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kenshironeo

why is double fine infamous among some gamers communities

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Hello i have only played so far two double fine games, brutal legend which was ok for me, and psychonauts, a game that is not bad but that i did not complete because i couldnt get in.(the design didnt attract me and i needed more action)

I was asking questions about a game that was released recently(prison architect), when suddenly someone posted "Or they might move into 'support' "Double Fine" mode and start on a new project."

Apparently the sentence was referring to a game called Spacebase that was abandoned.

Some say Double fine does not handle well development of some games, other say they do good but only failed one time, and that angry gamers exaggerated to hurt their reputation.

What is the reason of that "poor managment" reputation?

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That's a pretty complex question to answer, and I think it's not any one thing that feeds into it.

First of all, ever since the Broken Age kickstarter DF has been a lot more open with their development practice than pretty much any other studio of a similar size. Projects have been announced long before release and their development documented, and a lot of people are getting to see for the first time how many stumbling blocks there are on the way to developing the game.

Second, there was the reporting around splitting Broken Age into two parts. This news was leaked from a kickstarter backer only announcement that went into a lot more detail about what the reason was for the split and what they were going to do, but a lot of news sites simplified it down to 'Broken Age ran out of money and they've been forced to split it,' when the reality was more like 'Double Fine have decided to self-fund the second half of Broken Age instead of making big cuts to the game' and so they're going to manage that by releasing the first part early.

Anyone who knows their adventure game history would know that big cuts to adventure games are neither new, unexpected, or uncommon, but this was the first time that they'd really been discussed out in the open.

There's some argument over whether splitting the game was really the right thing to do, but they undeniably shipped the game, and backers had a high level of satisfaction.

Third, there was Spacebase, an early access project that never reached the level of popularity that was needed to sustain it. Most people agree that the way this was handled wasn't ideal, but the idea also seems to have gotten about that promises were broken about features that would be in the game, and this definitely isn't true. Nevertheless, Spacebase was a public failure and it gave people who already didn't like them ammunition.

But there were two other Early Access games - Hack and Slash which released just fine as well as Massive Chalice, another Kickstarter project which ended with an Early Access Beta Period which also finished on schedule.

What often gets forgotten when talking about Double Fine, is that they've released a LOT of games. Several in the last few years, some crowd funded and some not. The only time that they have inarguably failed releasing the game they wanted to release is Spacebase. Every other project has either been a success, or an eventual success after some delays.

This is why I can't accept the narrative that DF suffers 'poor management' because if that were true you'd expect to see many more project failures in the space of 15 years.

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I think Kestrel's done a fantastic job of summing the situation up there.

The only thing I would add is that Tim Schafer himself has come in for a lot of flak from (and I HATE using this phrase) "SJWs" and such because he's publicly said that he supports Anita Sarkessian and pro-feminism causes. That tends to attract enemies, warranted or not, and these enemies also attack his company because that's what they do.

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I think Kestrel's done a fantastic job of summing the situation up there.

The only thing I would add is that Tim Schafer himself has come in for a lot of flak from (and I HATE using this phrase) "SJWs" and such because he's publicly said that he supports Anita Sarkessian and pro-feminism causes. That tends to attract enemies, warranted or not, and these enemies also attack his company because that's what they do.

Yes, but slight correction here, it's not "SJWs" who have given Tim the flak - rather supporters of particular twittar campaigns that like to use that term as a pejorative.

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Ah. Wasn't sure what to call them, hence the quotation marks, but I defer to your superior knowledge on the subject.

...I get so confused these days. The phrase's completely meaningless by this point, I don't even know.

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The gamergate story and all what happened, so much energy wasted i feel.

Regarding Spacebase, perhaps Double Fine did something similar, but i think it would have been nice to give early access players a little something, like a coupon for other games to make up for the lack of content or support.

I guess the best way to end negative criticisms would be to develop a new game that would be awesome and as popular as a Dont Starve, binding of Isaac, or any golden indie you can think about.

