Double Fine Wasn't Being "Greedy" With Second Kickstarter

Double Fine Wasn't Being "Greedy" With Second Kickstarter

Massive Chalice concept art for Kickstarter

Massive Chalice lead Brad Muir says that big name Kickstarter campaigns help smaller projects find funding.

In 2012, Tim Schafer's studio Double Fine arguably kicked off a boom of studios and developers turning to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to raise money for their projects. Double Fine's campaign would go onto to raise more then three million dollars, money that has since been put toward the development of the still in-progress title Broken Age. The arguable poster child for gaming fundraisers, Double Fine recently launched a second campaign, this time to raise money for a turn-based strategy title called Massive Chalice.

It was a move that could arguably have irked some in the gaming community. Double Fine, in some ways, could have been seen as exploiting crowdfunding resources when it had yet to deliver the game promised in its previous campaign. Likely aware that such criticisms could arise, the studio addressed the issue directly on the Massive Chalice Kickstarter page. Now, with the Massive Chalice campaign a success, project lead Brad Muir has offered further insight into why the company opted to Kickstart a second project less than two years after its first. "We're not greedy," said Muir. "Double Fine's a pretty large company at this point and we have multiple teams. We need to make sure they're all working on funded projects and we were excited about the idea of doing more projects out in the open like Broken Age. It's highly unlikely that we'd be able to be this public with our development process if we had signed the game with a traditional publisher."

While some might try to make the argument that smaller, less visible projects could use the funding more, Muir would counter that the success of campaigns like Massive Chalice's are beneficial to crowdfunding as a whole. "Kickstarter has been very public about the fact that bringing more people to the Kickstarter system through higher profile projects only helps out the lower profile projects," said Muir. "We received some awesome emails during the Broken Age Kickstarter from indie game devs thanking us for having such a positive effect on their Kickstarters that were running at the same time."

Permalink

Double Fine are not the bad guys. I'm sure most people won't feel that way.

If they did a Kickstarter every 6 months I wouldn't just ignore it out of hand. Some of the most interesting stuff has come to us via their efforts. And if Kickstarting games is the key to letting them be the independent creative souls they are, then so be it.

Broken Age will get here when it's ready.

They're not even the first. inXile did the Torment Kickstarter before Wasteland 2 was released as well -- and it was immensely successful. It's just good business practice to keep your teams busy.

inXile's pitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4NkADMQwzg

Double Fine does enough good work that I don't mind multiple Kickstarter-funded games being worked on. If anything, it will give them more freedom and flexibility than standard publisher funding does. Brad Muir said in an interview done during the Kickstarter that when they wanted to change a design aspect of Iron Brigade, they had to spend time convincing the publisher (Microsoft) that removing something in the game that was simply not fun (removing a free-roaming aspect from the game) would be better for the game in the long term. I'd rather have them be able to make the call themselves than have to pass every change they want through a publisher who has no investment in the project beyond how much money they think they can make.

Old News... Thanks to massive amounts of goodwill earned after years of transparency, good practices and cheerful love for the medium and their audience, the people behind Double Fine pretty much dismissed the "greedy" accusations 10 seconds after the video.

The only people that still insist on them being greedy bastards that only acre about more money are those that are too cynic to function anywhere outside the Internet.

Well the only thing I can see that might be concidered an issue is the fact a few months ago Broken age had already gone through it's 3 million dollar budget (minus the rewards of course). Some people might see this as simply funding the previous project. I have faith that broken age will be awesome along with Massive challice, but a 1 million budget for a game of the scope they suggest I wonder if they can make it quite as grand. Granted they might still be making bucks off games already made like brutal Legends and Cave and what not. Along with that humble bundle that went on a few months ago. I like their creative games and I'd like to see them keep making them.

Most overrated studio of the moment. You'd think that after the letdown that was Brütal Legend (along with the Cave, which was met with lukewarm reviews) people would've waken up to the reality that even Tim Schafer/Double Fine can botch a project. But no~ they just keep flinging his money at him even after he also proved he can't manage a budget, burning through a budget that was eight times larger than what he asked for, and the Humble Bundle money is also nearly gone now as the quest to secure more funding to complete Broken Age continues.

How can so many gamers remain more blindly confident in Double Fine than most gamers are blindly confident in Valve when all the writings are on the wall to prove that they don't necessarily have the Midas touch?

kickstarter is being used by large groups now because they have projects that for some reason they aren't willing to fund themselves, or it is a good way to test and value smaller riskier projects directly as opposed to directly forcasting and gambling on which projects to back. I see those as good reasons to use Kickstarter; however, I am upset that these larger groups like Double Fine, Obsidian, Warner Brothers is using Kickstarter. I just don't back those groups. I just canceled my Kickstarter profile because I see too many large groups using Kickstarter for no good reason now.

