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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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If it was another team I'd be concerned. I believe Tim and Double Fine will deliver cause they have talent and ultimately they have more to lose than we as backers do. I do think these over budget Kickstarter projects are eventually going to leave a bad taste and make funding this way much more difficult

Sodamage control might be in order, especially if you plan to do early release. Asking $400k getting 3.3+ million and having money issues around half through and past the original delivery date just looks bad. Episodic content (which it effectively will be with early release) has a reputation not unlike Kickstarter so a perception of mismanagement could kill enthusiasm for the game. No doubt DF is keenly aware of this.

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If what I am hearing is true about Double Fine using an episodic release plan for Broken Age, I'll be really upset since I was picturing the game I backed to be more like Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island 2 than Sam & Max Season x.

.

It will be like Monkey Island 2, which was also a game with several acts, that together was one coherent game (even if you can debate about that ending :) ).

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According to Al Lowe on his Reddit, even Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded went overbudget, and therefore their own funds were used to finish the game. Their "$500k" game turned into a 1.2M game. Of course, the game didn't receive negative publicity about it, because that was never revealed to the public until after release, unlike Broken Age here with their constant documentary updates.

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I reckon all "celebrity" kickstarter projects use ks just to raise additional funding and visibility on top of their on investment. I have been pretty surprised it has been a surprise for common backers.

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Doesn't the name of the site itself, kickstarter, imply that the project doesn't really have to be funded with just the kickstarter money. The idea is to contribute to make a project happen, and I think we all can take some pride in that we did that with Broken Age. The only thing Double Fine owe us to finish the project somehow, and deliver what they promised; A point&click; adventure for the mentioned format, without publisher intrusion.

I would say that even if they only shipped part 1, they would still deliver what they promised. That we still get both parts, for the same pledge, and that part 2 of an adventure game, with this scope and this level or production quality, hopefully comes just a few months down the road is even better.

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According to Al Lowe on his Reddit, even Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded went overbudget, and therefore their own funds were used to finish the game. Their "$500k" game turned into a 1.2M game. Of course, the game didn't receive negative publicity about it, because that was never revealed to the public until after release, unlike Broken Age here with their constant documentary updates.
They didn't receive negative publicity for it because they handled it.

Selling an incomplete game in the hopes that it will generate funds to complete it is not handling it. It's torpedoing your game and all the good will you have in the most foolish way possible. The issue here is not really budget overruns or delays, it's the reliance on a very shaky plan that asks people to pay full price for a game that they don't have the money to finish.

Ironically, if they weren't so transparent about needing the early access money to fund the rest of the game, people would probably be a lot more willing to buy that early access, because they'd still have confidence in the project. This is a case where their honesty was actually irresponsible.

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According to Al Lowe on his Reddit, even Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded went overbudget, and therefore their own funds were used to finish the game. Their "$500k" game turned into a 1.2M game. Of course, the game didn't receive negative publicity about it, because that was never revealed to the public until after release, unlike Broken Age here with their constant documentary updates.
They didn't receive negative publicity for it because they handled it.

Selling an incomplete game in the hopes that it will generate funds to complete it is not handling it. It's torpedoing your game and all the good will you have in the most foolish way possible. The issue here is not really budget overruns or delays, it's the reliance on a very shaky plan that asks people to pay full price for a game that they don't have the money to finish.

Ironically, if they weren't so transparent about needing the early access money to fund the rest of the game, people would probably be a lot more willing to buy that early access, because they'd still have confidence in the project. This is a case where their honesty was actually irresponsible.

If they weren't confident they could finish the game this way, I maintain they wouldn't have done it. The project is too important to succeed for them to make that kind of error.

We don't know exactly how much extra they need, but judging by the projected and seemingly small extra 4-5 months of development (by which time most of the heavy work will likely have been done on the art assets and so will likely be spent in getting the final bits of act 2 from alpha to beta, final voice work, testing, etc) it might not actually be all that much. Funding a smaller core team of maybe Tim, Greg, a couple of artists, programmer or two and a sound guy for 5 months seems eminently do-able.

