Schafer: Reaction Against Molyneux is "Out of Proportion"

Kickstarter trendsetter describes Godus backlash as "unfortunate and unfair and I don't think it's healthy."


Tim Schafer, the founder of Double Fine Productions and the first games executive to shed light on the power of crowdfunding, has issued a statement in support of Peter Molyneux.

Molyneux is the latest addition to a long list of developers who have made promises on Kickstarter that have not materialized. Last Tuesday he explained to GameSpot he is unsure whether some features of his Kickstarter game Godus would ever roll out to backers, and a day later it emerged that the player he initially promised a "life changing" prize to has received nothing.

Whether these failed promises are down to naturally occurring development problems, or a declining interest from Molyneux’s development team at 22Cans, is a matter for debate. Some fans have nevertheless contacted the veteran games developer directly to complain, which he says have turned into personal attacks.

"People have threatened me, they've threatened my family, and it cannot go on," Molyneux said in an interview with The Guardian. Later that day, it emerged that the PC games publication Rock Paper Shotgun had also interviewed Molyneux, opening with the question “do you think that you’re a pathological liar?"

The treatment of Molyneux in that interview in particular was criticized by professionals in the industry, though some readers felt that--considering the Godus was funded on promises that were not kept--the interview approach was tough but fair.

Schafer, in a general response to the whole nightmare week for Molyneux, issued a statement on his most recent video blog (above).

“I'd like to send our support to our friend and fellow developer Peter Molyneux," Schafer began.

“In the last few weeks we've seen some extremely rough treatment of Peter on the Internet and from the games press, and I think it's really unfortunate and unfair and I don't think it's healthy.

“Obviously, things did not go as expected with his game, and because of that people are making some nasty accusations about Peter, and I can really relate to that. I'm not saying that developers like Peter and I shouldn't be held accountable for deadlines, I'm just saying the reaction to recent events, and the tone of their reaction, is really way out of proportion to the seriousness of the events themselves.

“The problems that Peter is having [with his game] are not unique to him, in fact they happen on many, if not most projects."

For Schafer and his team at Double Fine, the journey on Kickstarter has been far more positive so far. The studio set the trend for Kickstarter when in 2012 his team sought $400,000 on the crowdfunding website and managed to make $3.3 million, singlehandedly paving the way for thousands of other game projects to follow suit.

The outcome of that investment was Broken Age, a classic adventure game of which the first chapter released in January last year, and its final second part is at the closing stages of production.

However, Double Fine’s crowdfunding operations haven’t been completely free from controversy. Last year, the studio decommissioned its space station sim Spacebase DF-9 just one year into its planned half decade of ongoing development.

The game was funded through Steam Early Access purchases, but this was not enough investment to justify further development for more than a year, Double Fine said at the time.

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