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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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I have no problems with this new plan... but I also think that the documentary is so good that it could be another source of income, maybe you should consider getting something like a TV network deal for broadcasting rights or some internet equivalent to get some money and also some free advertising for the game.

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Even though I can understand the struggle, this whole situation is going to be a PR disaster for Double Fine, with the recent doubters creeping in when you guys launched the Massive Chalice KS before Broak Age even went live caused enough of a stir, now saying that well, the company is pretty much broke on this game and it's being split into two acts, etc, ehhh, let's just say some websites are going to have a field day with this and it will seriously hurt KickStarter to (Ironic seeing as it's the project that caused a rise in it!), but I can say this, at least we know how Notch must have felt when he offered to help fund Psychonauts 2 and the asking budget just kept going up and up! :P

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I think an early release is a really good idea! The game is looking so beautiful I don't mind waiting at all.

A documentary that covers the process from start to finish is the only thing I feel "entitled" to as a backer, so as long as the new funding continues to cover the documentary i'm a happy backer. I wouldn't even mind if the episodes came further apart as long as they covered the entire process.

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All games have trouble with time and budget. You're kinda ignoring the thesis statement of those conversations.

I don't get how that criticism was constructive, though. It's like people are surprised that plans change over the course of a game's development, and put it down to a 'lack of project management' when in fact that's what a huge part of project management IS - to manage the project through change.

I feel that both of you just skimmed over my post when I was talking about expecting delays and the bumps in the road and are instead arguing about what you think my post meant in the first place instead of what it actually was.

No shit that games hit bumps in the road and have delays. I'm not arguing that. I'm not naive enough to believe that the start of production to release is just one cherry awesome experience with no issues.

I wasn't addressing your post. You chose to respond to my response to someone else for saying: "Maybe you do need a publisher. There seems to be a real lack of project management here." I stand by my response to that: I think that comments like this are not constructive and do not deserve to be taken seriously. If you had a better, more serious point to make then good for you - but I wasn't talking about that.

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I wasn't addressing your post. You chose to respond to my response to someone else for saying: "Maybe you do need a publisher. There seems to be a real lack of project management here." I stand by my response to that: I think that comments like this are not constructive and do not deserve to be taken seriously. If you had a better, more serious point to make then good for you - but I wasn't talking about that.

Oh okay! Misunderstanding on my part then sorry :) ((I agree that the post about needing a publisher is idiotic and not really constructive at all))

Though I will put forward that Obsidian and inXile's kickstarters (Project Eternity and Wasteland 2) are much more complex than Broken Age and are looking to be released before it, which gives off a wonky weird feeling.

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All games have trouble with time and budget. You're kinda ignoring the thesis statement of those conversations.

I don't get how that criticism was constructive, though. It's like people are surprised that plans change over the course of a game's development, and put it down to a 'lack of project management' when in fact that's what a huge part of project management IS - to manage the project through change.

I feel that both of you just skimmed over my post when I was talking about expecting delays and the bumps in the road and are instead arguing about what you think my post meant in the first place instead of what it actually was.

No shit that games hit bumps in the road and have delays. I'm not arguing that. I'm not naive enough to believe that the start of production to release is just one cherry awesome experience with no issues.

Sorry. I was only replying to the quoted text and hadn't seen the original post. Totally my bad. I was also mostly responding to the "maybe you need a publisher" comment.

Still, I think the thing to keep in mind is that the tightness of the budget results not from failure to wisely spend the money budgeted to the project. The tightness results from the fact that the kickstarter was originally for a $400,000 game with zero planning done, but a very rough idea of what the scope of the game would be. Then DF found themselves with 3 million, so the rough idea of the scope they could afford was vastly inflated. But since there was no actual plan yet, it was impossible to know what the actual costs would be. Once the plan came into sharper focus, it was clear that the plan was bigger than the budget. Double Fine could have made a bunch of cuts and rescaled the project, but they chose---deliberately---to keep the scope close to where they were already heading.

