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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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Pardon me if this has been asked/answered already, but will backers also get a DRM-free version of Act 1 while it's on that Steam Early Access thing?

Backers who were offered beta access were only going to be getting that via Steam, so I imagine not. I think it's pretty safe to expect that the final release (Steam Early Access is for pre-release games) of the game to be DRM free though.

Right, bit of a bummer but makes sense, thanks!

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My question is can I preorder a bunch of these and give them as gifts on Steam as Christmas presents? If so, that's awesome! If not, WHY not?!?!

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It's funny how many reasonable, understanding people can be found here, in contrast to all the hate DF is getting on Gamespot ( link ).

I feel that I've already been getting WAY more than my money's worth on the documentary and the writing / programming / art updates. It's always a bummer when you have to wait longer for something you want so badly, but hey, patience is a virtue I guess.

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Which is why it's great that they don't have to rely on publishers anymore, but instead are able to secure funds from other sources, like Dracogen, Indie Fund and Kickstarter.

Then DF will have to seriously downsize, as funding from those is not enough to sustain them in their current state.

Well they got enough funding now till at least January. And when broken age releases they gonna be able to fund themselves allot better.

I think it would be a pretty bad idea for a fairly niche company like DF, who needs to sustain a salary for 65 employees, to rely on public funding. Especially if backers are soured on the whole experience.

I also doubt in the game's ability to pull a notable profit post-release, as well as future DF kickstarters ability to fund games like Broken Age in the future.

I trust that we will get a quality product, but I think having a properly managed game with a sustainable scope would have been a lot better for DF's future.

In Episode 8 of the Documentary (I'm pretty sure), the Biz Dev guy for DoubleFine basically tells Tim point blank that all of his projections on the future health of the company depend on Broken Age being completed, and being a success. From what they've shown of the business discussions, I don't think that anyone has any illusions as to the importance of this project to the studio's future.

But if Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded can ship a quarter-million copies in the first week, there is still plenty of money that can be made if Broken Age can even match those sorts of numbers.

How many copies did The Cave move?? i dont see Broken Age doing less.......

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It's funny how much reasonable, understanding people can be found here, in contrast to all the hate DF is getting on Gamespot ( link ).

Well, when the discussion is based on news article with a headline like, manypeople will make up their mind as soon as they read it. It's about whether or not you want to think about and understand an issue or not.

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Adding onto the sentiment of some others, I also feel a major problem with the general gaming public (not the backers) who're hating on this is that they look at our kickstarter backings as a "pre-order" only. But that's not why I backed (entirely), and not why a lot of other people here backed. We backed it because so many of us love Tim and all of DF. Kickstarter isn't a green-logo'd preorder form for games, it's people putting money to something they believe in. And I believe in these guys. The obviously have some budgeting issues, but heck, most companies do! This is just getting publicized because they're being fantastic and OPEN with us. I wish you guys the best, and I'm behind you every single step of the way.

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Yesterday I posted on GameIndustry.biz a comment of what this announcement would be like with a publisher and some PR. How about this:

"PublishX today announced that Broke Age is going episodic. The company just released a statement in which details how the next great adventure from the masterfull Tim Schafer is going to be greately expanded and could not fit a single game.

Tim Schafer is very happy with the opportunity: "I always wanted to create a series of stories in the same world, so I believe that fans will be pleased with part 1 of our story". The first part is going to released X month, through the inovative Steam Early Access. The company states that this could be a test bed to future projects, and to "tighten ties with the audience". Its not clear yet wether PublishX will be successful with the new model, but seeing how Walking Dead was able to thrive, we have high hopes for the title.

Also announced today, is the inclusion of a completely new character and a lot of information, that kind of lessen the impact of the announcement of the episodic model, since it has been some time we haven't heard about the project. The screens show a very inovative art style, and gorgeous 2D "sprites" fill the screen. A teaser trailer with live action actors also set the tone for the game, and (blah blah I ate that all up, PublishX promisses, blah, blah)."

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-07-03-double-fine-needs-more-money-to-complete-broken-age

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I thought it would be something more like this:

“We are very excited to announce that one of our most anticipated titles Broken Age will be released in an episodic format, providing a most visceral immersive, and emotionally engaging experience for our users. Please look forward to our early Steam Release of Act 1 in January 2014.”

Pre orders are opening September 2013, Gamestop pre-order exclusive content available ‘Fun Hat Pack’ and ‘Silky Llama’ companion pack. Season pass available for $49.99.