Also, bear in mind that the cut-off-point for Act 1 isn't necessarily the point where money runs out, rather it's the point where it makes sense to split the story off. So they might actually have enough money to make, say, 75% of the game they want to make, but without being able to make that 25% they would also have to cut out bits that they already have the money for but wouldn't fit into a rescoped version of the game. So it might be that they already have half the money for Act 2, but they need the other half, which would mean they're much closer than it seems.

We don't have all the variables so it's hard to say, but this much is clear: if they are only projecting 4-5 months for finishing Act 2, that means that they actually DO have the funds to make the majority of the game, and that the pre-release is a way to push them over the edge that enables them not to have to cut back the scope in a way that didn't make sense for the project.

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I am talking about honestly here. Are you telling me that if they released his update a week ago, Massive Chalice would have got the money it has now?

Agreed. All the talk about the episode needing more time now sounds a bit hypocritical.

And unfortunately I have to agree to the comments that show up on all the news sites that feature this story: the production management on this project doesn't seem very solid. Of course the finished product will be great but it would have been just as great if it had been properly designed to meet the budget. In addition to that DF could have used all the money from the game (with all the great publicity it got from the KS campaign) to secure the future of the studio. Now they are doing the opposite - putting more money into the project. That's what I'm concerned about.

I guess this could be summed down to the faith in Double Fine - I didn't back Massive chalice after a long deliberation (I still may as a slacker backer later). IF the latest episode had come out before the Massive chalice kickstarter ended, I would have stepped up to support the game as soon as I'd heard it was being impacted by the episode.

It also begs the subject - only backers are seeing the episodes, how would the rest of the world know or care?

Massive chalice is also a fleshed out concept, DF isn't starting from scratch like they did with Broken Age

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Double Fine is NOT asking for more money. We are fine, financially. We are using our OWN money to deliver a bigger game than we Kickstarted.

Tim Schafer on twitter

I don't get it why people get mad that doublefine used their own money to create a bigger game. I have no clue how people get in their head being angry about getting a bigger and probably better game then if they had to stay within the kickstarter money limitation.

I think Tim needs to come and say that here ,not on his twitter.

Did you miss the first post on this thread? Read it again...

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According to Al Lowe on his Reddit, even Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded went overbudget, and therefore their own funds were used to finish the game. Their "$500k" game turned into a 1.2M game. Of course, the game didn't receive negative publicity about it, because that was never revealed to the public until after release, unlike Broken Age here with their constant documentary updates.

They didn't receive negative publicity for it because they handled it.

Selling an incomplete game in the hopes that it will generate funds to complete it is not handling it. It's torpedoing your game and all the good will you have in the most foolish way possible. The issue here is not really budget overruns or delays, it's the reliance on a very shaky plan that asks people to pay full price for a game that they don't have the money to finish.

Ironically, if they weren't so transparent about needing the early access money to fund the rest of the game, people would probably be a lot more willing to buy that early access, because they'd still have confidence in the project. This is a case where their honesty was actually irresponsible.

+1

They handled it. I'd heard about Paul throwing in his own money on LSL:R before the release, it wasn't a scandal - I'd love to see some Double Fine employees be so passionate they'd throw in some free hours of labor, or their own money.

Personally I'll only be happy when Tim Schafer carves the words 'Broken Age' in his forehead with a scalpel.

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People do not still seem to understand the situation. Double fine did not fail to deliver a 3.5 million game. The managed to pull off a 6 million game with no publisher funding!

Now if I were a publisher who had put in 3.5 million and the company I hired came and said: we refuse to do your 3.5 million game, we'll chip in additional 3 millions in order to deliver twice the content, that'd be my go-to company every time! It saddens me to realise the way some of you people think about this.

+1 - it's the distinction between backers, they don't realize just how huge something like this is.

Think of it this way, backers: 3 things that can keep games from being made:

1) Have you ever had a game that you really, REALLY wanted to see a sequel to, but never saw one? A lack of a sequel could be due to publishers saying stuff like "We only made 20% profit on the first title, that isn't enough for us to cough up a sequel".

