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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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So when January 2014 rolls around and we get more delays are you guys going to continue making the same poor excuses for DF ? I agree with a delay, but two delays - the 2nd one over a year long? Then you only get half the game!? And hope they raise funding for the 2nd half?! This is a joke.
Oops, there’s your problem. You didn’t “invest” anything. You aren’t seeing profit returns on this game. You misunderstand what you did. What you did was advance Tim Schafer and his crew some money to make a game sight unseen. You essentially are funding his art much like people would fund poets and painters in the past. So I guess that makes Tim Schafer like Zora Neale Hurston or Lord Byron, which is just a fantastic comparison to be honest.

This isn't true. You'll notice to the right side of your screen there are delivery dates. People FULLY expect a game out of this, you'll notice the kickstarter itself says they will deliver a game. They say it might not be a good one, but they were supposed to DELIVER. All projects on kickstarter have to deliver something. If Tim just said 'fund my company, we're thinking about making an adventure game, but it might not come out for 2 years, it might be broken into pieces, but hey - i'm an artist! fund my company!' I'd never have backed, and I don't think other people would have either.

Kickstarter's agreement when you choose to fund something points out that they are not responsible for the thing you funded getting built, designed, or delivered to you. If Tim Schafer decides to take this money and move to the Bahamas, he would be a smart dude. No, wait, what I meant to say is he would be able to do it, and you would have little recourse.

Now is DF trying to give you dates and rewards and follow through as a show of good faith? Obviously. But what you expect and what you are actually entitled to are two different things.

If you didn't like the idea that you might not get it NOW because they have tentative milestones listed that they never said were fully guaranteed (I believe the word estimated was used), we might have all been better off had you not actually backed it. I would rather have a smaller, less ambitious game backed by people that get what Kickstarter is and what we are enabling Schafer and his crew to do than have Broken Age as it is/will be, but with people whining about due dates every step of the way like little annoying individual Activisions.

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While this may be counter-intuitive for some, I want to thank Double Fine from the bottom of my heart for working so hard and passionately on this game with a relatively modest budget. I also want to thank you all for your transparency on this issue. This is a real class act thing to do and you have my respect for it.

^ 100% this. These type of internal issues happen all the time, we just don't get to see them. They are generously putting themselves in a vulnerable position by showing us.

I only lurk the forums for project updates but I wanted to come forward again to express my full support for Double Fine and team Reds.

I'm not from the US, but I'd be happy to chime in if anyone where to organize to send the crew a chocolate gift basket or something, to cheer them up. To read so many comments from people who're putting negative intent where there is none is very disheartening. It must be rough for everyone who's been putting so much hard work and heart into this game.

Anyway, I'm going to buy a slacker backer account as a gift for someone else (that can be done right?) and I hope all the vitriol brewing around is heavily counteracted by all of us who still have your back <3

(I regret not pledging for the backer shirt so much, he.)

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This isn't true. You'll notice to the right side of your screen there are delivery dates.

Yes.. right next to the word ESTIMATED. And they're ESTIMATED for the original goal.

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It's not about getting the game immediately, I was fine with one, even two delays, but another damn YEAR just to play the first half ? Then maybe hopefully we get the 2nd half if the first one sells well ? That's just incompetent.

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This isn't true. You'll notice to the right side of your screen there are delivery dates.

Yes.. right next to the word ESTIMATED. And they're ESTIMATED for the original goal.

I'd also like to point out again that the $400,000 game would have been a different one to the $3,300,000+ game. The estimates were for the small, maniac mansion sized adventure game.

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If Tim just said 'fund my company, we're thinking about making an adventure game, but it might not come out for 2 years, it might be broken into pieces, but hey - i'm an artist! fund my company!' I'd never have backed, and I don't think other people would have either.

Actually that's exactly how I interpreted the Kickstarter. Then again, I'm a software developer by trade and I was able to make some educated guesses as to how it would go. For one thing, they had done no pre-production whatsoever. They had no idea what the game was going to be, what the story was, or what would be needed to tell that story in its entirety. If you don't know what you're making you can't determine what work is necessary, if you don't know the work necessary you can't actually estimate how much it'll cost. Tim said in the Kickstarter video that he'd be starting from the very beginning, which is nothing, a void of any information. So, $400,000 or $3 million, it doesn't matter, you just flat out can't start with a dollar amount and work backwards to a completed game or any piece of software, that's just not how software development works.