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I thought it would be something more like this:

“We are very excited to announce that one of our most anticipated titles Broken Age will be released in an episodic format, providing a most visceral immersive, and emotionally engaging experience for our users. Please look forward to our early Steam Release of Act 1 in January 2014.”

Pre orders are opening September 2013, Gamestop pre-order exclusive content available ‘Fun Hat Pack’ and ‘Silky Llama’ companion pack. Season pass available for $49.99.

Hehehe. Yeah, my intention was to include all the bad news, purpously not hiding any fact, to create a more stylized version of "PR bulls***".

But your version seems more realistic. xD

Well, "our PR department" is "analyzing" your suggestion against our "bull" database, but so far so good! Any more DF members have any suggestions? Maybe we could create a letter to the press with our PR version xD~~

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I think the Steam pre-order idea is great. Especially where late-joiners will also be able to pay for and experience early releases of the game, and still contribute to the games creation. Tim, I'm dang excited for this game, and sincerely hope that too many compromises won't have to be made in order to let me explore it.

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It's funny how many reasonable, understanding people can be found here, in contrast to all the hate DF is getting on Gamespot ( link ).

There are people on the internet are just waiting news like this to bash anything that come across their sight, most of them didn't even back the game.

What's important is the opinion of the backers. Still now the game has to sell well, I guess it will do only if the game is good enough, I trust this team and think the game will be amazing, it will be fine!

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I only skimmed the thread, read some posts, but too many for me to bother reading.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a few things to Tim Schafer and the team at DF.

I: I have always viewed this venture of Kickstarting this project as brave, unorthodox. Kickstarter is nothing less than a renaissance in digital artistry.

II: I have always viewed my pledge to you in the spirit of the renaissance, as a Patron of artisans.

III: It's not always easy to bridge the disconnect between real budget demands, and the wild imagination of an artisan.

IIII: The plans that developed naturally in Tim Schafer's mind, were spurred on by inherent intellectual creativity - unhindered by budgetary demands. That was what I as a patron wanted to see fulfilled in the first place.

IV: Perhaps some middle ground could have been met, between the producer's understanding of budgetary constraints, and the game designer's wild creativity. However, if that happened, it's possible that the creativity might have suffered as Stress became the dominant mindset, subsuming Creativity.

V: With the aforementioned points, I have full understanding and appreciation of your efforts. I think the solution you have reached is a satisfactory one. Please prove the crowdfunding naysayers wrong. They are having a field day with this already.

VI: I will probably prefer waiting until the full game is released, and my Hardcover Double Fine Adventure Book, game box etc is delivered to me.

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Isn't the point of all this to get rid of publishers? Not make them publish adventure games?

So who cares how the publishing companies see this?

Or... Are all the negative people working for publishers, trying to play this huge success down?

So you'd be okay with DF laying off a good chunk of their 65 employees? Crowd funding can't sustain all their salaries.

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Actually, I feel that I already got content for my money. The documentaries have been great and I always look forward to new episodes.

I would be happy to contribute more to the development (albeit only financially), but I wish DF would be more open about the budget. How much has the game cost so far? Where did the money go for? Who much is needed to finish it?

If I can see that your claims are reasonable I would be likely to top up my pledge. I guess that is also a standard procedure with the publisher. And we ARE publisher of the game!!!

I prefer the option to realeasing early. So why not trying it?

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Hmm, i just read through the text.

I can't evaluate the situation without knowing the details, like how much money has flown into the project as a total (at some point the numbers stopped being presented more visible), on what has the money been spent on, what were the showstoppers, ... without knowing such details you can't judge if the resources are being wasted or used properly, so ...

[...]

I still prefer a great game coming late (but coming within time, like before i die) than a soso game being released earlier. I won't play act 1 before the whole game ships but it's certainly a nice idea for others.

Same opinion!

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By the way, I don't really mind about the delay, but-

What happens if the money obtained from selling the first part, won't be enough to fund the 2nd?

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I think it's a very good idea. I myself have very little time to play games and im sure that many of other backers share the same time shortage as i am. So if i get a big game all at once i would only play it for couple of days before i have to get back to other things in life. Returning to playing is always hard because you forget a lot of what happened. Slicing it in the middle is actually a very good solution for people like me (even better if you cut it in 4 parts and delivered one part every 3 months).

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Making the game in "episodes" seemed to work for Teltale. However Broken Age wasn't designed with that in mind and that makes me concerned the first part will end abruptly. Tales of monkey Island was designed to be in 5 episodes and every episode always ended on a note. Will you be able to make that happen?