If people want to pour money on things, fine, I don't really mind how they do that.

However, treating Kickstarter as a market place really has to stop.

You aren't "Funding" these games. You're pre-ordering, that's really all there is to it.

mbarker:
I am upset that these larger groups like Double Fine, Obsidian, Warner Brothers is using Kickstarter. I just don't back those groups. I just canceled my Kickstarter profile because I see too many large groups using Kickstarter for no good reason now.

Warner Bros has no excuse, but most game developers get funding from publishers to make a game, and then maybe a bonus after release if it meets sales expectations. After that they need to get funding from a publisher again to make another game.

The games Double Fine and Obsidian and their ilk want to make would never get publisher funding unless they compromised their artistic vision and made the games into shooters or something, and they likely wouldn't own the rights to game at the end of development either.

So there's plenty of reasons why an established developer would go to Kickstarter.

Genocidicles:

mbarker:
I am upset that these larger groups like Double Fine, Obsidian, Warner Brothers is using Kickstarter. I just don't back those groups. I just canceled my Kickstarter profile because I see too many large groups using Kickstarter for no good reason now.

Warner Bros has no excuse, but most game developers get funding from publishers to make a game, and then maybe a bonus after release if it meets sales expectations. After that they need to get funding from a publisher again to make another game.

The games Double Fine and Obsidian and their ilk want to make would never get publisher funding unless they compromised their artistic vision and made the games into shooters or something, and they likely wouldn't own the rights to game at the end of development either.

So there's plenty of reasons why an established developer would go to Kickstarter.

you're right, I have no problem with that at all. However, These groups of developers still get publisher dollars and perhaps a bonus afterwards. Double Fine sells products and even has the income to complete their own projects. Reds budget was used up very quickly, and they are funding the rest of the game from their own coffers. This is something most other Kickstarters wouldn't beable to do.

Kickstarter is rife with small developers who wouldn't even get publisher dollars and those games should take funding priority. Names like Tim Schafer, and Chris Avalon reduce the chance for these other people to get funding, or even get notice.

mbarker:

you're right, I have no problem with that at all. However, These groups of developers still get publisher dollars and perhaps a bonus afterwards. Double Fine sells products and even has the income to complete their own projects. Reds budget was used up very quickly, and they are funding the rest of the game from their own coffers. This is something most other Kickstarters wouldn't beable to do.

Kickstarter is rife with small developers who wouldn't even get publisher dollars and those games should take funding priority. Names like Tim Schafer, and Chris Avalon reduce the chance for these other people to get funding, or even get notice.

If it wasn't for those big names I would have never have found Kickstarter, let alone back anything. Now I've backed over 30, most of them are 'the little guys' who I've never heard of.

Also:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/116343-Obsidian-Lost-Bonus-for-Fallout-New-Vegas-by-One-Metacritic-Point

Just because the devs have worked with publishers before doesn't mean that their financials are all rosy.

mbarker:
Kickstarter is rife with small developers who wouldn't even get publisher dollars and those games should take funding priority. Names like Tim Schafer, and Chris Avalon reduce the chance for these other people to get funding, or even get notice.

Big names like Schafer and Avalon actually help the smaller developers:

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/05/10/are-celeb-driven-kickstarters-a-good-thing

They get more people on Kickstarter who normally wouldn't have gone on there in the first place, and then that increases the amount of people who see the smaller projects and funds them.

mbarker:

Genocidicles:

mbarker:
I am upset that these larger groups like Double Fine, Obsidian, Warner Brothers is using Kickstarter. I just don't back those groups. I just canceled my Kickstarter profile because I see too many large groups using Kickstarter for no good reason now.

Warner Bros has no excuse, but most game developers get funding from publishers to make a game, and then maybe a bonus after release if it meets sales expectations. After that they need to get funding from a publisher again to make another game.

The games Double Fine and Obsidian and their ilk want to make would never get publisher funding unless they compromised their artistic vision and made the games into shooters or something, and they likely wouldn't own the rights to game at the end of development either.

So there's plenty of reasons why an established developer would go to Kickstarter.

you're right, I have no problem with that at all. However, These groups of developers still get publisher dollars and perhaps a bonus afterwards. Double Fine sells products and even has the income to complete their own projects. Reds budget was used up very quickly, and they are funding the rest of the game from their own coffers. This is something most other Kickstarters wouldn't beable to do.

Kickstarter is rife with small developers who wouldn't even get publisher dollars and those games should take funding priority. Names like Tim Schafer, and Chris Avalon reduce the chance for these other people to get funding, or even get notice.

Uh, no Double Fine doesn't.

