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AdamBeckett

"Double Fine receives Indie Fund backing for two new titles"

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Gamasutra story: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/194277/Double_Fine_receives_Indie_Fund_backing_for_two_new_titles.php

If you have not heard of the "Indie Fund" before, here is their website. Worth checking out: http://indie-fund.com/about/

It's like "United Artist" in the movie industry used to be, when they started? The focus is here again on truly "i n d e p e n d e n t" funding.

Now, I am not trying to troll the DF's into commenting or anything. I just want to share this information with fellow DB fans and hope DF will have some new announcements to make in the near future.

My first thought was "Black Lake - is Levi getting the green light, to do his thing?"

We all will have to wait and find out eventually. But, there's no harm in speculating?

Anyway, congrats Double Fine!

(Even though, I don't back your projects on Kickstarter, I buy every game when it comes out.)

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Oh man, you're probably gonna have to do some damage control PR at some point. People were already whining and painting you as the villain just because you DARED to start a SECOND Kickstarter. Because people are retarded. Now you have L I T E R A L L Y (note: not literally) stolen all that money from some Platonic idea of an indie developer that supposedly exists somewhere just waiting for their chance to make the next Minecraft. Everyone knows if you have more than two people working on a game or someone is actually getting paid, you're not Indie enough brah.

I personally couldn't care less about those people and their opinions but I guess you might and probably have to. The thing is, the eventual idiotic backlash that always happens with these sorts of things can be almost as huge as the initial support and enthusiasm.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that people are already turncoating and trying to paint Kickstarter as some sort of horrible and evil scam. It's idiotic and infuriates me so much (ok so I guess I could care slightly less), but it's a thing that is happening and probably has to be dealt with somehow. You've got an amazing and impeccable rep with pretty much everyone from gamers to critics to gaming press and I really don't want to see that melt away.

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I may be the only one but I don't like this new development at all. By what stretch of the definition does an established company with 65 employees, up to now funded by publishers, qualify as an INDIE? I thought the Indie Fund was founded to help struggling independent developers, newcomers with creative ideas. Like Antichamber and my personal favorite Dear Esther.

Don't get me wrong. I backed Broken Age and I will never regret that $250 "investment", even if the game doesn't meet my (high) expectations. But there's already another DF game on Kickstarter and I'm sure those two new games financed by the Indie Fund will cost a lot of money too. Money that now goes to just one company instead of a dozen or more real indies.

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People were already whining and painting you as the villain just because you DARED to start a SECOND Kickstarter. Because people are retarded. Now you have L I T E R A L L Y (note: not literally) stolen all that money from some Platonic idea of an indie developer that supposedly exists somewhere just waiting for their chance to make the next Minecraft. Everyone knows if you have more than two people working on a game or someone is actually getting paid, you're not Indie enough brah.

Have you actually played one of the Indie Fund games?

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Soooo I guess that proved my point.

No, it did not. I'm not whining and I'm not retarded.

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By what stretch of the definition does an established company with 65 employees, up to now funded by publishers, qualify as an INDIE? I thought the Indie Fund was founded to help struggling independent developers, newcomers with creative ideas.

Well, i do consider us "indie" because we are an independent developer--we aren't owned by some big parent company with a corporate agenda. We have always striven to make games that are an alternative to what is typically offered by the mainstream industry. Finally, we endeavor to work outside "the system" so that our ultimate master is not the financial bottom line, but the creative integrity of the work. That is why I consider Double Fine to be "indie."

Secondly, the stated goal of the Indie Fund says nothing about newcomers. According to their website, "Our aim is to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get (and stay) financially independent." Which is exactly what they are doing here.

What's exciting about this development is that it's the biggest investment the Fund has done to date. Which means Indie Fund is growing in it's influence in the industry, which is a very positive development.

If you think this means the Indie Fund is going to start ignoring smaller games by newcomers, well, you're not giving those guys much credit. I think their past record has earned them a little more trust than that. And so does ours!

