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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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Oh I’m glad that the Daedalic guys finally came out and said that, because I said it my self for some time now, without the numbers to back it up.

But no need to worry, at least no need to worry about things that became apparent months ago.

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I like Daedalic's games that I've played, and great that they're continuing to produce games. I hope to play "Broken Age" in some form in due course, but not sure my getting worked up about it is going to achieve anything past getting worked up about it. Not all the Kickstarter horses I've backed are going to come in first I'm sure.

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I do believe that Daedelic's games are made in an existing engine tailored for making adventure games. And while their games look very nice, I don't think they're doing nearly as much artistically as Double Fine are doing. So it's really not a very fair comparison.

This is a game developed on a completely new engine/toolchain, based on an existing framework, with a far more sophisticated use of art (not saying the art is 'better', that's subjective, but it is objectively technically more advanced), and on PC/Mac/Linux/iPhone and Android. Of course it's going to be more expensive, and considerably so.

Double Fine investigated a variety of engines and decided the best use of their resources would be to build off of Moai. Maybe that was a poor decision, but it would have been very hard to know that at the time, and disastrous to start again from scratch in a new engine. Personally, I think the extra money they put into building the engine and everything else has been very well spend. I think it really shows in the environments we've seen so far. They're spectacular.

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This post by Daedalic founder Carsten Fichtelmann somewhat puts things in perspective:
I unfortunately have to admit that the combined budget of [our 11 adventure games] was less than 3M Euro. ...

Now I AM kinda worried and suprised concerning the current situation...

LOL.

Hate to burst your bubble, but it's more than just a rumor that as much as 80% of Daedalic's staff are interns. Most of them work for free in order to add something to their portfolio. Take a look at Daedalic's recruiting page right now:

http://www.daedalic.de/de/Jobs/

Internships only. No real jobs.

So Fichtelmann should just stop gloating.

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This post by Daedalic founder Carsten Fichtelmann somewhat puts things in perspective:
I unfortunately have to admit that the combined budget of [our 11 adventure games] was less than 3M Euro. ...

Now I AM kinda worried and suprised concerning the current situation...

LOL.

Hate to burst your bubble, but it's more than just a rumor that as much as 80% of Daedalic's staff are interns. Most of them work for free in order to add something to their portfolio. Take a look at Daedalic's recruiting page right now:

http://www.daedalic.de/de/Jobs/

Internships only. No real jobs.

So Fichtelmann should just stop gloating.

Wow, yeah. That'd do it, too.

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This post by Daedalic founder Carsten Fichtelmann somewhat puts things in perspective:
I unfortunately have to admit that the combined budget of Edna's Breakout, Harvey's New Eyes, 1.5 Knights, Deponia, Chaos on Deponia, Goodbye Deponia, A New Beginning, The Whispered World, Satinav's Chains, Memoria, 1954: Alcatraz and The Night of the Rabbit was less than 3M Euro. These are 11 adventure games with a mean length of usually 10 hours. None of these titles is just average! I have no idea what we'd do with 3M. A Heavy Rain, maybe. Should I be depressed? I just think it's alarming that TS wanted to have 0.3M $ and now 3M are not enough. By the way, Deponia 1-3 is more than 40 HOURS long (!) and competes internationally, everywhere.

Now I AM kinda worried and suprised concerning the current situation...

Yeeesss! The good old Teutonic efficiency! :-)

Please, nobody tells that to the French of Quantic Deam (they "burned" € 16.7 million to make Heavy Rain) or they might take offense...

I live in Europe and..."now I AM kinda worried and suprised concerning the current situation..."

- I'm joking guys... :-) -

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DF is a AAA studio in the mecca of AAA game development San Francisco running on indie mode, Daedalic is a small indie developer/publisher in Germany.

If Daedalic is using interns to pump out their games more power to them, since their work has been consistently good and clearly they’ve been profitable.

The two should not be directly compared, however a Daedalic sized and styled game for 3 mil, and a year and a half development time should not have been too much to expect out of DF.

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If Daedalic is using interns to pump out their games more power to them, since their work has been consistently good and clearly they’ve been profitable.

