Tim Schafer Thought He'd Get Two Grand, Not $2 Million

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Tim Schafer Thought He'd Get Two Grand, Not $2 Million

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He didn't have a clue his Double Fine Adventure would be this huge fundraising drive.

When I woke up this morning, I was happy to eat my cereal and feed my kid her oatmeal. When Tim Schafer woke up last Wednesday morning, he had already earned $800,000 for a game he hadn't even made yet. Not many people could have anticipated the huge success of Double Fine's Kickstarter fundraising, least of all Tim Schafer, as the current total sits northwards of 1.7 million dollars donated by nearly 50,000 people with 29 days left to go. Schafer promised he would give the backers what they want: an awesome adventure game and a no-holds-barred look at the making of that game with him as the MC of the documentary circus.

Schafer admitted that he hasn't really solidified what the game will be about. "I have some vague ideas floating around in my head," he said. "But importantly, this isn't just making a game, but making a viable documentary about it. People often ask where ideas come from and how they turn into games, and this is a great way to show the entire process from lose ideas to a developed concept. We're going to put it all on camera. It'll be like The Office, with me as Ricky Gervais."

Is he worried about all the pressure of 50,000 backers demanding he adds so-and-so to the game, because hey, they are the backers. "Double Fine is still going to be responsible for the game," he said. "We can't say, 'We made a crummy game, but the fans made us do it.' We're going to make sure they get a game they like - and that doesn't always mean doing something they've asked you to do. If you're making a shooter and the fans say, 'We want the shotgun to be more powerful', you might not be able to do that because it's tied in to a lot of other systems.

"The fans will get a really original adventure game," Schafer said. "That's what they want."

Did he think he'd make quadruple his asking price before a week was through? "No, I guessed by the end of the first night we'd be at $2000," he said. "People were saying it's crazy to ask for $400,000 on Kickstarter, but I was just working off what I knew it would actually cost to make a game. It's shocking that games cost millions of dollars to make. But you've got to pay salaries. People are expensive ..."

To be fair to the all of the commentary from last week about Schafer blowing up the publishing model, he doesn't want to portray corporations as evil. "I'm not trying to vilify them," he says. "Publishers do their business in a way that works for them. They're risking millions of dollars so they've got to mitigate that risk - and sometimes that means removing risky ideas from games. The thing is, Double Fine is all about coming up with new, unproven and really creative ideas. It's a constant battle for us to get those ideas to go through the system, that long spanking machine of people who have to sign off on you. They're not evil, they're just trying to protect themselves."

Even the previously fertile ground for independent games like such as Xbox Live or the Sony Entertainment Network still cost too much money. "Those systems, as great as they are, they're still closed," he said. "You have to jump through a lot of hoops, even for important stuff like patching and supporting your game. Those are things we really want to do, but we can't do it on these systems. I mean, it costs $40,000 to put up a patch - we can't afford that! Open systems like Steam, that allow us to set our own prices, that's where it's at, and doing it completely alone like Minecraft. That's where people are going."

And now that Schafer has paved the way, will we see shift to independent companies Kickstarting games for open platforms? I sure hope so.

Source: Hookshot

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lol, I guess a lot of people REALLY hate RTS elements.
Now hurry up and give us the Psychonauts sequel.

Congratulations! I'm glad Mr. Tim Shafer managed to gain so much support so easily! Hopefully independent game developers and major studios will take note of what this means. :)

I say give the guy at least a week solitude to mindstorm and experiment, then we can sic the cameras on him. Turning it into a reality show from the get-go will kill the game before it's even begun.

I donated purely because I want to see the documentary. A inside look at the development process is easily worth the asking price for me. The end product is just a nice bonus.
But yeah, this kind of start off was just freaking insane. Guess we know one developer who wont be dealing with annoying publishers any more.

Ah, 2012, how good you've been to me.

