The world of video game design is a mysterious one. What really happens behind the closed doors of a development studio is often unknown, unappreciated, or misunderstood. And the bigger the studio, the more tightly shut its door tends to be. With this project, we're taking that door off its hinges and inviting you into the world of Double Fine Productions, the first major studio to fully finance their next game with a Kickstarter campaign and develop it in the public eye.
Founded in 2000 by industry veteran Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango), the San Francisco-based company has established itself as a unique creative force with critically-acclaimed titles such as Pyschonauts, Brutal Legend, Costume Quest, Stacking, Iron Brigade, Once Upon a Monster, and Double Fine Happy Action Theater. This year, you'll be given a front-row seat as they revisit Tim's design roots and create a brand-new, downloadable "Point-and-Click" graphic adventure game for the modern age.
Big games cost big money. Even something as "simple" as an Xbox Live Arcade title can cost upwards of two or three million dollars. For disc-based games, it can be over ten times that amount. To finance the production, promotion, and distribution of these massive undertakings, companies like Double Fine have to rely on external sources like publishers, investment firms, or loans. And while they fulfill an important role in the process, their involvement also comes with significant strings attached that can pull the game in the wrong directions or even cancel its production altogether. Thankfully, viable alternatives have emerged and gained momentum in recent years.
Crowd-sourced fundraising sites like Kickstarter have been an incredible boon to the independent development community. They democratize the process by allowing consumers to support the games they want to see developed and give the developers the freedom to experiment, take risks, and design without anyone else compromising their vision. It's the kind of creative luxury that most major, established studios simply can't afford. At least, not until now.
Keeping the scale of the project this small accomplishes two things. First and foremost, Double Fine gets to make the game they want to make, promote it in whatever manner they deem appropriate, and release the finished product on their own terms. Secondly, since they’re only accountable to themselves, there’s an unprecedented opportunity to show the public what game development of this caliber looks like from the inside. Not the sanitized commercials-posing-as-interviews that marketing teams only value for their ability to boost sales, but an honest, in-depth insight into a modern art form that will both entertain and educate gamers and non-gamers alike.
Over a six-to-eight month period, a small team under Tim Schafer's supervision will develop Double Fine's next game, a classic point-and-click adventure utilizing modern touch technology. Where it goes from there will unfold in real time for all the backers to see. The new game is currently scheduled for release in October 2012.
2 Player Productions will be documenting the creative process and releasing monthly video updates exclusively to the Kickstarter backers. This documentary series will strive to make the viewer as much a part of the process as possible by showing a game grow from start to finish, with all the passion, humor, and heartbreak that happens along the way. Double Fine is committed to total transparency with this project, ensuring it is one of the most honest depictions of game development ever conceived.
There will be a private online community set up for the backers to discuss the project with the devs and submit their thoughts and feelings about the game's content and direction, sometimes even voting on decisions when the dev team can't decide. Backers will also have access to help test the game once a beta is available. Once the game is finished, backers will receive the completed version in the available format of their choice.
For fans of adventure games, this is a chance to prove that there is still a large demand out there for a unique medium that inspired so many of us.
This whole experience is being offered for the flat backer contribution of $15. We believe that beyond the reward of receiving the finished game, the ability to be a participant in the project makes this a unique opportunity.
For anyone who wants to contribute above and beyond the call, we have a selection of premium rewards ranging from a download of the full documentary series in splendid 1080p HD video with bonus footage, to unique posters, original concept art, and even a mini painting of yourself done by the game's artist!
For those of you who want to be really special, check out www.doublefine.com for details on super premium high level rewards!
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