2) In order to get publisher funding, the game developer has to give up the rights, so they couldn't even find a new publisher if they wanted to.

3) The concept is too 'unconvential' for publishers to take the risk of funding. How many great titles have we missed because publishers won't support something different. I for one am SICK of seeing a new army shooter (or 6) every year, and annual sports titles with virtually not changes other than the roster updates.

Making a game WITHOUT publisher backing removes those constraints. How many of you think that Minecraft - just as a CONCEPT - could have been successfully pitched to a publisher and gained their financial support to make the game? Not too likely.

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If they weren't confident they could finish the game this way, I maintain they wouldn't have done it. The project is too important to succeed for them to make that kind of error.

Confidence doesn't pay the bills.

Double Fine did NOT realize the extent to which this would be received negatively by the gaming public (i.e. their potential customers). Their psychic powers are broken. However confident they were, they were wrong about this and they could be wrong about how much revenue the early access release will generate as well.

Don't get me wrong, I do think they'll manage to pull this off in the end, one way or the other, and I love Double Fine and I'm looking forward to the release. That doesn't change the fact that this was an irresponsible move that has hurt them.

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Judging from the timescales and budget and what they've said on this, I imagine this is the situation, to be a bit clearer...

They've looked at the game and realised that, as currently designed, it seperates REASONABLY cleanly into [section A] and [section B]

They have enough money to fund, say, all of [section A] but only half of [section B].

After looking at it, they've realised that in order to scope the game down to something that works well, they'd have to cut bits out of not only [section B] but also [section A], until they end up with something which is a much cut down [section A + B]

They've taken the decision that since they're not a million miles away from the funding they need, it'd be a better option to release their originally planned [section A] without (major) cuts early, proceed from which should push them over the edge to finish [section B] as intended.

Not only that, but this method will also buy them a little more time to explore more funding options, which is something they've been doing all along. In that 4-5 months, given recent announcements, it's entirely plausible that some other funding avenues will be opened, including:

* Game releases from their Indie Fund projects

* Their merchandising partnership with Fangamer.

I think this is why they see this as a realistic way to finish the game, and not just a hope and a prayer.

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We don't have all the variables so it's hard to say, but this much is clear: if they are only projecting 4-5 months for finishing Act 2

This may be true, but projections have not worked out well for them thus far in the project, now have they? What if the second half runs over schedule? What then?

People don't want to pay full price for games unless they're 100% sure they're going to come out. Double Fine ruined that. The way they handled this announcement was a clusterfuck. If they simply omitted the "using the funds from Early Access to pay for the rest of the game" part, it would have been fine.

Consumer confidence is everything. Replay never discussed the budget overruns, and just handled them quietly. That's the way to do it. I think because of the doc there's a need to expose a little more of what's going on there, but they should never say "We're depending on (and scheduling for) money we don't have yet" in public.

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but they should never say "We're depending on (and scheduling for) money we don't have yet" in public.
Which they never did. That information was targeted at us backers, who knew about that long ago. That someone leaked that information wasn't Double Fine mishandling it.

Also, the promise in the kickstarter was to show the sausage being made. Well, they did.

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Oh, look. It's people mad about video games. I knew something awesome would happen if I read this thread.

I half way feel like trying to explain the unexpectedness of life, and how being a venomous turd is really no good for anyone, but I'm just so bored by watching the feet stomping that I think I'll go take a nap instead. At least in my sleep there won't be twentysomething basement dwellers, eating cheetohs, and throwing hissy fits. Or maybe there will be. Maybe I just created my own nightmare.

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but they should never say "We're depending on (and scheduling for) money we don't have yet" in public.
Which they never did. That information was targeted at us backers, who knew about that long ago. That someone leaked that information wasn't Double Fine mishandling it.

If they really expected that not to reach the public then they are seriously naive.

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Oh, look. It's people mad about video games. I knew something awesome would happen if I read this thread.