Ahem, more power to them? Ever more power to unpaid or low-paid internships and minimal chances to gain regular employment after the internship (I'm not just talking about Daedalic here)? Something's clearly wrong with this picture, if you ask me.

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I went through Daedalic's forums and I can't find the quote anywhere. Where is it from?

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It is absurd for someone with a degree to work for free on a full time job.

For a company with 70 employees (according to wikipedia - so take that with a grain of salt) to spend 3 Mio on their payroll over their course of 6 years is something pretty shady - not something to brag about.

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Even governments and gigantic corporations go over-budget and break the original schedule in all kinds of projects more often than you think.

He is just trying to make the game of his dreams and got caught in a gust of creativity. Just give the man some room to breath and let him do what he knows best and in the end, sooner of later, we will get a hell of a game to play.

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If Daedalic is using interns to pump out their games more power to them, since their work has been consistently good and clearly they’ve been profitable.

Ahem, more power to them? Ever more power to unpaid or low-paid internships and minimal chances to gain regular employment after the internship (I'm not just talking about Daedalic here)? Something's clearly wrong with this picture, if you ask me.

Well first of all, you’re just assuming they are primarily using interns for the bulk of their work, looking at their job listing is nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but assuming it is true.

Do the people that intern there do not gain valuable job experience, especially if they are primarily responsible for critically acclaimed games, how does that not help them get paid work later? Is there some trend in Germany of all developers doing that, that I don’t know about? Adventure games are a very niche market, even if you sell 500,000 copies it is considered a big success, you have to cut costs somehow.

Are those interns somehow manipulated into their internships there? Are they not aware of what they doing and why? Keeping a studio’s lights on 24/7 is a very expensive endeavor, other small developers use contract work, if they use interns what’s so wrong about that?

Again I don’t understand how interning for a company like Daedalic which is successful both critically and commercially within their niche can lower their chance to find work later, shouldn’t it be the opposite? Unless I miss something obvious here.

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I'm disappointed very sad Tim!

We have payed for a documentary but this documentary is avaiable only fpr english people or for who understand american spoken...not for me!

2PP open a Subtitle project i have spent a lot of time on it, but this project are abandoned from months!

So, we play the game the NEXT JULY and can't view documentary because no one post documentary with english subtitles!

I want to speak well in English for say all my frustration!

Goodbye for ever

i'm not more interested in your project because are only for American People, not for all! I have payes for EFIGS games and dcumentary not for waiting all my life!!!!!!

I am very disappointed about it, too!

2 months ago Asif Siddiky from 2PP posted this:

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/7657/P175/#272986

But since then nothing has changed.

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I went through Daedalic's forums and I can't find the quote anywhere. Where is it from?

Several gaming forums (like adventure-treff.de or gamersglobal.de) are citing this as a Facebook quote by Fichtelmann, though I don't know where exactly he posted it.

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I'm glad about the complex route this game's production is going. It means they're not holding back on the game's design or scope and it makes for a much more interesting documentary. How crap would it be if some simple scaled back game was already released and the documentary was about how nice and straightforward things went? Plus there'd be no more documentary to look forward to :)

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So I don't know the ethics of posting this, but I figure it's cool between 2 kcikstarters I'm backing. Here's a post that The Banner Saga guys posted, and I feel it's really important to read because they are very legitimate gaming industry vets putting their 2 cents in:

"I would also like to talk about my personal opinion on this, and I'd love to be open and talk like a normal person instead of a PR person in damage control mode. Can we do this? Without freaking out? You can disagree with me of course, just be nice about it.

This is hard. Like, way WAY hard. When we pitched the game we were hoping for enough money to get extra animations, maybe increase the length of the game. We thought we'd get, like, 2000 backers, not 20,000. A fine problem to have, right? Haha! Except that it's actually a huge problem. The hardest problem I've ever dealt with in my life. Now I know.

We thought now we could do everything we ever wanted for the game, and got too ambitious. We thought we could make the game in six months, and I'm still not sure what we were thinking. That was stupid. I wish I could take that back, all we needed to do was put a different date there and nobody would be complaining. Whoops. We ARE still doing everything we want, and it's taking a long time. I don't feel bad about that. That was the POINT, right? To dream as big as we could?