Given all that I thought to myself, "Okay, Tim's going the risky route. He doesn't actually know what it'll cost or what he's going to make." So the question I asked myself was "How much money am I going to invest in this risky venture?" Then I decided how much it'll be, and it was greater than $0 because of two things: 1) It's Tim Schafer, he and Double Fine have a lot of excellence potential and 2) Double Fine isn't going to be restricted by publisher demands so it'll be in the best position possible to realize the most of their potential. That was it, my whole thought process, all of my reasoning.

Call it a leap of faith with a little bit of logical reasoning behind it. Hell, when I backed, I was unemployed! I was taking a risk but I believed in Tim & Double Fine then, and I still do. I don't feel misled, or betrayed, or negative about it in the slightest (though part of me wishes I was playing the game right now), and admittedly that's entirely because my professional background informed my decision. Perhaps many people feel some negativity because they didn't understand what it was they were getting into. However, the very nature of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding companies is this: backers invest in the companies they back. You think you're pre-purchasing a product except that really what you're doing is investing in a company and an idea. Investment is risky. Doubt is inherent. No person or company can truly estimate the cost of developing *any* kind of product because that would imply they have the super-human ability to know the exact solution and work to get there. Alas, you have to try many different things, some will be dead ends, others will be partially scrapped, etc. At times you can't even tell if what you're trying will turn out to be a loss or gain or both! That's the reality of any product development, especially from the starting point of nothing. My belief is that, as an investor, I'll be proud of the product I helped to produce and I trust the people who are making it happen.

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That's a little bit too stereotypical. There's a lot of black and white talk in this thread, or generally on the net right now, and this isn't some unalterable fact as well. Of course you can make up your mind, plan and deliver based on a budget/contract and depending on various factors (experience and motivation of your team, complexity of the project, the level of uncharted waters, ...).

It would be quite odd to pretend that the update is groovey, maybe it's the best we can get right now but great certainly sounds different to me. Anyway an aspect i like about this update is that things got more spicy again. Otherwise i also wouldn't have to answer all those worried eMails i got from friends i convinced backing the project. :o)

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I'm very disappointed. I have no interest in a Steam version - I want DRM free.

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I'm very disappointed. I have no interest in a Steam version - I want DRM free.

You'll get DRM free, don't worry!

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I'm disappointed. Of course I want the best game they can possibly make, but at the same time I think that they should've planned better. I know it's tough, but we are almost a year and a half into this: there was time. You can't blame people for being angry.

But I digress. It'll be awesome to have more time with all of you. And a better game, of course.

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I don't really understand what splitting the game in half means. Will there now be a clear separation, or will the game just sort of stop at the middle? Will inventory items carry over?

I ask this because I really dislike the idea of episodic Adventure games. One of the reasons I backed Broken Age was because I was excited to get a full adventure game that wouldn't be broken up into little pieces.

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All in all, the backers still get everything they were promised, so I call it a win/win. Sure, Double Fine is taking a few lumps from the public and the press today, but really anyone with an actual stake in the project (e.g. backers) will still receive the final product, and I might add, a bigger/more expensive product than originally planned at the origin of the kickstarter pitch.

Sure, it's taking longer. It's kickstarter, it's new territory, and countless games have delays.

Sure, 1/2 of the game is coming out early, and will be available to the public, so you'll have to avoid spoilers, but again, backers will get the completed project when it's finished (a bigger, better product than the kickstarter required).

Everyone can point fingers and blame budgeting, but this project is far from the only game project to ever exceed it's initial budget projection, and given the current state of affairs, they're doing everything within their power to do right by the backers.

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I don't really understand what splitting the game in half means. Will there now be a clear separation, or will the game just sort of stop at the middle? Will inventory items carry over?

I ask this because I really dislike the idea of episodic Adventure games. One of the reasons I backed Broken Age was because I was excited to get a full adventure game that wouldn't be broken up into little pieces.

