Broken Age Delayed, Split: Double Fine Says $3.3M Isn’t Enough
Double Fine refused Game Front’s request for comments on the Broken Age issue, although the company did clear up another issue: its other recent and successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, for a game called Massive Chalice. With Broken Age struggling to find funds for its completion, it seemed plausible that Massive Chalice’s Kickstarter project might have been at least partially intended to help shore up the shortfall.
Responding to questions in an email, however, Double Fine maintained that there was no funding overlap between the projects.
“I can confirm that none of the Massive Chalice money is going towards this project,” Double Fine Producer Greg Rice said. “That’s totally separate.”
“…the good news is that the game’s design is now 100 percent done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and it’s not going to get any bigger.”
Though Double Fine maintains that development on Broken Age is going well as it rescopes the project to more reasonable parameters, the simple fact of Kickstarter is that there’s no real obligation for the company to fulfill the reward pledge tiers listed in the campaign, or even to complete a project. Kickstarter assumes no legal burden to make sure project creators follow through on what they say they’ll do, so backers concerned about whether Part 2 of Broken Age will ever materialize have no real recourse going forward.
Still, it’s very early to be crying “scam,” as some on the Internet have been apt to do following Schafer’s announcement. As others have pointed out, a simple fact of game development is that planning a project and actually attempting it are two very different things, and finding the sweet spot in balancing budget with ambition is a big part of the process.
And Double Fine isn’t the only game developer to look toward other avenues, even Steam Early Access, to gather additional funds to help an over-budget Kickstarter game. Uber Entertainment looked to Steam Early Access to help drive in more money for its game Planetary Annihilation, and while it received criticism for charging $90 for the title (the extra cost grants users early alpha build access), players have mostly responded positively — and with their wallets.
Whether the Early Access plan works out for Double Fine is a question that can only be answered in time, but it seems most players and fans of the company are willing to wait and give Double Fine the patience and trust for which it is asking.