisher involvement (only a distribution deal)

What happened with Broken Age is nothing unusual, development wise. What's unusual is how much scrutiny the game came under, and how successfully DF managed to obtain extra funds without resorting to publishers.

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They Kickstarted a game and managed to put it out in reasonable time...

People judge the development time of a project based on the time between announcement and release. Most publishers choose to wait until the game isn't too far from completion before announcing so that they have something to show, and so people won't get impatient. That's the "reasonable time" you're referring to. If Double Fine waited until close to the end to announce the game, you'd probably think it was released in "reasonable time" as well.

Like KestrelPi said, we knew about DFA "before" day 1. Even on kickstarter, most developers have a pretty clear direction and plan for a project before they announce it to the public. DFA is unique in that it was announced "before" they planned anything, which was necessary in order to do the documentary. As a result, it "appears" to be taking longer than most projects, only because most people don't really know how long most projects take. 3 years is pretty darn average.

I think Double Fine should be commended for managing to make it by without a publisher, honestly. No one that complains thinks about the promises that are actually being kept or even exceeded from the kickstarter campaign. They only think about the time it's taking. We're getting a much "better" game than promised, and as a result, it's taking longer than their original vision (they compared it to a flash game in the documentary). I mean they could have made the little dinky game they originally visioned and pocketed the rest of the money, but I think even more people would have been angry in that case. Either way, someone's upset, so it's a no-win situation for Double Fine. Instead of rushing the game and cutting corners like a publisher would make them do, they've chosen to stick it out and make a good game.

And I think we'd be smart to hold off our judgment of the quality and length of the game until act 2 comes out. They say it's much longer, and they've probably taken the feedback from act 1 to improve act 2. I like to think players will be much more satisfied with act 2.

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