The second half will come as an update to the first half. It will form a complete, singular game. Ostensibly, the second half won't ever actually be available on its own. It's basically DLC.

Whether non-backers will have to buy the second half in addition to the first remains to be seen. That seems like the best way to commercialize the product and still actually make money rather than just break even. Tim has very clearly stated that backers get the whole package without any additional cost beyond their Kickstarter pledge.

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I think that if Broken Age would have been a 3 million dollar game it would probably have seemed small for most people.

Since everybody knows how much money the game got and when this amount was well over what was expected everybody was imagining what an epic game this would be. The thruth is that the budget is actually still rather small for a game.

Making this the first half of a much bigger game is probably a really good decision according to me.

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I'd like to apologise for being so negative earlier in the thread. I still think things have gone wrong, and I still think the timing with MC is shady, but in the end... I'm glad that the game is what has received the priority. The game being its absolute best. That makes me happier than anything, and if that means I have to resist the temptation to play Act 1 when it's released so I can play the game in full when it's finally done, so be it. If that means I have to wait another year, so be it.

I want this game to hold a place in my life, so it is the number one priority. If this is the only way they can get to that, then screw it, you've got my support.

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All in all, the backers still get everything they were promised, so I call it a win/win. Sure, Double Fine is taking a few lumps from the public and the press today, but really anyone with an actual stake in the project (e.g. backers) will still receive the final product, and I might add, a bigger/more expensive product than originally planned at the origin of the kickstarter pitch.

Sure, it's taking longer. It's kickstarter, it's new territory, and countless games have delays.

Sure, 1/2 of the game is coming out early, and will be available to the public, so you'll have to avoid spoilers, but again, backers will get the completed project when it's finished (a bigger, better product than the kickstarter required).

Everyone can point fingers and blame budgeting, but this project is far from the only game project to ever exceed it's initial budget projection, and given the current state of affairs, they're doing everything within their power to do right by the backers.

Probably the best post yet.

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@Tim/Greg:

Polygon says you declined to comment. Again, I get that it wasn't supposed to be public, but it's out now, and I really think the better way would be trying to shape the narrative with your own version, as opposed to letting whatever the others come up with run its course. That's what PR is for :P

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@Tim/Greg:

Polygon says you declined to comment. Again, I get that it wasn't supposed to be public, but it's out now, and I really think the better way would be trying to shape the narrative with your own version, as opposed to letting whatever the others come up with run its course. That's what PR is for :P

I think Polygon might have been one of the news sites that was among the first to publish the private backer material. (A little disappointing, as I kinda like Polygon.)

If I were in DF's position, I wouldn't be racing to give more business to cheap opportunists either. It's kinda in the nature of journalism to be opportunist and to not be buddy-buddy with companies they report on, so they can't entirely be blamed for what they did, but I think rewarding their plundering of the private forum with even more stories is the last thing I would do right now.

"Declined to comment" might just as well mean "declined to talk to us specifically".

I might especially be wary of talking to people who put the more salacious spins on the story. You don't have to be friends with the press, but you can choose to give interviews to people you feel more certain aren't going to f*** you.

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i don't really see how you could call this 'private backer material' when it went out to 87000 people. only way you'll keep something private amongst 87000 people is if you're paying them and/or threatening them with lawyers.

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So this is how I'm seeing it:

DFA backers (90-95%): Alright! Go for it Tim! We love everything about this game so much, take your time, you're just working to make a better game for us!

Rest of internets: THAT IS SUCH BULL*@*(#@. IF I WAS A BACKER I WOULD BE SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW, WHAT A RIPOFF!!!

Caveat, however: I feel both of these opinions are very legitimate. As backers, we care about this game. We've seen the crew, we've seen the creative process, we FUNDED it, we feel personally emotionally invested in this game and want to see all of this turn into a stupendous adventure. The rest of the internet, however, sees this as another game. So how would most people react if, say, that new Tomb Raider game (most recent thing I've played) let out a press release while it was in production saying they got too many ideas and were going to be selling half a game? Honestly, it doesn't sound great, and the gaming websites aren't helping by sensationalizing it.

