An interesting project is underway...
To get this out of the way now I should mention that the next two weeks stand to be short weeks for me in terms of articles uploaded: there will be at least three, maybe four this week, but perhaps only two or three next week. Going on a trip and all that jazz, so my apologies for that in advance. Thankfully though I have a lot to talk about for the articles this week, mostly due to something that happened during the last one.
Odds are that you've probably heard this one through the grapevine already, but in the latter half of last week Double Fine Productions decided that they were going to turn to the gaming community for help in funding an adventure title, for now simply called Double Fine Adventure. The production studio headed by Tim Schafer has created such games as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend while Schafer himself is known for having played a part in the golden age of adventure games with input into games like The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, and Grim Fandango.
The reasoning behind the decision to fund this upcoming adventure game, as Schafer himself says in the video on the Kickstarter page, is that while a fair amount of gamers would love to see another adventure game released, actual publishers and the industry are rather antsy about giving the greenlight to such projects on the grounds that it's a niche genre and that the profit margin isn't high enough to really bother in the first place. With that thought in mind Double Fine turned to Kickstarter to effectively bypass the middle man; creating a game that would be funded directly by the people interested in playing it while also making a documentary of the undertaking.
Needless to say that Double Fine has found massive success, absolutely destroying the initial $400,000 goal it had set for itself and making over one million dollars in under twenty four hours. Double Fine Adventure has quickly become the most backed project in Kickstarter history in terms of the number of people that have pledged support, and that's only after a few days: this project is still being funded for a better part of the month, with all the extra money (currently sitting at over 1.5 million) going back into making the game and documentary more refined and improved.
Personally, I'm rather excited that Double Fine is allowing the production of this game to be filmed. I believe that getting a glimpse inside of the industry could help gamers better understand some of the pressures behind making games while at the same time not having to resort to be condescending or snide about it. The idea that everyone that contributes the minimum $15 to get a copy upon release will be invited into the development process as part of a community is an intriguing one. I believe that quite a few people and companies will be keeping their eye on how this all pans out in order to judge the effectiveness of this kind of campaign. So far, what they've seen can only be construed as positive.
Tomorrow I plan to talk a little bit more indepth about the idea of funding a game this way, and the potential for it to happen in the future on a more regular basis -- that is to say if the potential is even there, of course -- as well as what kinds of games would benefit the most and least from such a process.