Game development is highly expensive, you will get nowhere unless you have a publisher and publishers don't want the games Double Fine makes. Even if the people do. Publishers want accessible shooters, and likely bend developers over a barrel to make sure its as safe as possible.

Unless you are valve and own steam or own another way to make money, you won't get far. Double Fine is by no means rich. Very few video game developers can claim that.

Yeah, he wasnt being greedy he was being desperate. Ironic that 5 minutes after the MS kickstarter completes we find out Broken Age has run out of cash and needs steam sales to make a complete game. I wonder how much of that MS cash might be pissed away the way that the BA cash must have been.

Schafer has lost a lot of crediblity in my eyes and i'm sure in the eyes of many others.

So basically "Double Fine is a pretty big studio" and wants to continue to be a big studio, but doesn't want to budget, delegate, deliver, or do any of the other things big studio's have to do that don't work off Kickstarter.

Hell at this point Tim should be working on his games at your house so you can make sure him and his team aren't slacking off at the water cooler, or knocking off 3 hours early to go to the beach.

Oh look, and now they're going to throw Broken Age onto Steam Early Access to try and get the money to finish the damn thing.

Yup, masters of budgeting.

Just careless and incompetent.

dragongit:
Well the only thing I can see that might be concidered an issue is the fact a few months ago Broken age had already gone through it's 3 million dollar budget (minus the rewards of course). Some people might see this as simply funding the previous project. I have faith that broken age will be awesome along with Massive challice, but a 1 million budget for a game of the scope they suggest I wonder if they can make it quite as grand. Granted they might still be making bucks off games already made like brutal Legends and Cave and what not. Along with that humble bundle that went on a few months ago. I like their creative games and I'd like to see them keep making them.

Can't wait to see what sort of whiny, finger pointing excuses you come up with when the game fails to raise enough money to complete the second half. Will you blame the government, Aliens, the Illuminati? Or will you just keep screaming "Teh Interwebs Trolls did it!"

Genocidicles:
Big names like Schafer and Avalon actually help the smaller developers:

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/05/10/are-celeb-driven-kickstarters-a-good-thing

They get more people on Kickstarter who normally wouldn't have gone on there in the first place, and then that increases the amount of people who see the smaller projects and funds them.

Ed130:
If it wasn't for those big names I would have never have found Kickstarter, let alone back anything. Now I've backed over 30, most of them are 'the little guys' who I've never heard of.

Also:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/116343-Obsidian-Lost-Bonus-for-Fallout-New-Vegas-by-One-Metacritic-Point

Just because the devs have worked with publishers before doesn't mean that their financials are all rosy.

The presence of companies like Double Fine and Obsidian do offer some benefits for the Kickstarter community and every project as a whole, but the disadvantages are more damaging to smaller companies than they are helpful. Some of these disadvantages are: They take away backer interest from smaller projects by just being on Kickstarter; other sources of media outside of the Kickstarter platform focus on the larger names and bigger companies despite the creativity and quality of the smaller project; and the smaller projects are forced to use more development dollars for backer rewards and promotion in order to compete with the bigger developers on Kickstarter.

Even though DF and Tim Schafer brought some potential Backers to Kickstarter They also took backer dollars from people that most likely wouldn't have even been granted the opportunity to talk to a publisher.

I can't begin to comment on the inner workings of Obsidian, But I am sure they still have an advantage over a new developer who hasn't made the mark that Obsidian has made in the game market.

mbarker:

Genocidicles:
Big names like Schafer and Avalon actually help the smaller developers:

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/05/10/are-celeb-driven-kickstarters-a-good-thing

They get more people on Kickstarter who normally wouldn't have gone on there in the first place, and then that increases the amount of people who see the smaller projects and funds them.

Ed130:
If it wasn't for those big names I would have never have found Kickstarter, let alone back anything. Now I've backed over 30, most of them are 'the little guys' who I've never heard of.

Also:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/116343-Obsidian-Lost-Bonus-for-Fallout-New-Vegas-by-One-Metacritic-Point

Just because the devs have worked with publishers before doesn't mean that their financials are all rosy.

The presence of companies like Double Fine and Obsidian do offer some benefits for the Kickstarter community and every project as a whole, but the disadvantages are more damaging to smaller companies than they are helpful. Some of these disadvantages are: They take away backer interest from smaller projects by just being on Kickstarter; other sources of media outside of the Kickstarter platform focus on the larger names and bigger companies despite the creativity and quality of the smaller project; and the smaller projects are forced to use more development dollars for backer rewards and promotion in order to compete with the bigger developers on Kickstarter.

Even though DF and Tim Schafer brought some potential Backers to Kickstarter They also took backer dollars from people that most likely wouldn't have even been granted the opportunity to talk to a publisher.

I can't begin to comment on the inner workings of Obsidian, But I am sure they still have an advantage over a new developer who hasn't made the mark that Obsidian has made in the game market.