So the thing to keep in mind is that a lot of projects receive a certain budget and then have to dial back plans when faced with reality. Very few projects receive a larger budget than they asked for with zero plan in place. This is a highly peculiar situation where even highly experienced project managers would have to make it up on the fly.

I see your concern, but I think it's a bit harsh to suggest the project is not being managed well. (Edit: Sorry, this was another poster, not you.) If they are guilty of anything, they are guilty of A) not being prepared for something they could not have possibly been prepared for, and B) being stubborn in the face of adversity. Are they brave or stupid, etc etc etc.

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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.

I'm perfectly OK with this game releasing in April 2014 as long as I also get to play its first half in January :)

I feel you guys have delivered more than $15 worth of content in the videos alone and it's obvious for those of us following this project that everyone has been working very hard and not just squandering $3M; I completely understand the project growing larger than what was planned and you guys needing more money to finish it and I honestly don't care if this game doesn't release until 2015 at this point.

Broken Age or Double Fine Adventure is the standard bearer of the Kickstarter movement; this game needs to be good even if it's 2 years late because it is the proof that great games can be made without a publisher's money. This is honestly more than a game to me, it's a revolution of the gaming industry and something that can't fail no matter what. All eyes are on you guys; no pressure.

The news are disappointing but it's out of need, not greed. I really hope other greedier Kickstarter projects don't do the same just to get more money. That could seriously hurt "the cause". Many will claim that this is proof the new model doesn't work, but I don't see it that way. The game is still happening, it's looking amazing, it's just gotten delayed. To those detractors I point to Duke Nukem Forever; that game was done under the old model and look how it turned out.

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Even though I can understand the struggle, this whole situation is going to be a PR disaster for Double Fine, with the recent doubters creeping in when you guys launched the Massive Chalice KS before Broak Age even went live caused enough of a stir, now saying that well, the company is pretty much broke on this game and it's being split into two acts, etc, ehhh, let's just say some websites are going to have a field day with this and it will seriously hurt KickStarter to (Ironic seeing as it's the project that caused a rise in it!), but I can say this, at least we know how Notch must have felt when he offered to help fund Psychonauts 2 and the asking budget just kept going up and up! :P

I think you're somewhat right, I expect some backlash though maybe not disaster. There's no real good way to spin this, but it's the best decision they could make at this stage. I think they'll just have to ride it out and prove all the doubters wrong by releasing an awesome game.

I still think it's a better option than making a much smaller/worse game or only finishing half the story, though. They just need to show people how awesome it is in 6 months, and people will be clamouring for Act II.

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Isn't Massive Chalice as described even at the most humble end going to require at least as much resources as DFA? Adventure games are believable as an achievable kickstarter because the biggest aspects that determine their success are writing and art both of which you would think are possible to do with a reasonably modest budget.

Massive Chalice was pitched at a level of much lower funding but is way more ambitious. It hardly bodes well.

edit: it seems a bit dodgy to me to pitch another kickstarter game of seemingly greater scope for one third of the budget if Doublefine already knew that the first game with the larger budget wasn't logistically viable.

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I think at this point it may be better to realease it in parts or episodes like a the games that TellTale makes seemed to work great for walking dead.

It seems like getting bad press will be inevitable at this,at least if the parts realeased are of great quality it will sell and you may earn new fans that will await the next parts.

At least this way its better then having to cut a lot of stuff from the game.

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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."

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Welcome to video games! If a game doesn't have a solid date (and even then) don't expect it to come out then. Games that get released early suck forever.

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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!

I hope you pay your PR department well because they are going to have to kick into overdrive in order to properly tell the story here.

While I've posted my semi-ranty thoughts about it I still support Double Fine and can't wait for both Broken Age and Massive Chalice.

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I am kinda disappointed how the information leaked out ? is this a public announcement ? people are already making up stuff in all the gaming forums and twitter

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Sounds like it's going to be a rough day today reading all of the feedback around, and for that, I hope you know you're still loved by a lot of fans.