Thanks to all of you well-wishers! I hope you're even more excited when we announce the games! :)

-Tim

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Valve is an indie studio. So is CCP (Eve Online) with 600 employees. The hijacking of the term, when people actually mean "shoestring" or "what I happen to find cool", is a bit annoying. Also, it's an investment and not a handout (I would think). Does anyone think Indie Fund is actually gonna lose money on this?

So anyway congrats Double Fine and congrats me for that is two more cool games I get to play in the semi-near future!

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The term Indie covers a large range, ranging from bedroom coders up to a studio of the size of DF. Whilst technically DF qualifies as an Indie, they are also at the edge of the gaussian distribution and this is what confuses people. Most people have a bunch of newcomers but not a full fledged established studio in mind. I think it's up to Indie Fund to decide which projects they want to fund and which not. It might sound strange on a first view but it also illustrates that Indie Fund is doing fine and they can benefit from this in the long run (marketing, roi) and growth (if the games will be a success :o).

I wonder which model DF prefers for most of the projects, if they had to choose, Kickstarter or funding like this.

As for the games, the biggest surprises probably would be Psychonauts 2 or a Disney license, not saying that it will be this way.

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Well, i do consider us "indie" because we are an independent developer--we aren't owned by some big parent company with a corporate agenda. We have always striven to make games that are an alternative to what is typically offered by the mainstream industry. Finally, we endeavor to work outside "the system" so that our ultimate master is not the financial bottom line, but the creative integrity of the work. That is why I consider Double Fine to be "indie."

Yes, that's certainly one way of looking at it. But IMO most gamers use a less broad definition of indie, which would not apply to DF.

Secondly, the stated goal of the Indie Fund says nothing about newcomers. According to their website, "Our aim is to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get (and stay) financially independent." Which is exactly what they are doing here.

The Indie Fund site also says: "Indie Fund is a funding source for independent developers, created by a group of successful indies looking to encourage the next wave of game developers." DF and you have been around considerably longer than the successful indies who created Indie Fund. Sorry, but there's no way I can see you as part of a "next wave".

What's exciting about this development is that it's the biggest investment the Fund has done to date.

Interesting you should say that. Elsewhere one of the Indie Fund people stated they were not going to invest more money in DF than they normally do in other projects. I'm sure there will be more detailed info later.

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The Indie Fund site also says: "Indie Fund is a funding source for independent developers, created by a group of successful indies looking to encourage the next wave of game developers." DF and you have been around considerably longer than the successful indies who created Indie Fund. Sorry, but there's no way I can see you as part of a "next wave".

Well maybe they are around longer then some of these developers, but not in their current form.

First they made two big budget games, with the traditional funding model. This was not sustainable for them because they needed a huge number of sales, which they didn't achieve. Also they had to give up on the rights of the ip's they worked on.

After that followed the smaller games. You don't need as much money and you can take a bit more of a creative risk, but when still funded by traditional companies there are still a lot of disadvantages. Luckily the found a private investor who believed enough in them to help them make pc ports of existing games and even fund a couple of new games(thanks Steven Dengler, for making these games available for me).

In the last fase Tim couldn't get funding for a traditional adventure game, that while a lot of people told him they wanted to play such a game. So he let them put their money where there mouth is and double fine raised a couple of millions. Following the massive chalice kickstarter and now this they are almost as good as independent.

Time will tell if they make enough money with these games so they will become completely self sustainable, but at least they don't have to sell millions of games to make a profit and they can make games they really want to make. Right now they are one of the first "bigger" companies on there way to becoming completely independent and i think that could count as a "next wave".

Back to the main topic. I really like to know a bit more about these games, could we get a little hint(make it cryptic, so the forum explodes ;-))

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Here is a comment from Ron Carmel on Joystiq :

(http://www.joystiq.com/2013/06/13/two-double-fine-projects-being-funded-by-indie-fund/)

"roncarmel

hi @YellowTube, ron from indie fund here.the money that went to double fine does not come at the expense of funding other games.  we actually have money sitting around not invested (even after the double fine investment), because we haven't found enough promising teams that we believe that our investment will help make self sufficient. the problem has always been lack of promising projects, not lack of money". 