I half way feel like trying to explain the unexpectedness of life, and how being a venomous turd is really no good for anyone, but I'm just so bored by watching the feet stomping that I think I'll go take a nap instead. At least in my sleep there won't be twentysomething basement dwellers, eating cheetohs, and throwing hissy fits. Or maybe there will be. Maybe I just created my own nightmare.

Hey man! Don't drag Cheetos into this! They've done nothing wrong!

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but they should never say "We're depending on (and scheduling for) money we don't have yet" in public.
Which they never did. That information was targeted at us backers, who knew about that long ago. That someone leaked that information wasn't Double Fine mishandling it.

If they really expected that not to reach the public then they are seriously naive.

To be fair, nothing else has leaked in a whole year. The name and trailer announcements didn't leak, for example, so much so that some people were mad about reading it on news sites first when in fact it had been known on the forum quite a while before. The previous news of Broken Age's budget difficulties never leaked either, so perhaps Double Fine were becoming accustomed to this being a place where they could speak to their backers without worrying about it turning into a news story. In fact, I'm sure they would have had plans for how to convey this message to the general public, who wouldn't have the context of 10 episodes and months of forum content.

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but they should never say "We're depending on (and scheduling for) money we don't have yet" in public.
Which they never did. That information was targeted at us backers, who knew about that long ago. That someone leaked that information wasn't Double Fine mishandling it.

If they really expected that not to reach the public then they are seriously naive.

As SurplusGamer noted, not only nothing had leaked previously, but that included the original announcement of the budget problems which was far worse than what's going on now since at the time they didn't have a clear plan to get the money.

That the current issue is even perceived as a problem is due entirely to the spin you put on the news. That most gaming news sites chose to report as if DF was out of money and begging for more is what caused the uproar, not the news that an early access version would be available to purchase in January with proceedings being used to polish the final version (i.e. what many kickstarter projects are doing).

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To be fair, nothing else has leaked in a whole year. The name and trailer announcements didn't leak, for example, so much so that some people were mad about reading it on news sites first when in fact it had been known on the forum quite a while before. The previous news of Broken Age's budget difficulties never leaked either, so perhaps Double Fine were becoming accustomed to this being a place where they could speak to their backers without worrying about it turning into a news story. In fact, I'm sure they would have had plans for how to convey this message to the general public, who wouldn't have the context of 10 episodes and months of forum content.

I think more than that they were accustomed to the love and support of backers, and I think they were a little out of touch with regard to the public's reaction.

I'm quite positive that they didn't anticipate this level of backlash, and they should have. Regardless of whether or not that backlash is justified, it is utterly predictable.

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The biggest problem is the spin they put on it for the worse because it would give better news headlines.

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According to Al Lowe on his Reddit, even Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded went overbudget, and therefore their own funds were used to finish the game. Their "$500k" game turned into a 1.2M game. Of course, the game didn't receive negative publicity about it, because that was never revealed to the public until after release, unlike Broken Age here with their constant documentary updates.
They didn't receive negative publicity for it because they handled it.

Selling an incomplete game in the hopes that it will generate funds to complete it is not handling it. It's torpedoing your game and all the good will you have in the most foolish way possible. The issue here is not really budget overruns or delays, it's the reliance on a very shaky plan that asks people to pay full price for a game that they don't have the money to finish.

Ironically, if they weren't so transparent about needing the early access money to fund the rest of the game, people would probably be a lot more willing to buy that early access, because they'd still have confidence in the project. This is a case where their honesty was actually irresponsible.

The Early Access on Steam is a little bit weird. Steam doesn't pay Developers/Publishers until 3 months have passed. So, if Double Fine releases the Early Access in January, Double Fine won't receive a dime until late March or April (estimate). However, the final "download" won't be available until April or May.

Saying that Double Fine won't have enough money to finish the game is a bit of an over-reaction, don't you think? Double Fine receives a lot more revenue now than they did a few years ago, with Costume Quest, Stacking, Psychonauts and Brutal Legend available on Steam. Then we also have The Cave, Kinect Party, Dropchord, Middle Manager Of Justice, Iron Brigade, Once Upon A Monster and Happy Action Theater.