I think we all knew it might possibly get to tough times when this things started. And now, with everything being public, the realities of video game production and projects exceeding budget is all in the open, and not just a behind the scenes discussion that only the publisher and the production studio have. Lots of games exceed their budgets, but those overages don't affect the company's image the way this does. I think everyone is right to be concerned with Double Fine's image.

But I just want to say, I am very happy that Double Fine is doing all of this out in the open, for the entire game industry. The whole experience, I feel, has opened up a lot of gamer's eyes to what producing a video game is really like. Obviously, there will be some backlash today, but there has got to be some karma left for a company like Double Fine that is willing to be open and honest about what they do, and tries to keep their staff employed even if there isn't a current project (where other companies often treat them more like assets to be hired or fired). And again, how many other game companies games have gone over budget and customers didn't hear nary a peep about it, and the publisher simply forked over additional cash. I doubt going over budget is so uncommon in the industry, and I hope other people begin to realize that as this ongoing discussion between gamers and game makers continues.

Personally, the journey has been worth more than the destination, at least for me. I feel like that (and the eventual game) is what I was pitched and what I bought in for. I fully support the idea of an early release on steam, and even episodic content releases.

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Fully OK with what Tim laid out - if in the end we get a game even larger and more ambitious/complete than even what the Kickstarter campaign contributions amounted to then I don't see anyone being hurt by this. I would much rather they deliver the game they want, even if it's in two separate pieces than they compromise the product they have spent so much time on in order to meet the original timeline/etc.

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I am kinda disappointed how the information leaked out ? is this a public announcement ? people are already making up stuff in all the gaming forums and twitter

There's tens of thousands of backers for Broken Age. All it takes is one person for the information to leak out.

I wouldn't be surprised if DF ends up doing a press release or interview soon. A lot of the people reading those articles don't have the documentary episode to bring this information into context.

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first of all youre insane, in a good way....I think. I thought this was the plan all along, but the way this information came out onto other sites is painting it in a negative way :( But I also thought backers were going to beta test the first levels very early on, and that never happened, and the scope of it all being based on how fast the first few levels could be made and then the game gets opened up to be bought by the public and how much money the game brings in as more of it is developed shows how good the game is going to be and how much money you can spend on making it, instead of falling into the trap of realizing you need way way more money with no way of fixing that and finishing up the game as intended. I thought this money thing was part of the plan from the start, but this is inspiring. To be such a pro but still not think those things through is inspiring to me because I'm so caught up in hesitation over thinking whether or not things are safe or the right thing to do. I have 100% certainty this will work out just fine, but right now its definitely scary, and something I wouldn't do. This is great because it will help me learn :D

Just don't cut too much!

edit: after reading other posts people are upset about the information "leaking" well this is a perfect example why Nintendo does their Nintendo directs, because game "journalists" hardly exist anymore, with many sites being half glorified twitter feed and republishing what other sites said. Double Fine communicating directly to their audience helps everyone understand more, cuts out the boring newsman, and brings more awareness to Double Fine! :D

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Guys! Guys! People are being stupid on the Internet! Sound the alarms! Alert the authorities!

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I am kinda disappointed how the information leaked out ? is this a public announcement ? people are already making up stuff in all the gaming forums and twitter

There's tens of thousands of backers for Broken Age. All it takes is one person for the information to leak out.

I wouldn't be surprised if DF ends up doing a press release or interview soon. A lot of the people reading those articles don't have the documentary episode to bring this information into context.

:( we need a more private group then . Kotaku just copy pasted the whole thing and people commenting there have no idea how far we have come since they dont watch the documentaries

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The more important question is:

Was this information known before the Massive Chalice kickstarter?

If so, then this is incredibly disappointing.

To raise $1m for a new project when it's clear Double Fine couldn't deliver a game for $3.7m (plus a $1m from Brutal on PC, plus a $1m from Humble Bundle - I've lost count) is playing dirty.

I'm calling shenanigans.

Honestly - I don't know if I would have backed Massive Chalice if I'd known this information three weeks ago.