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I thought it would be clear from the getgo that with Kickstarter you were trading a flexible supply of funding for creative control, and that the development method would have to be altered to handle this change - greater realism and margins of safety in the planning.

I understand why Double Fine is doing this (this is their dream project, and the quality of the game matters above all else), but on the other hand it sure seems like they never really understood that they needed to adjust to a very different funding environment until now.

And I second the skepticism with having the second act ride on steam - they're going to need a lot of sales, and need it quickly. If they don't? Well, Tim at least promised at the worst we'd get a "spectacular failure, caught on camera for everyone to see".

Then again, if Broken Age ends up with a KOTOR2-like ending I think I'll be able to find some ironic black comedy in the whole thing.

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And I second the skepticism with having the second act ride on steam - they're going to need a lot of sales, and need it quickly. If they don't? Well, Tim at least promised at the worst we'd get a "spectacular failure, caught on camera for everyone to see".

I guess that with something that's actually "available", it'll be easier to justify longer dev time if it doesn't sell well as a Steam Early Access title. Hopefully having it available as a pre-orderable game with something that's playable pre-release will also give the team a positive boost as feedback comes in from backers and pre-orderers (or whatever you want to call people who hop on the Steam Early Access bandwagon).

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I'm sure Double Fine will finish Broken Age with their own funds even if it takes them another year to find the money, I'm sure. Hopefully the Early Access thing will work. If not, we'll just have to wait longer for part 2. It's unfortunate, but it's also the best shot as us getting something close to the original vision for the game.

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As has been said: take as long time as you need to make a game that you can feel proud of. I'll be happy to wait for it :)

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To add my voice to the chorus: take all the time you need guys, I've already got more out of that $30 than I was expecting. Just seeing an honest representation of the development process is more than worth the donation. Keep up the great work!

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The game looks great, i look forward to sandcastel land, space or cloud city.

And its not like i dont have games to play while i wait. I have many games i have barly played and there always a bargin on steam, appstore, gog or at a online shop. The wait will do just fine and while i wait. i will keep on enjoye 2P videos while i try to decide which of my 500 other games i should at least try or just replay the old adventure-game classics.

Keep up the good work

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It may just be that DF were a bad company to be the proof of concept here, for both points. They always seem to be inefficient (look how long it took anything substantial to begin on BA), behind schedule, and over budget.

If there is a problem, it is that they set the bar really high. To call the team working on this game inefficient is really disrespectful, and you ought to explain that part a bit more of you really mean it. Who are you comparing them to when you say they're inefficient? Or is it something specific shown in the documentary you´re talking about?

In the documentary they talk about three things that need to be improved - scope, budget, and efficiency. (I think I'm remembering that right...) Efficiency has historically been a problem for Double Fine. They take longer to do things than they're supposed to pretty much every time, and it's naive to assume that's ALL because they keep making the game too big. Others have pointed out how long the game took to get out of pre-production, and how long it took for them to even really be moving forward at a decent pace. For most of last year, they were struggling to even get one area complete.

I'd rather they do what they're doing at a better pace than have to cut out more of the content that Tim has designed, because I know that content will be amazing. If not for the early development stalling, they might not have had to cut back to get the game to the current release schedule. (Which, according to the latest episode, is at least a few months earlier than they otherwise would have finished.)

There are a few hints as to why that happened in the documentary - e.g. the fact that they had staff working on various aspects of the game before anyone really knew what the game was yet, and Tim was too busy handling other stuff (including things not part of actual game development) to focus on sorting that very thing out. It was only later that he really started delegating better and was really able to handle the writing and design at a good pace.

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Welp,if it was me. And this is just me talking about what I'd do. I'd just look at what you got planned,find a good stopping point,and release the game as Broken Age 1. Use the rest of the design to work up a pitch for BA2. And then run a Kickstarter for that. I mean,if the game has enough content to last like 4 or 5 hours,I think most people would be happy with that. Considering we're usually getting hit for 40 to 60 bucks for 4 to 6 hours of content,most of which is cutscenes,you're still looking good.

But yeah,Tim needs to learn SIFTS. Which is "Save It For The Sequel". Too much content and you won't be able to get it all in.

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Like basically everybody before me stated, I don't really care how long it takes as long as you polish it all you need. It's been years since I played a game I loved as much as Grim, so I'd be a very happy bloke if this is as good.

By the way, I also wouldn't mind contributing more money if that means not much is cut from the final version of the game.

Anyhow, good luck guys!

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