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.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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8 Comments on Broken Age Delayed, Split: Double Fine Says $3.3M Isn’t Enough


On July 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I’m disappointed in how quickly people turn on kickstarter. This is all part of the investment process, things change, productions change. Nobody invests in a building, for instance, without expecting the budget to stretch at least once.

Double Fine bit off more than they could chew and apologized immediately, I’m actually pretty proud of them. This is NOT a scam, this is the ugly and frustrating side of artistic patronage. Backers did not buy a product, backers invested in the possibility of one.

As a backer of Armikrog (yes, I know about the “Doug” issue: I know it’s possible they may never finish the game, and that’s ok, because I believe in the chance of it being finished. That’s why I gave my $45 to Kickstarter, not Steam.


On July 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Double Fine: Absolutely totally disorganized, Bad management! False promises! more money than they EVER needed! They lived it up probably bought too many houses cars & too high wages.
They never bothered to realize that they needed to nail down do the job and collect bonus’s later.
Funding isn’t about high wages it about helping you get your business needs to further the project.
Kickstarter needs a shake up!!

No more money morons ! !

STEAM has to STOP this “Steam Early Access” plan all it’s attracting is failing game developments, In turn selling incomplete games that we can’t play five minutes of, its so dumb! and we are the idiots who have fallen for it.

This whole FUNDING thing is Spiraling out of control!! the wrong directions..

Its a real shame that kind things end up becoming a rort !

Ron Whitaker

On July 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

@Mccrackelz: Here’s the problem with your way of thinking. You completely ignore the fact that if a publisher was funding Broken Age, it would in all likelihood be canceled right now, and with good reason. You can’t take a $3+ million budget, make less than half a game, and then expect to turn around and be handed more money. Especially if you went into the project asking for $400K. It’s not like this is the first time we’ve seen Double Fine be over budget and way late. Just look at the history of Brutal Legend.

I have no issue with the scope of the project changing once that immense amount of funding was garnered. What I do have a problem with is that no one at Double Fine appears to be capable of standing up and making a workable budget, especially when the amount of money available has been known for over a year. It’s not because someone wanted to make an amazing game and got carried away. If you’re a professional, you need to be able to work within the limits that your publisher (in this case, that’s us, the backers) sets for you.


On July 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm

wait! Wait!! WAIT!!!

How the hell do you get eight times the amount of money you said you needed and can only produce 25% of the content you planned on making originally?!?!

This seems like the problems of the triple A industry cranked up to eleven. The fact that they were making a game that was projected to be half done a year from now show poor planning over-all.

I understand that making something takes a little piece of yourself; but sometime you have to step back and let your baby go on as best they can with what you’ve given them.

Mr Glassback

On July 4, 2013 at 1:31 am

How can 8 times your original budget still not be enough? How can you one day “run the numbers” and be aghast to find that your project will take another two years?
I don’t care how you look at it, this is pathetic planning. Greed and stupidity are slowly ruining this industry.


On July 4, 2013 at 3:08 am

Glad I didn’t invest in this or their other project. Double Fine don’t seem to have any capability to project manage and work to a budget.


On July 5, 2013 at 8:32 am

for me the kickstarter adventure is over for a long time.


On July 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Like Ron Whitaker pointed out in his comment above, if this really were an “investment” as some backers seem to view it, there would be some measure of control for the investors. You don’t even get the protection of being able to pull your money out when something goes off like this. That is the big issue I have with Kickstarter, you hand the money over and just hope that the project is delivered as promised. Somebody can apologize all they want, but if you go grossly over budget and still need more, there are issues that can’t be fixed through a simple apology. I can see why Double Fine wanted to make something much more substantial since they received much more than they asked for, but I find it incredibly hard to believe that somebody as experienced as that studio could miss the mark this badly unless there was little financial oversight going on with the company. If you ask for $400,000, get $3.3 million, and still can’t finish, that is the type of situation where projects get canceled, or people get fired.

Also on the idea of this being an “investment,” if that were truly accurate, you would actually have a chance to share in in the success in a way that is more reflective of what you put into it. When you “invest” you share in possible losses and possible profits. You might get to share in the losses in a case where a project doesn’t finish, etc. since the money would be gone, but a bit of swag or a copy of the game is not exactly close to a return on investment. If people want to give money to these projects, that is fine since it is their money, and some interesting projects can be made, but between what you get in return (swag, good feelings, etc.) and the control you have (little to none), Kickstarter funding is much closer to a charitable donation than an investment.