Schafer gets 2 million, Activision admit fucking up CoD, Zynga Sued, Apple under investigation, Phantom Menace getting panned by the critics, Ubisoft screw up their servers, Mass Effect 3 panned before it's even out, Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

I don't care if the Mayans were right. This has been a good year overall.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Ah, 2012, how good you've been to me.

Schafer gets 2 million, Activision admit fucking up CoD, Zynga Sued, Apple under investigation, Phantom Menace getting panned by the critics, Ubisoft screw up their servers, Mass Effect 3 panned before it's even out, Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

I don't care if the Mayans were right. This has been a good year overall.

Agreed! But um if the Mayans were so great at telling the future wouldnt they still be here as a empire?

Axeion:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Ah, 2012, how good you've been to me.

Schafer gets 2 million, Activision admit fucking up CoD, Zynga Sued, Apple under investigation, Phantom Menace getting panned by the critics, Ubisoft screw up their servers, Mass Effect 3 panned before it's even out, Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

I don't care if the Mayans were right. This has been a good year overall.

Agreed! But um if the Mayans were so great at telling the future wouldnt they still be here as a empire?

"May" in Aztec is pronounced "Syri". :)

Wait wait wait wait.

40000$ to put up a patch for a game on PSN or XBLA???

TheKasp:
Wait wait wait wait.

40000$ to put up a patch for a game on PSN or XBLA???

And no free content allowed on XBLA (the reason why XBox TF2 died...)

You know...it kinda seems like he's chumming the waters, here. Hope he remembers to get out before the sharks arrive, or the hunt might start sooner than expected. Either way, guess we're gonna get a good look at the industry this time around. It should be a revelatory experience.

TheKasp:
Wait wait wait wait.

40000$ to put up a patch for a game on PSN or XBLA???

Correct. It would only cost $10,000, but Microsoft requires another $40,000 to be sculpted into the image of Bill Gates and burned in effigy to the money gods.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Ah, 2012, how good you've been to me.

Schafer gets 2 million, Activision admit fucking up CoD, Zynga Sued, Apple under investigation, Phantom Menace getting panned by the critics, Ubisoft screw up their servers, Mass Effect 3 panned before it's even out, Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

I don't care if the Mayans were right. This has been a good year overall.

Apparently I missed the memo on Mass Effect sucking?

Eri:

Apparently I missed the memo on Mass Effect sucking?

Which one? Did you miss the bad animation, lousy storywriting, Chobot Sue, Origin linked, EA tweaks, Mordin recast, or the other bits?

Have a look round, they're here on the Escapist.

Tim Schafer:
"I'm not trying to vilify them," he says. "Publishers do their business in a way that works for them. They're risking millions of dollars so they've got to mitigate that risk - and sometimes that means removing risky ideas from games. The thing is, Double Fine is all about coming up with new, unproven and really creative ideas. It's a constant battle for us to get those ideas to go through the system, that long spanking machine of people who have to sign off on you. They're not evil, they're just trying to protect themselves."

Oh, but some of them ARE evil Mr. Schafer.
As much as I respect your opinion and your work, I can still name examples of Publishers who are scum or have acted as such in the past.

Just off the top of my head...Electronic Arts and Zynga.
Easy targets? You bet. But they're fair calls all the same.

I can understand the stance of protecting your interests by basically making a mock-up of proven to work gaming formulas, but when a company starts buying out developers and then ass-raping their franchises, or doing literal copy-and-paste jobs of other people's work, and then buying out their market share with advertising blocks, it's hard to defend that as simply being "defending themselves".

Eri:
Apparently I missed the memo on Mass Effect sucking?

There exists a not-insignificant portion of people that think ME2 sucked (either for gameplay or for story reasons) and find very little to be hopeful for in ME3.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Eri:

Apparently I missed the memo on Mass Effect sucking?

Which one? Did you miss the bad animation, lousy storywriting, Chobot Sue, Origin linked, EA tweaks, Mordin recast, or the other bits?