...

Your logic is rather 'patchy' in some areas but I believe I can muddle through.

The Double Fine Kickstarter was the big breakout for the site and for gaming in particular, if it hadn't happened crowdfinding wouldn't have been nearly as big as it is today. The largest videogame Kickstarter pre-Broken Age was VENUS PATROL: charting a new course for videogame culture, which just scraped in 105,398 dollars.

Afterwards both dollars pledged and projects launched sky-rocketed.

Without Double Fine leading the way the likes of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wouldn't have started their Kickstarter Katchup that highlights various game projects and the majority of gamers and devs wouldn't know about crowdfunding at all.

Furthermore just because the likes of Schafer, Avellone, and Fargo are 'big names' and have dealt with publishers before doesn't mean that the publishers will fund or even listen to them. Brian Fargo and InXile in particular is a notable example of devs being ignored by by publishers in favour of gritty shooters that currently clog up the AAA scene.

Finally, calling corwdfunding a investment or pre-order doesn't matter, people will hedge their bets on a known brand or name. You can't change it, no matter how creative your game is.

I do think it was slightly sneaky to wait until just after the kickstarter to announce the need to split the game into two chapters but as long as they're still making the full game with the money kickstarter gave them (that includes splitting the game up into two volumes so the first one can start earning them revenue to finish the second) then it doesn't matter. It's if they fail to make the second chapter that we run into problems because then they would have failed to scale the game appropriately.

Ed130:

...

Your logic is rather 'patchy' in some areas but I believe I can muddle through.

The Double Fine Kickstarter was the big breakout for the site and for gaming in particular, if it hadn't happened crowdfinding wouldn't have been nearly as big as it is today. The largest videogame Kickstarter pre-Broken Age was VENUS PATROL: charting a new course for videogame culture, which just scraped in 105,398 dollars.

Afterwards both dollars pledged and projects launched sky-rocketed.

Without Double Fine leading the way the likes of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wouldn't have started their Kickstarter Katchup that highlights various game projects and the majority of gamers and devs wouldn't know about crowdfunding at all.

Furthermore just because the likes of Schafer, Avellone, and Fargo are 'big names' and have dealt with publishers before doesn't mean that the publishers will fund or even listen to them. Brian Fargo and InXile in particular is a notable example of devs being ignored by by publishers in favour of gritty shooters that currently clog up the AAA scene.

Finally, calling corwdfunding a investment or pre-order doesn't matter, people will hedge their bets on a known brand or name. You can't change it, no matter how creative your game is.

Double Fine can be credited for getting Kickstarter more recognition and Backers when compared to other crowdfunding websites, but there is no evidence that Double Fine Is responsible for the increase to the crowdfunding phenomena. The number of people who are now using crowdfunding to support independent projects could also be because of the growing popularity of independent titles in video gaming and the lack of interest in expensive triple A franchises. Gamers and the media like RPS didn't need Double Fine to draw their attention to these funding platforms.

Considering the blog article that was cited primarily took the metrics of video and board games it does share some interesting facts:

1) Only 22% of video games are successfully funded while 47% of board games are funded in comparison. The reason of the large difference between the two game types as stated in the article is because of the much smaller amounts that are asked for to fund board game projects. If projects like: Torment, Eternity, and DFA hadn't used Kickstarter to fund their projects smaller riskier ventures would have been more successful in their campaigns and perhaps would have gotten more Backers to invest in their cheaper projects.

2) Board games also showed higher and more consistent growth with the number of successfully funded projects. Video games just show a larger increase in dollars pledged which can be easily explained by the level of funding each project creator believe they require to become successful. The number of well known development studios now using Kickstarter as a videogame funding platform can also explain this trend. Board gaming also hasn't had a huge influx of main stream developers leaving room for smaller ventures to grow and be able to market themselves without needing to compete with much bigger companies.

Double Fine used crowdfunding because they didn't want a publisher to publish their game. For Project Reds Double fine didn't even attempt to get funding through other sources.

InXile was turned down by publishers and only considered crowd funding after Double Fines success and when they had no other option, I guess that was what Kickstarter was meant for, but that process wasn't done for InXile's Torment Project. InXile's expectation for Kickstarter to bank role a second project without even an attempt to gain other sources of funding is a little ridiculous to me.

When these larger companies are put up against a smaller group of developers with a good idea and no other form of income they lose potential funding from backers more willing hedge their bets and back a studio with 2 dozen fulltime staff, multiple projects, and a large videogame portfolio with some of the most beloved titles in gamming history. Smaller groups with riskier projects and no established reputation have no chance to get their project funded because of companies like Double Fine.

I'll just provide the link to the Kickstarter article: http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/the-year-of-the-game

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here