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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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I'm mostly ok with this. As I see it, it's not about getting an incomplete game, quite the opposite. We're getting the /full/ game because of the additional funding from the Steam Early Access, just now in two parts.

But! What does concern me is that we won't get enough money from the Early Access. I don't know how many sales is needed to reach the goal, but.... what if it doesn't reach those goals? Will you have to cut down the rest of the game?

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Cut the scope.

No, seriously. Cut the scope.

Look at Shadowruns Return. It has delivered (mostly) in time, keeping in line with the available budget. You had an amount of money to work with, and now you're scrambling for pennies because you couldn't keep within it. As much as I want the game to be good (and I put a three number figure in backing, so you know I really want it to be good), going overbudget and risking the entire game - at this point, if Steam Early Release doesn't go well, we don't get the second half of the game - because Tim is unable to cut the scope is doing more harm than good to the project.

So, in short: Cut the scope.

So you don't want them to release half of the game, but rather only 25% which is what they would have to cut down to otherwise? No, this sounds like a much better option to me.

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Also, I've been reminded of this:
"I've never met him in my life – I've never had anything to do with him. I never had any involvement in the Vivendi project that they were doing, Brütal Legend, other than I was in one meeting where the guys looked at it and said, 'He's late, he's missed every milestone, he's overspent the budget and it doesn't seem like a good game. We're going to cancel it.'

"And do you know what? That seemed like a sensible thing to do. And it turns out, he was late, he missed every milestone, the game was not a particularly good game..."

From Activision's very own Kotick :P I guess that's the Tim Schafer way. ;D

Yes, let's trust the word of Bobby Kotick. Clearly, he's wouldn't make crap up to make himself look better.

Are you on the river Nile?

See my re edited post above.

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Also, I've been reminded of this:
"I've never met him in my life – I've never had anything to do with him. I never had any involvement in the Vivendi project that they were doing, Brütal Legend, other than I was in one meeting where the guys looked at it and said, 'He's late, he's missed every milestone, he's overspent the budget and it doesn't seem like a good game. We're going to cancel it.'

"And do you know what? That seemed like a sensible thing to do. And it turns out, he was late, he missed every milestone, the game was not a particularly good game..."

From Activision's very own Kotick :P I guess that's the Tim Schafer way. ;D

Yes, let's trust the word of Bobby Kotick. Clearly, he's wouldn't make crap up to make himself look better.

Are you on the river Nile?

See my re edited post above.

I think the reason they sued is because Activision gave them a ton of money. Then another company was going to make money on something they invested in.

That doesn't sound fair to me, and it sounds like the contracts weren't done properly.

I wouldn't say that was Double Fine's fault, but I do believe that if Activision gave them money and then didn't get any back, cancelled or not.

But again, it sounds like the paperwork was shoddy.

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@fargetv

Yep, mixed 6:30 and 8:30 Calvins up in the text *fixed*, still the same problem.

I still agree with ET3D, though. 6:30 Calvin returns to 6:30 after his conversation with 8:30 Calvin, and thus becomes 8:30 Calvin two hours later. 8:30 Calvin is the same Calvin as 6:30 Calvin, meaning that no cloning or further time travel is required for the two to have a conversation.

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If they wanted to make money on it, they should have released it. But the reason they didn't isn't because Tim "missed the milestones". It's because it wasn't Guitar Hero. Also Activision didn't put any money into the game. Sierra did.

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Also, I've been reminded of this:
"I've never met him in my life – I've never had anything to do with him. I never had any involvement in the Vivendi project that they were doing, Brütal Legend, other than I was in one meeting where the guys looked at it and said, 'He's late, he's missed every milestone, he's overspent the budget and it doesn't seem like a good game. We're going to cancel it.'

"And do you know what? That seemed like a sensible thing to do. And it turns out, he was late, he missed every milestone, the game was not a particularly good game..."

From Activision's very own Kotick :P I guess that's the Tim Schafer way. ;D

But Bobby Kotick had another agenda: The release of Brütal Legend might hurt the release of another music driven game: Guitar Hero. Then, when Brütal Legend passed Activision's expectations (Shame it didn't pass E.A.'s) it was decided to make Guitar Hero more like Brütal Legend's single player mode.

Yes, I'm sure Tim Schafer went over budget, but he is very ambitious and scopes a large game. He writes character centralized and thus even his own characters make the game longer and bigger than Tim originally intended. With the decision to receive more funding we are receiving the full vision for free, something that Tim never had the luxury to do until recently.

I have no problems with this system, especially if LSL:R really did sell 250,000 units in its first week.

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If they wanted to make money on it, they should have released it. But the reason they didn't isn't because Tim "missed the milestones". It's because it wasn't Guitar Hero. Also Activision didn't put any money into the game. Sierra did.

Who owned Sierra?

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Also, I've been reminded of this:
"I've never met him in my life – I've never had anything to do with him. I never had any involvement in the Vivendi project that they were doing, Brütal Legend, other than I was in one meeting where the guys looked at it and said, 'He's late, he's missed every milestone, he's overspent the budget and it doesn't seem like a good game. We're going to cancel it.'