Have a look round, they're here on the Escapist.

MORDIN RECAST?! WHAT WHAT WHAT!?

ResonanceGames:
snip

Raiyan 1.0:
snip

Oh god, this is so wrong... and then people complain if many games have next to zero patchsupport? From this perspective I can understand that Valve doesn't patch their console ports. TF2 gets about a bazillion patches a week, with those fees MS could buy their own state.

Axeion:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Ah, 2012, how good you've been to me.

Schafer gets 2 million, Activision admit fucking up CoD, Zynga Sued, Apple under investigation, Phantom Menace getting panned by the critics, Ubisoft screw up their servers, Mass Effect 3 panned before it's even out, Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

I don't care if the Mayans were right. This has been a good year overall.

Agreed! But um if the Mayans were so great at telling the future wouldnt they still be here as a empire?

maybe they knew that the future is going to blow ass no matter what they would do and said to themselves 'Chobot in my mass effect? no thanks! now gimme these goddamn smallpox infested blankets'

Greg Tito:

And now that Schafer has paved the way, will we see shift to independent companies Kickstarting games for open platforms? I sure hope so.

indie devs already started to use kickstarter to fund their projects before schafer. (great i sound like a hipster now)
check this game out which has been funded with kickstarter money.


looks interesting.

DVS BSTrD:
lol, I guess a lot of people REALLY hate RTS elements.

From Tim's Tweet stream:

Guys, I'll make you a deal. If we hit $980k I'll add RTS elements to the game! And if we hit $1M, I'll take them back out!

Luckily we hit the $1M

Eri:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Ah, 2012, how good you've been to me.

Schafer gets 2 million, Activision admit fucking up CoD, Zynga Sued, Apple under investigation, Phantom Menace getting panned by the critics, Ubisoft screw up their servers, Mass Effect 3 panned before it's even out, Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

I don't care if the Mayans were right. This has been a good year overall.

Apparently I missed the memo on Mass Effect sucking?

You...you haven't read the leaked scrip yet have you....oh...

You're in for a nasty suprise.

(About the scrip: Dialogue is brilliant. Very witty and funny. Better then ME1&2 I'd say. However, the main plot line is ridiculous. Choices are ignored from the previous games, characters reduced to brief cameos, rail road, copy paste ending from Deus Ex etc etc)

On topic: This is really cool to hear. Hope the big man can pull something awesome together with the cash. It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with now he's not constrained by a Publisher.

Also: $40,000 for a patch!? Holy Christ, that's just ridiculous. No wonder small developers are moving to mobile platforms.

The_root_of_all_evil:
*le snip* Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

... I'm morbidly curious about this, I can haz linkyz?

OT: Intelligent, creative AND humble? My word, Tim really is a wonderful human being... I'm really looking forwards to this game now!

Rainboq:

The_root_of_all_evil:
*le snip* Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

... I'm morbidly curious about this, I can haz linkyz?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115783-Blizzard-Throws-Down-With-Valve-Over-DOTA-Trademark

I may have exaggerated a little for comic effect; but you'd still pay to watch that, wouldn't you?

Publishers aren't evil? I think there records speak for themselves. Sure they financially protect themselves, but they can't leave well enough alone. Ever.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Rainboq:

The_root_of_all_evil:
*le snip* Kotick and Newell in a slap fight.

... I'm morbidly curious about this, I can haz linkyz?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115783-Blizzard-Throws-Down-With-Valve-Over-DOTA-Trademark

I may have exaggerated a little for comic effect; but you'd still pay to watch that, wouldn't you?

Oh, I think most people in the industry and the community would pay to see Kotick get torn to shreds by Gabe.

Rainboq:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Rainboq:
... I'm morbidly curious about this, I can haz linkyz?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115783-Blizzard-Throws-Down-With-Valve-Over-DOTA-Trademark

I may have exaggerated a little for comic effect; but you'd still pay to watch that, wouldn't you?

