Double Fine's Schafer sees 'big future' in crowdfunding

By Steve Watts, May 31, 2013 8:00am PDT

Double Fine's announcement yesterday of a new crowdfunding campaign for the turn-based strategy game Massive Chalice came as something of a surprise. Though it was one of the first to have a successful Kickstarter push, most other developers haven't returned to the well. But Double Fine head Tim Schafer talks about crowdfunding as a viable option going forward in general, for this and future projects.

"I don't think [crowdfunding is] limited, really. I see a big future for it," Schafer told Kotaku. "We definitely have to treat each one like an original story. Each Kickstarter pitch is a story and I think we have a different one this time, with having a fresh-faced project leader like Brad Muir doing it. And he's doing it with a new IP that's not a sequel or an old genre like I was doing [with Double Fine Adventure]."

That doesn't mean publishers are being shut out completely, though, but Schafer says the freedom will help them get better deals on that end too.

"We still work with publishing partners that we like and who are good. The difference now is that we get to choose to only work with the good ones," he said. "We don't have to take a bad deal just to stay in business. We have this other funding option. The deals are going to have to get better in order to lure us back to a situation like that. The things you have to give up are often, like, IP rights and you don't get any royalties until you recoup, say, three times the investment for us to except them. All these nasty things. It'd have to be a pretty sweet upside to compensate for all of those."

He says he wants "every Kickstarter to do better than the last," but recognizes that the first one had a sense of "novelty" that might have bolstered it. The first one set a goal of $400,000 and ended up making more than $3 million. This one, by comparison, has set a goal of $725,000 and has already reached $500,000, with 27 more days to go.

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