"And do you know what? That seemed like a sensible thing to do. And it turns out, he was late, he missed every milestone, the game was not a particularly good game..."

From Activision's very own Kotick :P I guess that's the Tim Schafer way. ;D

But Bobby Kotick had another agenda: The release of Brütal Legend might hurt the release of another music driven game: Guitar Hero. Then, when Brütal Legend passed Activision's expectations (Shame it didn't pass E.A.'s) it was decided to make Guitar Hero more like Brütal Legend's single player mode.

Yes, I'm sure Tim Schafer went over budget, but he is very ambitious and scopes a large game. He writes character centralized and thus even his own characters make the game longer and bigger than Tim originally intended. With the decision to receive more funding we are receiving the full vision for free, something that Tim never had the luxury to do until recently.

I have no problems with this system, especially if LSL:R really did sell 250,000 units in its first week.

Where did you get that figure, because if it is true, then that's great news for the sequel!

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The way some people argue on this forum makes them look like mini producers, and having 90 000 angry and controlling producers sounds considerably worse than havning just one.

If Double Fine was looking to Kickstarter as a way to free themselves of pressure and scrutiny, they were wrong.

At least you can have a difficult conversation with your publisher in the privacy of a conference room. This is a bar-room brawl.

No-one likes to be told it's time to put down the toys - in Tim's case literally - but someone has to be the adult in the room.

I think they're making the right decision. Something sooner is better than everything later (or not at all).

Are you referring to the forum as the room, or the conference room from episode 10? If you are referring to the forum, then the contributors have no formal decision power over the project (thankfully), and there is no way that anonymous forum contributors can be considered an adult presence.

And being adult doesn't mean being right, it just means that you are responsible for your own actions, which Schafer definitely is.

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The more I think about it, this move just seems dumb. We're talking about an extra 3-4 months development to finish the whole thing? That's not even that much extra money. $600,000 maybe? On a project that's already got $5 million budgeted? It seems like running the risk of pissing off both backers and potential buyers and getting a lot of negative press over something that should be very surmountable. It would be better just to wait until April/May and get it done.

Again, I don't personally care as long as I get the game, but I want to see Double Fine succeed, and this seems like a bad way to go about it.

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You're a good man Tim. I'm convinced that this was the right decision given the circumstances. All I would like is more frequent updates on what's going on with the project. I look forwaard to what I, without a doubt, think is going to be a truly great game.

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If they wanted to make money on it, they should have released it. But the reason they didn't isn't because Tim "missed the milestones". It's because it wasn't Guitar Hero. Also Activision didn't put any money into the game. Sierra did.

Who owned Sierra?

No one, until Activision bought them. At which point they immediately cancelled Brutal Legend, and then got upset when someone else was going to release it. Not to mention that the reason Brutal Legend went over budget was because Sierra demanded they add a single player campaign (it was originally multiplayer only) and open world elements which skyrocketed the budget. But yeah, it was apparently all Tim's fault.

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If they wanted to make money on it, they should have released it. But the reason they didn't isn't because Tim "missed the milestones". It's because it wasn't Guitar Hero. Also Activision didn't put any money into the game. Sierra did.

Who owned Sierra?

No one, until Activision bought them. At which point they immediately cancelled Brutal Legend, and then got upset when someone else was going to release it. Not to mention that the reason Brutal Legend went over budget was because Sierra demanded they add a single player campaign (it was originally multiplayer only) and open world elements which skyrocketed the budget. But yeah, it was apparently all Tim's fault.

I'm sorry I'm on Activision's side here.

But the story still has holes in it.

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If you need to save money, then I'll volunteer to translate the game into German for free.

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If they wanted to make money on it, they should have released it. But the reason they didn't isn't because Tim "missed the milestones". It's because it wasn't Guitar Hero. Also Activision didn't put any money into the game. Sierra did.

Who owned Sierra?

No one, until Activision bought them. At which point they immediately cancelled Brutal Legend, and then got upset when someone else was going to release it. Not to mention that the reason Brutal Legend went over budget was because Sierra demanded they add a single player campaign (it was originally multiplayer only) and open world elements which skyrocketed the budget. But yeah, it was apparently all Tim's fault.

I'm sorry I'm on Activision's side here.

But the story still has holes in it.

Okay, let's say that Bobby Kotick does know what makes a good game as he claims. Let's take a look at a game he thought was fit to release. http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/battleship

I would rather DF get the money together to put out a game that feels complete than release something that a company like Activision would approve of.

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I'm ok with all of this but what if the game doesn't get enough money then? Being DRM-free it can also be pirated no problem, what happens then?

I know this isn't an option but is voice acting really necessary? I mean I always knew that costs a lot and if the music is good enough it will be just like the old school adventure games.