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@Fien, if you think this deal doesn't fit within Indie Fund's mission statement, shouldn't you take that grievance to Indie Fund instead? They agreed to this deal, after all.

I'm sure Indie Fund wants to grow so they can support larger projects in the future, and this seems like a great opportunity to achieve that. Double Fine also wants to stay independent, and that seems to match up quite well with this part of Indie Fund's description: "Our aim is to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get (and stay) financially independent."

Also, Double Fine can still fit under that definition of "next wave of game developers" since their success could pave the way for other indie studios to grow to DF's size and still sustain themselves without the need for publishers. "Indie" doesn't have to be synonymous with "small".

Edit: pkrs' quote from Indie Fund proves that this deal harms no one. The only argument left is semantics.

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Gulstar, the "next wave of game developers" implies newcomers in the industry. Not settled companies. There's no point in denying the obvious. And they have indeed been funding newcomers.

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Here is a comment from Ron Carmel on Joystiq :

(http://www.joystiq.com/2013/06/13/two-double-fine-projects-being-funded-by-indie-fund/)

"roncarmel

hi @YellowTube, ron from indie fund here.the money that went to double fine does not come at the expense of funding other games.  we actually have money sitting around not invested (even after the double fine investment), because we haven't found enough promising teams that we believe that our investment will help make self sufficient. the problem has always been lack of promising projects, not lack of money". 

Yeah, I read that comment after my first post in this thread. Since then I've read several contradictory statements by different Indie Fund members, so I'll reserve judgment for now.

And it's true that Indie Fund's new direction (if that's what it is) may be very good for the gaming industry. As long as it means that innovative games like Dear Esther will still be funded.

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A fund where the money is lying around isn't much of a help to anyone.

I think at first they should fund projects which they like and find promising in some sort of way, like:

a) They believe into the project's success, so it's interesting from a financial point of view.

b) They think it is a unique project, so it's interesting from the art or the game design, although being no dollar magnet.

c) They see potential in the dev, so whilst this specific game might not be a killer, they support the dev in order to evolve so that some of his future games might be successful.

If they consider such aspects then it's Indie friendly and no one should feel offended because a big fish like DF takes part as well. A year ago Kickstarter also had these (envy) discussions, Kickstarter is only for small/unknown devs, a well known dev should utalise other funding methods, etc., dunno, i think a site like RockPaperShotgun does it right, they don't differ between a AAA and an indie game, it's all about the game, but beside of this they also show some Indie love. Saying so, no idea if any educational aspect is part of Indie Fund's principles. Reading through their recommendations for getting funded, attending conferences or festivals can already be great expenses for an Indie more standing in the bedroom/garage band corner but then there still is the online press.

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The sooner the meaning of the term indie changes from "two guys/gals in the basement doing their first sellable game" to just "indepedent developers" the better.

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That is technically what it means, but I get what you're saying. Maybe we need to coin the phrase "basies" to mean what a lot of people take indie to mean.

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Utterly ridiculous debate of the term 'indie' aside:

Congratulations DF on getting more of your awesome stuff out of the gate!

I hope, hope, hope, hope that at least one, if not both, is an AF project. I don't care which. They're all incredible. Does anyone have any idea when we will get some insight into the projects now underway?

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Sounds like good news. Congrats to Doublefine! It's great to see them doing so well.

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@Fien You bring up a lot of good points, but at the end of the day, don't you think a group like Indie Fund has a decent understanding of what being "indie" means? They seem to believe Double Fine aligns with their goals and visions. We can argue all day about how many employees or years in business fit the definition, but I think all gamers can be happy that some great new games are going to be made that (hopefully) aren't military FPS games.

Also, how many CEOs from non-indie companies would take the time to respond to your concerns? I think that is pretty cool.

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