It's interesting to think of it from someone else's point of view. For many people, letting a dev shoot for the moon is NOT the point. For a lot of people the point is I BOUGHT A GAME, WHERE IS IT? They want the biggest, best game ever made, on time, for their $10 contribution. I can see that, too. I don't really agree... but I suppose it's a matter of perspective.

If nothing else, I think the gaming community is finally getting a good picture about real game development. What would really shock people is that there is nothing unusual about any of this, except that you are finally seeing it. This is every game development story that has ever existed, except instead of the publisher dealing with it, YOU are.

Budgets of 1 to 4 million are small-to-medium sized. Our budget of $650k (in actual funding) is relatively small, half a year of production for a small team. Budgets of kickstarter projects asking for $20k... that's not enough to make a game, that's just some content. Surprise! Games you've come to expect as "standard" like Call of Duty: maybe 150 million to make, rough guess. You know how much Old Republic cost? I'm not legally allowed to tell you, actually. It's that much. Now you know.

Games take 1 year to make... if it's a casual iOS game, or an annual sequel. Medium sized games take 2-3 years. Large games take 4-5 years. Believe it or not, lots of games fall in a nebulous space between AAA and "indie", whatever that means. The Old Republic took over 6 years. Yeah, you started hearing about it 1 year before it released. It started production five years before that. For five years hundreds of people toiled on it 12 hours a day and you had no idea! Now you know! Isn't knowing about production right from the start wonderful? No, it's not. It's annoying. It takes FOREVER. That's why you usually don't hear anything until it's almost ready to ship.

Delays, content cuts, pushed back dates, plans to make revenue sooner- this is how games are developed. Bioshock Infinite, the biggest game of 2013, got delayed for half a year, AFTER pre-orders were sold. Journey took 3 years to make a 3 hour game and had to go back for more funding from Sony TWICE. That's how game development goes. They didn't know they'd need to do it. Humans are not good at estimating creative endeavors, no matter how "professional" they are.

We released a truly free demo hoping to make some extra cash for development, and got brutalized for it. But without that income and development time our single-player game wouldn't be as good. Some people will never understand this.

I've worked in games for about a decade. Some companies I worked for had their stuff together better than others. Some were a huge, hundred-million dollar, extremely delayed nightmares. Every company had delays and went over-budget. You know what a release date is? A guess. We're just guessing.

Essentially, I hope people don't freak out too much about what's happening with Kickstarter right now. It's not deceitful or underhanded. It's not a conspiracy. It's normal stuff, whether you like it or not. If Broken Age wasn't a Kickstarter game the first time you would have heard about it would be a couple months from ship, and that it was a two-part adventure game. And you would have been fine with that.

Our game is coming along better than I could have imagined, even if delayed. BECAUSE it's delayed. I'm super happy with it. Other companies have way bigger problems, but that's game development. NOW YOU KNOW. I sincerely hope everything works out the best for them, and you should too. At the end of the day, they're nice guys trying to make good entertainment for you. I, personally, will cut them all the slack in the world."

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Well first of all, you’re just assuming they are primarily using interns for the bulk of their work, looking at their job listing is nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but assuming it is true.

They're saying they made 11 adventure games for 3 million. That's about 270k per game.

Look at the credits for one of their games:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/deponia/credits

Here's a list of about half of the team from that:

Jan Müller-Michaelis

Carsten Fichtelmann

Tom Kersten

Joachim Nitschke

Alexander Schack

Daniel Schäfers

Alexander Kraus

Sebastian Schmidt

Ulf Müller

Simon Nguyen

Claudia Pötzsche

Kevin Mentz

Stefan Köhler

Patrick Gehring

Thorben Kohler

Kevin Niederelz

Sebastian Osthoff

Claudia Pötzsche

Eduard Wolf

Kathrin Kurzbach

Phillip Massek

Eduard Wolf

Alex Hartmann

David Stoffel

Thomas Dibke

Simone Kesterton

Michael Benrad

Jan-Philip Dombrowski

Stefanie Genzwürker

Malte Burup

Muri Kemaldar

+ Many, many many more. Now, I'm not a maths genius, but... yeah, it's easy to say you made your games on a budget when you're not paying your workers.