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I'm afraid I'm with the skeptics on this one. There's dozens of games to be done, dozens of ideas that can go into this or another game, and trying to stuff it all into ONE game (over budget, over deadlines) is just too risky. As someone just said - one has to know when to say "STOP", lock the scope, lock the features, go into alpha. What if a new funding source IS found, and Tim goes eureka again, requiring EVEN more money? As much as this may be calling out into the wild in vain - Tim, please, stop before it's too late.

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I'm afraid I'm with the skeptics on this one. There's dozens of games to be done, dozens of ideas that can go into this or another game, and trying to stuff it all into ONE game (over budget, over deadlines) is just too risky. As someone just said - one has to know when to say "STOP", lock the scope, lock the features, go into alpha. What if a new funding source IS found, and Tim goes eureka again, requiring EVEN more money? As much as this may be calling out into the wild in vain - Tim, please, stop before it's too late.
His vision for the game is locked down at this point more or less. The problem was he overestimated how far the money they had would take them. I don't think he'd make that mistake again. People tend to learn from mistakes like this.

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@fargetv

Let's play it through:

6:30 C travells to 8:30

8:30 C (let's just ignore where he comes from) says No

6:30 C travells without success back to 6:30

6:30 C turns into 8:30 C (by sleeping and without doing the homework, so he knows about his failure and the answer he gives in picture 3 therefore doesn't make sense, unless travelling through time takes 2 hours)

:

The whole strip plays at 8:30.

6.30 C travells to 8:30

8:30 C (maybe from a alternative timeline) says No

8:30 C says he went on time travell on his own 2 hours ago when 8:30 C asked another C probably just the same ... same problems arise, you can expand this forever.

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The problem was he overestimated how far the money they had would take them. I don't think he'd make that mistake again. People tend to learn from mistakes like this.

When you have a vision and a budget, and suddenly the figures go red, you go back to the vision and start cutting. Then you kick it and push against it and cram what you can of the vision into the budget. Even if said 75% of the vision gets dropped - it still exists in creators' minds and on drawing boards; it can go into a sequel, a reboot, a movie, a comic, whatever. You still DO get the 25% out, instead of frantically trying to go va banque, as I feel this is how it's going to be.

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Im a bit worried that a lot of that money would have been used for ongoing studio stuff and new projects. seems like robbing future doublefine to pay present doublefine. But whatever you think will be best, i trust you tim!

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The problem was he overestimated how far the money they had would take them. I don't think he'd make that mistake again. People tend to learn from mistakes like this.

When you have a vision and a budget, and suddenly the figures go red, you go back to the vision and start cutting. Then you kick it and push against it and cram what you can of the vision into the budget. Even if said 75% of the vision gets dropped - it still exists in creators' minds and on drawing boards; it can go into a sequel, a reboot, a movie, a comic, whatever. You still DO get the 25% out, instead of frantically trying to go va banque, as I feel this is how it's going to be.

You can only cut to a certain point before the whole game starts to suffer. Tim has already said they've cut about as much as he's comfortable cutting. I would rather we get the whole game in two halves instead of getting 25% of the game and then a sequel that was never originally planned. The sequel would probably end up feeling like a cash in or the original game would feel incomplete without it. It sounds like a much worse option that getting one game in two parts.

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when i saw the huge funds they got, i expected the game to remain small scale and have money over for sequels or even new adventure games (there has to be more ideas floating in tims head). now it seems that we might just get ONE HALF game, which is such incredibly gross mismanagement of available resources, its stunning. i guess publishers really DO have a use in keeping devs within the budget.

i was expecting and would have loved something along the production value lines of "Gemini Rue", the daedalic advenutre games, Machinarium, and all the other indie advntures coming out. we could have had sequels galore.

its sad to say but it seems to be the case. im also worried about the incredible negative feedback this news seems to get around various internet forums (not wholy unjustified).

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Sorry Tim, I don't like this one. Please see this comment as constructive criticism.

I think the honest thing to do in the first place would have been to announce this before the Massive Chalice kickstarter. Chances are you didn't because you knew that it wouldn't have reached the funding, and I didn't fund myself because I could tell that there were serious issues from the documentary. I can't help but think that if you set out to prove that open funding is better than having a publisher, you've failed.

If the DFA has failed, then that is not a bad thing. I would actually prefer DF to be working with publishers again, I like the bigger budget projects you have done and I would prefer that DF would drop the romance with being an indie studio.

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If the DFA has failed, then that is not a bad thing. I would actually prefer DF to be working with publishers again, I like the bigger budget projects you have done and I would prefer that DF would drop the romance with being an indie studio.

HERETIC

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This sounds like a solid plan, looking forward to Jan, hope you guys get the money you need! Did you send an email for this update, though (and episode) coz I didn't get it like I normally do and actually just found out about this through Kotaku...

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This sounds like a solid plan, looking forward to Jan, hope you guys get the money you need! Did you send an email for this update, though (and episode) coz I didn't get it like I normally do and actually just found out about this through Kotaku...

Check your spam filter, perhaps?

I'm sure we're all on an automated mailing list, and yes, there was an email.

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