I'm not upset by the delay of the game. And I'm certainly not unhappy with the documentary. Heck - I'm thrilled. It's probably more valuable than the end product.

This is a black eye for Double Fine who repeatedly have shown they can't deliver a project within a certain budget and timeframe.

Extremely sad. Please continuing doing the best work you can do, because you owe 90,000 fans a lot.

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Whatever makes the best game and that, as a backer, I don't have to pay for part 2, go for it. I think I'll hold off playing part 1 until part 2 is out though. I hate cliffhangers.

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To every one saying "Why did they start massive chalice when they are behind on Broken Age" or "I think there is product mismanagement" or something of this sort please take a minute to realize what most of us (backers) are PEOPLE WHO DON'T WORK IN THE GAME INDUSTRY. However I do work in the game industry so let me explain what is going on here.

I will start with the whole Massive Chalice Kickstarter, double fine is a HUGE indie studio (about 65+) ALL 65 of them are not working (hell some are probably not even on the developer side) on Broken Age. Here is a list of games DF is working on right now that we know of Broken Age, Dropcord, 2 other non-annouced games (someone from DF please correct me if I am wrong here) and Middle Manager of Justice (for maintenance and other things). the Broken Age team is relatively small (around 10ish people, I have not been keeping count), MMOJ needs only a few people working on bug fixes players run into but grows if new content is to be added, Dropcord I have not seen much but we can assume the team could be bigger than Broken Age, and the other two games have probably a bigger team than Broken Age. I would guess about 10 to 20 people do not have something to do and Double Fine has gone on record saying they do not let people go. Massive Chalice is a solution to this problem (as you could bloat a team and then nobody has time for quality control) as something a team could do (and if the Kickstarter failed you could have them do maintenance or something I dont know I dont work there).

Now for the whole Product Mismanagement people. Go right now and look up SCRUM on Wikipedia right now... good now you know some terms I will be throwing out. Greg has said in previous posts and videos that there were several failed sprints. When sprints fail that is not a bad thing (as you can recover) however multiple failed sprints are bad. On top of that Broken Age can only be development with Broken Age (or extra money lying around). IF you throw more people at that team the money will be gone faster and then you still get a crappy game in a quick time. This one is hard to explain how product mismanagement looks like until you dealt with it so I will leave this fight for someone else.

All in all I LOVED this idea of 2 parts and wish the DF team the best.

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I am kinda disappointed how the information leaked out ? is this a public announcement ? people are already making up stuff in all the gaming forums and twitter

There's tens of thousands of backers for Broken Age. All it takes is one person for the information to leak out.

I wouldn't be surprised if DF ends up doing a press release or interview soon. A lot of the people reading those articles don't have the documentary episode to bring this information into context.

:( we need a more private group then . Kotaku just copy pasted the whole thing and people commenting there have no idea how far we have come since they dont watch the documentaries

There would be no way of controlling it more without implementing an NDA of sorts. But that wasn't part of the original vision. While this stuff was supposed to be for backers only, a bad egg or two has decided to try and capitalize on it by releasing it to the general public without any context. And unfortunately, with the media willing to do anything to find a "story", they may have even backed the project with the sole intention of leaking some information that they could twist in a way to bring themselves more views (advertising revenue)

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I am kinda disappointed how the information leaked out ? is this a public announcement ? people are already making up stuff in all the gaming forums and twitter

There's tens of thousands of backers for Broken Age. All it takes is one person for the information to leak out.

I wouldn't be surprised if DF ends up doing a press release or interview soon. A lot of the people reading those articles don't have the documentary episode to bring this information into context.

I would assume that several journalists backed the project and can read this forum and get the KS e-mails. I do think it was a real mistake to wait to release this until after the Massive Chalice KS ended as it's cost the company some goodwill with a lot of people.

Anyway, what's done is done at this point... they need to manage the bad PR they've received today, correct the mistakes they've made in development and press forward. I'm sure the game is still going to be great.

