Double Fine's experiment with a fan-funded adventure game has been an unqualified success, currently sitting at almost $1.7 million raised. With four times the original funding amount set already and almost a month still to go, Tim Schafer has talked about how to balance the fan expectations with its own responsibility as the developer.
"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."
He compares it to fans requesting a shotgun buff in a shooter, and how it then becomes the studio's responsibility to weigh that request and understand the reasons behind it. Backers have been promised a PC beta, so Double Fine is sure to get plenty of feedback from those who have put their money towards making the project.
Schafer says he expected maybe $2000 by the first night. "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," Schafer told Hookshot Inc. He says he knew an adventure game is a hard sell for publishers, but he wanted to "give those fans a shot at putting their money where their mouth is."
He says that reluctance to publish niche games like adventure titles is part of the business. "I'm not trying to vilify them," he said. "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."
So far the game is only announced for PC, though Double Fine has mentioned more platforms as a result of the high funding.