Yesterday, Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions unveiled a Kickstarter page to fund its upcoming project, dubbed “Double Fine Adventure.” The goal was to raise $400,000 over a month to fund development for its new point-and-click adventure game. Less than 18 hours later, the project has raised well over half a million dollars.
While crowd-sourcing is certainly not new, even to the world of videogames (Kill Screen, for one, was originally funded on Kickstarter), this represents one of the largest and most successful recent examples of involving the game community. According to Double Fine’s official statement:
[crowd-sourcing projects] democratize the process by allowing consumers to support the games they want to see developed and give the developers the freedom to experiment, take risks, and design without anyone else compromising their vision.
Not only are Double Fine turning to the community to fund the project, but also to offer input; a minimum $15 donation will allow access to private forums where ideas and feedback can be discussed.
Double Fine Adventure will be a classic point-and-click adventure, a traditional genre Double Fine didn’t feel a publisher would allow the studio to make. It may be paving the way to an alternate future of game development centered on a community of developers and players rather than publishers and marketers. Double Fine’s willingness to develop with its fans instead of just for them hopefully points to a redefinition of the “gaming community.”
[A game developer colleague points out that the scale and fidelity of the project is an important variable. An iPad adventure game? Sounds good. But a title like Psychonauts ate up a much bigger budget in the previous generation of game consoles. Finally, issues of accountability also change when the studio has to deliver on the money of fans rather than a traditional publisher. Will we be happy with the results? Here’s hoping.—Ed.]