Tim Schafer has said that Double Fine Productions will be splitting the release of upcoming crowd-funded adventure game Broken Age into two parts and that money raised from the first chapter will be used to fund development of the second.
With an initial target of $400,000, Broken Age managed to rack up $3.3M on Kickstarter in early 2012, but Schafer sent a note to backers saying the increased scope of the game meant that the studio now required more money to finish the project. "Even though we received much more money from our Kickstarter than we, or anybody, anticipated," said Schafer, "that didn't stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money."
"I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it's hard for me to design one that's much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle. There's just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is."
The team at Double Fine looked into initially releasing just the first half of the game, but the team's predictions showed that this wouldn't be ready until June 2014, with the final build of the game not being finished until sometime in 2015. "My jaw hit the floor," said Schafer.
"This was a huge wake-up call for all of us. If this were true, we weren't going to have to cut the game in half, we were going to have to cut it down by 75%!"
Broken Age's original release date was aiming for October 2012, but after increasing the scope of the game, the release was then pushed back to January 2014.
Schafer continued, saying that the studio would need to find more money to finish developing Broken Age in its current form and without any major cuts. "You guys have been very generous in the tip jar (thanks!) but this is a larger sum of money we were talking about. Asking a publisher for the money was out of the question because it would violate the spirit of the Kickstarter, and also, publishers. Going back to Kickstarter for it seemed wrong."
The team then decided to release the first half of the game--with some "modest cuts," adds Schafer--in January 2014 using Steam's Early Access program, which allows developers to charge for software that is currently in development.
"Backers still get the whole game this way - nobody has to pay again for the second half," asserts Schafer, adding that the game's design is now "100 per cent done… and it's not going to get any bigger."
"With this shipping solution I think we're balancing the size of the game and the realities of funding it pretty well. We are still working out the details and exact dates, but we'd love to hear your thoughts," concluded Schafer.
Double Fine Productions' second Kickstarter project, Massive Chalice, recently ended after raising $1.2m. The turn-based strategy game is being developed simultaneously alongside Broken Age, and the project is being headed up by Iron Brigade lead developer Brad Muir.