Their full intentions are not quite clear, as it appears they don't need any more money. They're seemingly just releasing Early Access to just get it out in public as quickly as possible, while gauging consumer interest and feedback to tweak the game before release. Perhaps it's just to fund the final act out of Beta? No idea, but that's my interpretation.

And in closing, I don't think Double Fine was under the impression their news about the release plan was going to get leaked out. It was exclusive to us backers, and a journalist saw an opportunity and exploited it.

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I'm pretty disappointed by this news.

When you look at the budgets for adventures in the LucasArts era, even adjusting for inflation we should have gotten a huge adventure with the money raised.

Tim blames himself for designing a game too big, but I feel the problem is a emphasis on art over game. They should have kept the graphics and sound at 90s era level (those old games still look and sound great IMHO) and prioritized a huge, entertaining and funny game.

We all paid for an 'old-school adventure' after all.

At least I can't complain about the doco. That's been great.

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Sounds good Tim. Let Double Fine do what they need to do.

One question though: Do backers have to pay again for the Steam Early Access?

No that is your steam key that was promised with the kickstarter. You even get a beta before the early access.

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According to Al Lowe on his Reddit, even Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded went overbudget, and therefore their own funds were used to finish the game. Their "$500k" game turned into a 1.2M game. Of course, the game didn't receive negative publicity about it, because that was never revealed to the public until after release, unlike Broken Age here with their constant documentary updates.
They didn't receive negative publicity for it because they handled it.

Selling an incomplete game in the hopes that it will generate funds to complete it is not handling it. It's torpedoing your game and all the good will you have in the most foolish way possible. The issue here is not really budget overruns or delays, it's the reliance on a very shaky plan that asks people to pay full price for a game that they don't have the money to finish.

Ironically, if they weren't so transparent about needing the early access money to fund the rest of the game, people would probably be a lot more willing to buy that early access, because they'd still have confidence in the project. This is a case where their honesty was actually irresponsible.

The Early Access on Steam is a little bit weird. Steam doesn't pay Developers/Publishers until 3 months have passed. So, if Double Fine releases the Early Access in January, Double Fine won't receive a dime until late March or April (estimate). However, the final "download" won't be available until April or May.

Saying that Double Fine won't have enough money to finish the game is a bit of an over-reaction, don't you think? Double Fine receives a lot more revenue now than they did a few years ago, with Costume Quest, Stacking, Psychonauts and Brutal Legend available on Steam. Then we also have The Cave, Kinect Party, Dropchord, Middle Manager Of Justice, Iron Brigade, Once Upon A Monster and Happy Action Theater.

Their full intentions are not quite clear, as it appears they don't need any more money. They're seemingly just releasing Early Access to just get it out in public as quickly as possible, while gauging consumer interest and feedback to tweak the game before release. Perhaps it's just to fund the final act out of Beta? No idea, but that's my interpretation.

And in closing, I don't think Double Fine was under the impression their news about the release plan was going to get leaked out. It was exclusive to us backers, and a journalist saw an opportunity and exploited it.

Actually they said the early access part isn't incomplete/beta product the early access part is more like telltale games episode. Release quality before it gets put on pre-release its even in the documentary and message.

It can probably even be done without breaking the game because it was called Act 1 in development for ages which makes me think its allot like the grim fandango years.

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I'm pretty disappointed by this news.

When you look at the budgets for adventures in the LucasArts era, even adjusting for inflation we should have gotten a huge adventure with the money raised.

Tim blames himself for designing a game too big, but I feel the problem is a emphasis on art over game. They should have kept the graphics and sound at 90s era level (those old games still look and sound great IMHO) and prioritized a huge, entertaining and funny game.

We all paid for an 'old-school adventure' after all.

At least I can't complain about the doco. That's been great.

We ARE getting a huge adventure (hence going over budget.)

And no, I'm a huge pixel art fan and I think it's silly to expect a game at this level to use a retro look. It would be a novelty. This game has an opportunity to push 2D graphics, which are sadly underrepresented in games, forward. Instead of being nostalgic for the graphics of 20 years ago, it should be what people 20 years from now will be nostalgic for.

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