And I don't care WHAT you think of the practice of unpaid internships (personally I think it's an exploitative use of talented people, but that's by the by) I don't think Double Fine can be faulted for wanting to pay their staff a wage, and I don't think it's this guy's place to call Double Fine out for doing that.

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If Daedalic is using interns to pump out their games more power to them, since their work has been consistently good and clearly they’ve been profitable.

Ahem, more power to them? Ever more power to unpaid or low-paid internships and minimal chances to gain regular employment after the internship (I'm not just talking about Daedalic here)? Something's clearly wrong with this picture, if you ask me.

Well first of all, you’re just assuming they are primarily using interns for the bulk of their work, looking at their job listing is nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but assuming it is true.

Do the people that intern there do not gain valuable job experience, especially if they are primarily responsible for critically acclaimed games, how does that not help them get paid work later? Is there some trend in Germany of all developers doing that, that I don’t know about? Adventure games are a very niche market, even if you sell 500,000 copies it is considered a big success, you have to cut costs somehow.

Are those interns somehow manipulated into their internships there? Are they not aware of what they doing and why? Keeping a studio’s lights on 24/7 is a very expensive endeavor, other small developers use contract work, if they use interns what’s so wrong about that?

Again I don’t understand how interning for a company like Daedalic which is successful both critically and commercially within their niche can lower their chance to find work later, shouldn’t it be the opposite? Unless I miss something obvious here.

I don't know if this applies to game developers specifically, but there's a reason for the term "generation internship" floating around in German media constantly. Especially in the creative sector (media, design, print publishing, etc.) there seems to be a common practice to offer many openings for unpaid (or little-paid) internships compared to very few "real" jobs, let alone long-term contracts, resulting in many young university alumni going from internship to internship, resigned to put up with it as it seems the only way to possibly somewhen get a foothold in their job, and it's better building (more and more) experience without pay than not working at all. Essentially it's a dangling carrot exploitation scheme.

(Disclaimer: I don't have numbers to support this right now, but that's the way the situation is perceived currently via media and public discussion. I've also witnessed people I know having some experiences like these. However, it's not my intent to bash all affected employers. If they are really notoriously short on funds, hiring permanent employees poses problems. But the current climate facilitates these practices everywhere.)

Yes, in theory especially a job at a prestigious company should be a boon for future employment chances, but this is only true if not every company offers the same prospect for future possibilities as the main method of "payment".

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I'll probably repeat myself somewhere down the post a bit for the sake of two topics on one issue. :)

Reading some of the posts around, I needed to remind myself that we are not here to act like a bunch of executives who have never developed games yet lecture about development and budgets. I can understand getting frustrated due to a missed deadline, but I don't see the point in acting like we are the ones that will have to work rather than wait for a little longer. :)

I mean, sure this is hard for everyone, we are eager to play a great game. But saying `oh, you should have known better` is just being a bit unfair. We shoud know better. We are backing a game project, not a new box of ball point pens. Haven't you seen any other games delayed? Go way over the budget? Even cancelled? And those were mostly the games that were finance by producers with tens of millions of dollars. We are here to show that gamers can back projects, understand the creative process is a bitch and avoid acting like producers. :)

I saw some posts by people from the game industry… I’m also a game designer and someone from the industry should know better than to compare an initial budget with an ongoing one. So this is much much muuuuch better solution than I’ve heard from other developers out there.

And I always wish we have the opportunity to develop our games without cutting anything cause the deadline is already dead. This is why I got all excited when I watched the first KS video and said `yes I'll back you till the world freezes and we all go to hell for a nice battle with rocker zombies!` Cause you know what? I prefer waiting for a studio that cares about the games for years if necessary, rather than waiting for big bucky players of the gaming arena who would never ever care for the gamers to write a note that expresses how they are doing. We are witnessing the whole process. So, I just can’t wait to see the game... both acts... ;)

Bottom line is… we are here to back DF so that they can develop a game freely… We are not pre-purchasing customers. We are backers.