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Regarding Spacebase, perhaps Double Fine did something similar, but i think it would have been nice to give early access players a little something, like a coupon for other games to make up for the lack of content or support.
Double Fine gave everyone who owned Spacebase DF-9 during the early access period a free copy of Hack 'n' Slash as compensation.

They also released the source code. Because of the sourcecode release, Spacebase is now being improved by fans.

It's not the optimal situation, but it's definitely far from the worst it could have been.

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In some ways Double Fine became a symbolic target for the backlash against crowdfunding. If you look at a lot of the direct attacks against Tim Schafer on twitter, it's often people just messaging "3.3 MILLION" at him in an attempt to shame him for not having completed the game on time and budget after his crowdfunding success. However the entire process that led to the decision to extend development has been made abundantly clear in a publicly available documentary, and gamers weren't asked to spend any more money. This narrative that somehow it took that long and was still a "bad game" ignores the mostly positive reception to the final product. I at least really loved Broken Age, despite some minor nitpicks. It was a beautiful adventure games with some good puzzles in the second half and memorable characters.

This narrative about Double Fine's "poor management" has since escalated from a condemnation of Broken to include Spacebase (which was imo a really embarrassing failure, that is a situation that deeply frustrated me). I think even more importantly, Tim Schafer has been a targeted by a number of people for his support of Anita Sarkeesian and his criticism of Gamergate, which has escalated the negativity considerably on social media towards the company. A quick twitter profile search of a number of the more critical people on Twitter often links them specifically with that.

What's really frustrating to me about this entire narrative is that Double Fine is one of the few developers who consistently puts out unique gaming experiences. Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, The Cave, Costume Quest, Stacking, Hack and Slash, Massive Chalice are all solid and refreshingly experimental games. All of them also have their flaws, but part of the process of experimentation is an understanding that the polish that one is putting on a title like Halo whose mechanics are tried and tested is impossible when the rules are being figured out on the fly. The fact that a small but vochal group of people have decided that Double Fine is an exemplar of the problems with gaming strikes me as really depressing when they are one of the few companies consistently striving to do something new and interesting.

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Yeah it's symbolic these days. Same as Phil Fish. Look up 'This is Phil Fish' on YouTube to fully understand the effects of someone becoming a symbol.

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I agree that's it's symbolic of the level of ignorance that the Internet seems to foster these days. Little groups of angry ignorant people can get together and convince each other that they're right, feel like they're part of an important movement, and then use that as an excuse to spout their anger at people. The vilification of DF is basically an idiot test - if you think they're an evil company, you haven't been paying attention.

(Phil Fish has his own problems, though. Despite what that video tries to argue, people don't give him crap because he's famous -- they do it because he's openly obnoxious. I hope he got some help.)

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Yeah it's symbolic these days. Same as Phil Fish. Look up 'This is Phil Fish' on YouTube to fully understand the effects of someone becoming a symbol.

Looked it up. Great video. Well worth the time. 10/10. The dude obviously has some issues, but that video does such a great job of explaining why those are beside the point.

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The modern gamer community is rife with entitlement issues and many gamers meet anything less than immediate results and absolute perfection from crowd-funded or early-access games with irrationally high levels of anger and hostility towards both the developers and players who support them. Even developers who have managed to stay out of political matters are the victims of this, as I've seen in the Early Access of games such as Killing Floor 2. This is the kind of toxic environment that modern gamer culture has cultivated..

But Spacebase DF-9 and Double Fine's reputation have been a particularly interesting case study in lack of journalistic integrity, because of just how ridiculous the haters' obsession has been. For starters, the majority of people voicing their outrage over Spacebase have never actually played the game. EVER. The steam review page is full of mass-upvoted reviews copying each other near-verbatim, with most of the reviewers having less play time on record than it takes to actually start playing. Yet each person is apparently so outraged that they have reviewed every Double Fine game since then, and filled those games' discussion boards, and barged into every video or social media post mentioning any of those games or Double Fine or Tim Schaffer, shouting everywhere that the man and the company and the games are all "scams" and "disappointments" and greatly exaggerating the number of "failed" games in the Double Fine portfolio.