Oh, I think most people in the industry and the community would pay to see Kotick get torn to shreds by Gabe.

Gabe would just sit on him.

OT: I donated $30 for this project, having only played one previous Shafer game before ( Brutal Legend.) I enjoyed it quite a bit ( though I'm glad he's taking the RTS bits out of his new game!) Also, I bought Psychonauts over the holidays but I havent played it much yet, it's hilarious already though.

I would pay for this "Adventure", but I don't know what the point-and-click adventure would be like. Are Schafer and that other adventure game pioneer going to take it above and beyond "take items, try them, solve puzzle, read funny text, repeat", or will I probably end up stuck and give up on a puzzle?

I agree with the big publishers in that I, for one, might not like it. I have hardly ever played a point-and-click adventure game. Anyone have any particular reason for me to expect enjoyment from such a game?

Psyconauts 2 or Conler's Bad Fur Day 2?

CardinalPiggles:
Publishers aren't evil? I think there records speak for themselves. Sure they financially protect themselves, but they can't leave well enough alone. Ever.

My guess is he said that so publishers would still fund his future products.

How can he not have expected the success? Schafer is one of the few big names in the video game industry, of course there're going to be a lot of people supporting him.
The amount of money the project got in such little time is still amazing, though.

DVS BSTrD:
lol, I guess a lot of people REALLY hate RTS elements.
Now hurry up and give us the Psychonauts sequel.

i thought mojang was working on getting schafer money for that.

40K to patch a game on the XBLA, huh?

You know what that means... cue the obvious jokes!

image

You're welcome.

Xman490:
I would pay for this "Adventure", but I don't know what the point-and-click adventure would be like. Are Schafer and that other adventure game pioneer going to take it above and beyond "take items, try them, solve puzzle, read funny text, repeat", or will I probably end up stuck and give up on a puzzle?

I agree with the big publishers in that I, for one, might not like it. I have hardly ever played a point-and-click adventure game. Anyone have any particular reason for me to expect enjoyment from such a game?

You are not the target audience for this game if you have never enjoyed/played a point-and-click adventure game before. Maybe you are too young, I do not know. I myself were a mere child when I did, but if you experienced the point and click games of old when they were "new", this game will excit you to the core.

Atm you should have no expectations at all except for the part that it is Double Fine production so you know the humour will be fantastic.

NightmareLuna:

Xman490:
I would pay for this "Adventure", but I don't know what the point-and-click adventure would be like. Are Schafer and that other adventure game pioneer going to take it above and beyond "take items, try them, solve puzzle, read funny text, repeat", or will I probably end up stuck and give up on a puzzle?

I agree with the big publishers in that I, for one, might not like it. I have hardly ever played a point-and-click adventure game. Anyone have any particular reason for me to expect enjoyment from such a game?

You are not the target audience for this game if you have never enjoyed/played a point-and-click adventure game before. Maybe you are too young, I do not know. I myself were a mere child when I did, but if you experienced the point and click games of old when they were "new", this game will excit you to the core.

Atm you should have no expectations at all except for the part that it is Double Fine production so you know the humour will be fantastic.

To be fair, one can be an adventure game fan, be the target audience for this game and still feel that adventure games of yore have some really frustrating elements that they need to grow out of (some modern adventure games have done better jobs with this).

The whole point where EVERYBODY (yes, EVERYBODY) gets stuck and has to resort to using every freaking weird item in their inventory on every object (because sometimes item/object combos are stupidly obtuse) comes to mind.

But I do have faith that Schaeffer is forward thinking enough to understand what issues the adventure games of yore had and work on some new ideas for them.

I love the Internet! This is the kind of thing I have been imagining for years, and others for even longer.
Hopefully we can really minimize the importance of publishers in this industry. I'd love to see genres long considered dead reborn in the modern era through this type of funding.
I can't wait to see what comes of this, granted it will probably two years before game and documentary get released.

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