Also, Tim: I feel ONE change, just ONE little thing would have changed SO MUCH of the blowback (and you could still technically do this): Saying you're releasing half a game sounds.....wishy washy. It sounds like you messed up, and you're dependent on customers buying the game to have any future success. If you just said, instead of "we're releasing half a game," "I realized the scope of the game is so grand that we're splitting it into 2 episodes!," the whole atmosphere of the statement changes. I feel people would be totally receptive! I mean, just look at the Walking Dead. People are in LOVE with episodic things right now because of Telltale, and it would have gone over a lot better. And you can still technically say this!

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Also, Tim: I feel ONE change, just ONE little thing would have changed SO MUCH of the blowback (and you could still technically do this): Saying you're releasing half a game sounds.....wishy washy. It sounds like you messed up, and you're dependent on customers buying the game to have any future success. If you just said, instead of "we're releasing half a game," "I realized the scope of the game is so grand that we're splitting it into 2 episodes!," the whole atmosphere of the statement changes. I feel people would be totally receptive! I mean, just look at the Walking Dead. People are in LOVE with episodic things right now because of Telltale, and it would have gone over a lot better. And you can still technically say this!

Well... that definitely would have been better, but I think the reason he didn't say that is because if you watch the meeting they had in the documentary, the plan they discussed was not QUITE the same as releasing an Act 1 and then an Act 2. The plan was to offer EARLY ACCESS on steam.

Essentially, letting people pay to get into the beta (even if it is a really nice beta).... which is not QUITE the same thing.

Two acts is a much easier pill to swallow than early access. It's the early access part that people are getting their panties in a twist over, which I still don't understand because:

1) If you haven't given any money to the game yet, why ya mad?

2) If you have given money to the game already, you're still getting what you paid for, just as an incremented release instead of an all-at-once release. Why ya mad?

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Sounds like the best plan for going forward so best of luck and hope it works out great! Tough situation to be in, especially when you're that close to the project.

I must say I'm a bit disappointed it's come to this point though and is only being addressed this late. Seems like damn significant overruns beyond even the norm for the industry (if there is such a thing as a norm). Hate to see a finished game that I've backed or the quality of it be put at risk due to scope creep and lack of oversight and checks & balances.

It's going to be tough to try and put off playing the first part early so I can play it all together. Not a fan of cliff hangers in stories where you can't continue the story when you want like seasons on TV or book series that take years between books. I find it tends to take away from the story when it's broken up. Now back to re-reading all of the WoT series so I can finally finish it and read the last two books...

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So this is how I'm seeing it:

DFA backers (90-95%): Alright! Go for it Tim! We love everything about this game so much, take your time, you're just working to make a better game for us!

Rest of internets: THAT IS SUCH BULL*@*(#@. IF I WAS A BACKER I WOULD BE SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW, WHAT A RIPOFF!!!

I think a lot of what you're seeing is the difference between neutral ground discussion and discussion here where devs are more likely to read it. People will be more frank and open with criticisms in a neutral discussion area then they will be in a locked down discussion area on a small developer's site. Real overall opinion is probably somewhere between the two leaning a little more towards what's said here (internet trolls love to hate and skew hate numbers).

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At first blush, I found this idea repellent and echoed many of the sentiments Greg expressed in the latest documentary video.

With a little bit of cooling down however, I feel like as long as it's in service of a great, finished game that matches the original vision... then I'm all for it. These things happen in development, it's not any more money out of our wallets, we're still getting everything we were promised when we backed, and for those of us who'll play the first half right when it comes out, we're getting it sooner than we would otherwise!

The only downside for me is that it's going to be really hard to resist playing the first half when it comes out. I really want the full experience in one go... gotta stay strong! >_<

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Could someone please clarify something for me?

When the game comes out on Steam Early Access, will we backers have access to it for free or will we have to buy into that?

I understand we are getting the final product in full in April regardless, but I'm concerned that the people who decide to buy it on Early Access will play and spoil the first half for the rest of us.

Backers will get access to the game before it goes to Steam Early Access.

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So this is how I'm seeing it:

DFA backers (90-95%): Alright! Go for it Tim! We love everything about this game so much, take your time, you're just working to make a better game for us!