Love you all…

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And I don't care WHAT you think of the practice of unpaid internships (personally I think it's an exploitative use of talented people, but that's by the by) I don't think Double Fine can be faulted for wanting to pay their staff a wage, and I don't think it's this guy's place to call Double Fine out for doing that.

The thing is, even if he was running a studio with full time employees, it still wouldn’t cost him as much as it costs DF right now to make a game like BA (instead of 11 he’d make 5 with 3 mil). San Francisco is the most expensive place in the world to make games at right now, and DF has the running costs and personnel of a AAA developer, only Publisher in-house development teams have 200+ people working, every independent developer is in the 50-100 range which is where DF is at right now.

Basically they’re in Wembley Stadium holding a 4 year-old kids football league, how long can they go on like that, if it wasn’t for the breakthrough KS success it looked like some downsizing was going to take place, instead since then they hired more people.

Where am getting at is, Fichtelmann may be surprised because San Francisco and Germany are two completely different worlds, though I’d really like to see what he has to say to the accusation that he uses interns to do his work.

I don't know if this applies to game developers specifically, but there's a reason for the term "generation internship" floating around in German media constantly. Especially in the creative sector (media, design, print publishing, etc.) there seems to be a common practice to offer many openings for unpaid (or little-paid) internships compared to very few "real" jobs, let alone long-term contracts, resulting in many young university alumni going from internship to internship, resigned to put up with it as it seems the only way to possibly somewhen get a foothold in their job, and it's better building (more and more) experience without pay than not working at all. Essentially it's a dangling carrot exploitation scheme.

(Disclaimer: I don't have numbers to support this right now, but that's the way the situation is perceived currently via media and public discussion. I've also witnessed people I know having some experiences like these. However, it's not my intent to bash all affected employers. If they are really notoriously short on funds, hiring permanent employees poses problems. But the current climate facilitates these practices everywhere.)

Yes, in theory especially a job at a prestigious company should be a boon for future employment chances, but this is only true if not every company offers the same prospect for future possibilities as the main method of "payment".

If true that sounds like bad situation, Germany has the biggest economy in the EU, I hope stuff like that is not the reason why, I always admired German business ethics for their efficiency, but if that has became a problem maybe the German people should lobby a politician to change things up a bit, the long term effect of something like that can be very negative.

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If true that sounds like bad situation, Germany has the biggest economy in the EU, I hope stuff like that is not the reason why, I always admired German business ethics for their efficiency, but if that has became a problem maybe the German people should lobby a politician to change things up a bit, the long term effect of something like that can be very negative.

As stated, this seems to mostly affect the media sector and students of social sciences. AFAIK the more technical industries don't have this problem in general. And I think one has to differentiate between summer/semester internships offered to provide some early job experience during a university degree, and the kind of concatenated post-graduate internships that are the real problem.

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I went through Daedalic's forums and I can't find the quote anywhere. Where is it from?

Several gaming forums (like adventure-treff.de or gamersglobal.de) are citing this as a Facebook quote by Fichtelmann, though I don't know where exactly he posted it.

Hmm... can't find it on Facebook either.

Anyway, I looked into Daedalic's way of making games, which I've played only a few of, and it appears that they actually make their games with Visionaire Studio. They are not exactly pushing the envelope here.

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I don't know if this has been asked yet, but what about us backers getting the full game?

Anyone who donated $15 and over where promised a full game+beta so does this mean we get parts 1 and 2 or just one part and have to pay for the other?

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I don't know if this has been asked yet, but what about us backers getting the full game?

Anyone who donated $15 and over where promised a full game+beta so does this mean we get parts 1 and 2 or just one part and have to pay for the other?

Every backer at the $15+ level gets the full game at the end.

We just get half the game early from Steam early access and the beta before that like we were supposed to.

I know that DF said they don’t think they need to start explaining stuff to the media, but perhaps a new more concise note for backers that may be still confused would help.

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"Backers still get the whole game this way—nobody has to pay again for the second half." It literally says that in the OP!

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Well first of all, you’re just assuming they are primarily using interns for the bulk of their work, looking at their job listing is nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but assuming it is true.