Why? Because Tim voiced his opinion that women should be allowed to have opinions about games and be involved in the game industry without getting death threats, and all the meninists from gamergate didn't like that.

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The thing about Spacebase DF-9 is that it IS true that Double Fine made a whole bunch of mistakes and arguable mistakes.

Mistake 1: Relying on Early Access as a platform to get the game developed, without a safety net. This was a mistake in hindsight, but if you run the numbers, which we did at the time, their estimates for how much they would need to continue funding the game must have been pretty modest, which means that the game must have really tanked below their estimates to get this wrong. I seem to remember calculating that they would only need to make a small fraction of the more successful similar early access project income from the time in order to fund the game's development for a couple of years. But whichever way you slice it, they misjudged that.

Mistake 2: They did a terrible job of communicating this. I understand why they didn't want to announce the project was in trouble, but it was the first time Double Fine had ever acted in a way that seemed... if not entirely dishonest, then at least not as transparent as I'd come to expect. I think people would have reacted better if we'd had any idea that the development was at risk. We might have been able to help push a campaign to keep it running a bit longer.

Mistake 3: Arguably, the game needed more development before exiting early access. There just wasn't enough there in the first release to hold interest. They were obviously constrained by budget, but I wish they'd been able to spend at least few more months on it before unleashing it. It's hard to call this a mistake, honestly, because I dont see how they could have fixed it except for somehow securing more funding in advance of early access. Nevertheless, it hurt the funding ultimately.

The thing that rankles me is that whenever this is reported on, nobody talks about this stuff. Everybody talks about "promised features that weren't delivered" which was never, ever true. There was a one page long-list of things that may, at some point be in the game, headed by some paragraphs explicitly stating that not all these things would make it, and how much of it did would depend heavily on thier continued ability to fund the game. Not a single feature of the game was promised, except that you'd be able to build a base in space and it's frankly irresponsible that reporters keep getting this wrong.

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The thing that rankles me is that whenever this is reported on, nobody talks about this stuff. Everybody talks about "promised features that weren't delivered" which was never, ever true. There was a one page long-list of things that may, at some point be in the game, headed by some paragraphs explicitly stating that not all these things would make it, and how much of it did would depend heavily on thier continued ability to fund the game. Not a single feature of the game was promised, except that you'd be able to build a base in space and it's frankly irresponsible that reporters keep getting this wrong.

Yeah I've seen these lists of "crucial and explicitly promised features" gamergate kept making a big deal over and as far as I can tell the only specific items that didn't make it to the launch version were teleporters and flamethrowers?

Like gee, teleporters WOULD be appropriate to the space-station theme and make the game a lot easier, and you can never go wrong with flamethrowers, but they expect us to believe that lack of those is enough reason to engage in a months-long fanatical smear campaign against an entire company and the man who founded it?

If that's the case, they could have just made their own teleporters and flamethrowers, since the game is open-source and like half of the people in gamergate have "Aspiring game developer" written in their twitter page headers, lol.

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There's been a bunch of great responses and points but I'd also like to point out that I think most people forget that Double Fine is a company not just some small indie team. A lot of their decisions try to keep their games in mind but at the end of the day if one game isn't working out (Spacebase) they don't want it to take the whole company down. They might have not handled the situation in the best way but they did try to at least compensated the people who supported the game. It still surprises me that DF gets so much hate when there are a lot worse companies out there that people just throw money at. Double Fine tries their hardest to make fun interesting games but not everyone is going to be great but that's a risk they are willing to take which most companies won't.

The openness and originality of Double Fine is what keeps me a big fan of them even after they have some mess-ups. I think most people who hate on them just need a target to hate and don't really care about Double Fine as a game company.

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