Rest of internets: THAT IS SUCH BULL*@*(#@. IF I WAS A BACKER I WOULD BE SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW, WHAT A RIPOFF!!!

I think a lot of what you're seeing is the difference between neutral ground discussion and discussion here where devs are more likely to read it. People will be more frank and open with criticisms in a neutral discussion area then they will be in a locked down discussion area on a small developer's site. Real overall opinion is probably somewhere between the two leaning a little more towards what's said here (internet trolls love to hate and skew hate numbers).

Also a lot of non-backers seem to be misinformed about what's actually going on.

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As a backer I don't want to play part 1 and part 2 and whatnot... I want to play the full game when is finished. However, I want to have clarified one point and one point only... do I have to pay for the finished game when is available for us backers? I hope not, because I agreed to put my money for this game to get THE FULL game. I didn't pay some money to get half now, then pay some more for the first half and then get the other half 'free'. I don't see the parallel between Tim Schafer's car and the scam mechanic asking him more money and finding excuses on excuses on how and why the price of the job went up to double as much as was agreed initially - DOUBLE. Frankly if I sell somebody one apple for a price I DON'T take the costumer's money first and then just before giving THE apple to the costumer I grab five more apples and turn them into apple juice and say: 'now you have to pay for this apple juice because instead of the apple that I said that I would sell you I decided to make something better for you...and by the way if you don't wan't it your bad I'll keep your money anyway...oh, oh, actually maybe you can have a sip now but then you have to pay for the full amount later...'. This would not be OK. However, if I misunderstood I'd be delighted to hear from you as soon as you can.

Thanks

Max

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This whole situation is more weird than annoying.

I guess it's annoying cause if it's on the documentary, then it is old news. I bet they were all sitting around at Double Fine for like a month while that footage was being edited just thinking "Oh, Jeeeesus. Once they find out about this there's going to be a whole lot of shit." And maybe a couple of them were more cautiously optimistic, quick to agree with all the sourpusses but constantly giving a sort of soft rebuttal like, "Well, I can see that happening at first, but..."

I wonder if any of them won any personal bets with each other.

Weird, yeah. It's weird too. Maybe because nobody ever did this before or maybe because I suspect this game to keep dividing in two with a half-life of about five more years of development.

Oh, who knows.

I just want a good game. And I want the whole game in the box, not just the first half because sixty years from now when this game is good and forgotten I want to be able to dust it off in my attic and play it.

But seriously, I hate Tim and Double Fine enough to have supported them for years in the past and I'll keep supporting them in the future.

Shine on you fiscally irresponsible diamonds.

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Hello, Backers of Adventure!

UPDATE:

Thanks for all the support and feedback you guys. I’m heartened to see so many of you understand that we are always trying to do right by the backers and make an awesome game.

I’m disappointed to see some members of the games press taking content out of these forums and turning it into news stories. That’s definitely not okay. Especially when they put a salacious, misleading headline on it to attract readers. There are a lot of people out there who are not backers, who have not watched the documentary, and really don’t care about this game at all but are just waiting for some anti-kickstarter story to tell. Frustrating!

Rather than responding to everything and attempting to clarify our position amongst people who have not been participating on our forums or following the documentary episodes that have been discussing this very topic over the last four months, we're going to invite the press to check out the game and let it speak for itself. That's also part of why we are excited about allowing everyone to see it earlier (after exclusive backer beta access of course!) rather than waiting to the very end.

Anyway, you guys are the best, and I’m glad you got to see some more of Broken Age in that episode. It really is coming together well and I can’t wait for you to see more of it!

If there’s a silver lining to all this news, it’s that it distracted people from all the filthy stuff Lee Petty said in that episode."

You have 90,000 people behind you Tim. Keep striving.

Not being in this line of work i don't know much about the sales you're expecting. i guess you would sell more than 90,000 copies of an adventure game without any backers.

Have you done any predictions about this? or would you rather not say?

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The more I think about it, the more I feel I need this explained.

Double Fine had a fear that the first half would be relased in July 2014, and the full game in 2015.

And with this method, some cuts in the scope, we will get the first half in January 2014, and then the full game in May 2014.

I´m not sure that I really follow this train of thought.

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