Well, I read the same thing in several German game forums, and on career platforms where you can rate employers it's even mentioned by people who were happy with their internships.

Do the people that intern there do not gain valuable job experience, especially if they are primarily responsible for critically acclaimed games, how does that not help them get paid work later?

You can never argue with that. But is it justified? Every apprentice in Germany gets a salary paid while these people will usually have a university education and do work on a professional level without pay or only a low pay. And gaining professional experience can help you get a job -- but it's in no way certain that it will help you get a job later on. Those people not getting jobs will most likely regret that they agreed to put in 6 months of professional work for free.

Is there some trend in Germany of all developers doing that, that I don’t know about?

That depends on the developers, and I therefore I can't give you an answer. But it is generally prevalent in the so-called creative sector in Germany.

Adventure games are a very niche market, even if you sell 500,000 copies it is considered a big success, you have to cut costs somehow.

A niche market doesn't give you the right to exploit people. I mean, it's like this: if some indie developers decide to make a game, then they do so of their own free will, and they willingly and knowingly accept that they'll somehow have to get by during development. When on the other hand a legitimate business makes a game, and they realize that they need a rather large staff they can't afford to pay, and therefore hiring unpaid or lowly-paid interns becomes part of the business strategy, then something is very wrong.

Are those interns somehow manipulated into their internships there? Are they not aware of what they doing and why? Keeping a studio’s lights on 24/7 is a very expensive endeavor, other small developers use contract work, if they use interns what’s so wrong about that?

What's wrong about it is that unpaid interns have become a legitimate part of many companies in Germany's creative sector. There is an expectancy from the start that you as an intern will work for free or for a low pay. Where's the money to come from if you basically have a full-time job that pays you no money?

Again I don’t understand how interning for a company like Daedalic which is successful both critically and commercially within their niche can lower their chance to find work later, shouldn’t it be the opposite? Unless I miss something obvious here.

It doesn't lower their chances. But with internships often being the only viable possibility of entering the gaming industry, people are basically being forced to work without pay, without knowing that their dream will come true later on. If you can somehow afford it, then that's nice for you. If not, you're SOL.

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Well, since this thread is going mega, I thought I'd chime in.

I backed a Tim Schafer game. I backed well aware of the protracted and broken nature of game-making. I backed well aware that Schafer's previous games have been delayed. I was actually disappointed with the amount raised because it was less than what everyone was saying would be necessary to match Grim Fandango's budget in today's money, because that's the scope I was hoping for.

I guess I come at this from a creative perspective rather than a consumer or financial one. Game companies are not measured by their ability to get things out on time. They are measured by the quality of their games. Look at Valve - Half Life 2 took 5 years to complete. Vivendi/Sierra must have been knocking at the door the whole time. But because people didn't have the kind of behind-the-scenes look we've got, they just got on with their lives none the wiser.

If we somehow don't get part 2 of this game, then I will be (rightfully, and righteously) angry, but I am quite happy with this development, and won't be playing the game till part 2 is out and I can sit and marathon through in a day or two.

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So I don't know the ethics of posting this,

Yeah, the ethics of posting a giant cut'n'paste that has already been posted in this very thread (page 20) is rather questionable :-/

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@r-h-t

Between SurplusGamer and XeXano posts (and now yours) I got the jist of what is happening.

Now that I had time to think about it, the problem may be supply over demand, there’s probably a lot of young people that want (and are qualified) to enter the game industry in Germany right now, and not enough slots to cover them, to the point that companies just use intern position since they know there will always be someone to fill those slots.

Two things could happen, one, people should try to find work elsewhere in Europe (scandinavia is getting to be a hotbed right now) or in the US, like our dear Oliver here at DF.

The other thing is, if German investors invested more into the gaming industry, I did a search for German game development studios, and besides Crytek and Deep Silver, most are mobile/indie/niche studios which probably can’t afford a full personell anyway, it would be nice if the market expanded there.

Granted I don’t have much insight to the German market, and what I say may be way off, but there is a reason why this phenomenon is happening, and is not just mere greed from the studios, because if it was just that, they wouldn’t be able to get away with it.

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