Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let's Get Kickstarted in Hah!

So if you don't already know due to ignorance, a series of consecutive family emergencies, or simple apathy, game development studio Double Fine has broken $2 million in Kickstarter donations as of this week. If you've never heard of them, they are the makers of such games as Costume Quest, Brutal LegendPsychonauts, and others. You've probably never heard of their games either, and that's the problem. The company is headed up by veteran game designer Tim Schafer, and though their games are not without issues, they are consistently stellar. Imaginative worlds filled with incredible characters, all hilariously offbeat in tone, a new Double Fine game is always something to be excited about. But despite their critical acclaim, very few of their games are runaway financial successes. As a result, they sometimes have trouble getting the financial backing to create new games.

I guess not everyone wants to play a game in which you enter the mind of an anachronistic 50's milkman to battle the personifications of his paranoid psychosis. And that is what's wrong with America.
So when Double Fine decided to make an old school point-and-click adventure game, they turned to crowdsourcing via Kickstarter.  Initially, they asked for $400,000 to make the game and film a documentary of the process. They explained on their page that this was a fairly modest sum for even a small game, but that it was doable. Flash forward to about two weeks later, and they've made a couple of million dollars, with 19 days of donation remaining. Double Fine announced that they would now be able to add voice acting, foreign language translations, and multi-platform support to the game. To recap, they are now able to make a full scale adventure game entirely free of studio oversight, and deliver it directly to their fans.

And that is awesome.

The game could be 10 hours of this and NO ONE COULD STOP THEM FROM MAKING IT.
Other industry professionals are taking note, and soon there will be several more projects like this on Kickstarter, because now designers can make the games that they want to make, funded by the gamers who want to play them. In the case of Double Fine's adventure game project, a $15 donation gets you a copy of the completed game and access to the documentary. As a huge fan of point-and-click adventure made by awesome people, this is a small price to pay for me, especially since it's comparable to the going rate for smaller downloadable games.

And with non-physical media becoming increasingly legitimized, the sky is really the limit here. Big budget games often have to play it safe in order to ensure financial success, but this could be an entire market sub-culture built on the interaction between gamers and designers, where ideas from either end can kick off the creation of full scale games.

So if this sounds as exciting to you as it is to me, get a piece of it! Visit Double Fine's Kickstarter page and pledge your 15 bucks. And if you're an old school adventure fan like me, why not play these free King's Quest remakes to tide you over?

What do you guys think of crowdsourcing games? And are there any games you'd like to see made this way? Let me know in the comments!


Anonymous said...

Nice rack.

Also, that is an awesome idea. I think I might put in my 15 pretty soon.

Scott said...

Seriously, where do I sign up for the breasts game?