I think releasing the game in two parts is a good idea in theory given the issues they face now, but I'm not sure enough people who haven't backed the game already are going to want to play "Act 1" early in order to raise the additional funds needed. I think it'd be better to formerly split it into two Episodes so that way you can get the PR from website reviews, etc to drive sales of the game.

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To every one saying "Why did they start massive chalice when they are behind on Broken Age" or "I think there is product mismanagement" or something of this sort please take a minute to realize what most of us (backers) are PEOPLE WHO DON'T WORK IN THE GAME INDUSTRY. However I do work in the game industry so let me explain what is going on here.

I will start with the whole Massive Chalice Kickstarter, double fine is a HUGE indie studio (about 65+) ALL 65 of them are not working (hell some are probably not even on the developer side) on Broken Age. Here is a list of games DF is working on right now that we know of Broken Age, Dropcord, 2 other non-annouced games (someone from DF please correct me if I am wrong here) and Middle Manager of Justice (for maintenance and other things). the Broken Age team is relatively small (around 10ish people, I have not been keeping count), MMOJ needs only a few people working on bug fixes players run into but grows if new content is to be added, Dropcord I have not seen much but we can assume the team could be bigger than Broken Age, and the other two games have probably a bigger team than Broken Age. I would guess about 10 to 20 people do not have something to do and Double Fine has gone on record saying they do not let people go. Massive Chalice is a solution to this problem (as you could bloat a team and then nobody has time for quality control) as something a team could do (and if the Kickstarter failed you could have them do maintenance or something I dont know I dont work there).

Now for the whole Product Mismanagement people. Go right now and look up SCRUM on Wikipedia right now... good now you know some terms I will be throwing out. Greg has said in previous posts and videos that there were several failed sprints. When sprints fail that is not a bad thing (as you can recover) however multiple failed sprints are bad. On top of that Broken Age can only be development with Broken Age (or extra money lying around). IF you throw more people at that team the money will be gone faster and then you still get a crappy game in a quick time. This one is hard to explain how product mismanagement looks like until you dealt with it so I will leave this fight for someone else.

All in all I LOVED this idea of 2 parts and wish the DF team the best.

I think the main concern is knowing all this stuff, but not announcing it until after Massive Chalice was funded. I'm a biiiig Tim Schafer/Double Fine fan and I'm as excited as anyone for this game, but that can't help but come across as shady.

Would Massive Chalice have gotten the funding if just before they announced the kickstarter, they announced a big delay and change with Broken Age? It would have had far less of a chance.

So no one can honestly be surprised that there's a backlash.

I'm like everyone else - happy to wait for the best possible game, especially if it's going to stay with me forever like Grim Fandango or Full Throttle.

Still seems to be taking a very long time though. Art seems to be the main factor for that. Which is strange - because the art was in the original pitch. They were expecting to make a point and click game with Bagel's art style for $400,000. Would that have been the length of the Curse of Monkey Island demo or something? A 10 minute game?

Trying to keep positive about it, but there's definitely an "asking for too much from the fanbase" feel going on. Massive Chalice has really dicked my feelings up. If it didn't steal 2PP away from Broken Age, I wouldn't feel too bad about it, but it's definitely affecting my Broken Age experience.

Don't want to be a negative nancy, but I can't help being honest.

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The big problem I see for Double Fine is trying to make money off of Broken Age. You've already sold 90,000 copies of an adventure game. That is pretty much the ceiling these days.. You've already sold the copies to the market that is there, I don't see where the huge sales are coming from, especially for an incomplete game. If Double Fine wanted to make a profit on this they needed to come under budget. There is always this problem when creativity meets business, and it normally doesn't end well. But if I give you $100 to live off for the month, then you better learn to live within your means. There is a lot to be said for great project management, a business analyst before the project even began may have stopped the problems we are having now. You have to know your resources, time, money, to know what you are capable of. You have to know your limitations. I wouldn't kickstart a double fine game after this, because the track record says they just couldn't deliver. That doesn't mean I don't love Double Fine and the amazing work Tim has done in the past but they just haven't delivered on what they promised.

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