Game studio raises $1M in a day from fans

What do you do when publishers scoff at your ideas for a game? Turn to your fans, of course. That’s just what the folks at Double Fine Productions did to finance their point-and-click adventure game project, Double Fine Adventure. They used Kickstarter and asked their fans for $300,000 to make the game and an extra $100,000 to document the project on film. $400,000 in all.

They reached their target after eight hours. Less than a day after putting up the page, they had raised $1,000,000.

Now, Double Fine Productions isn’t just any indie studio. It was founded back in 2000 by Tim Schafer, a LucasArts veteran who designed Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, and Brütal Legend. The studio also employs Ron Gilbert, the man behind LucasArts’ original Monkey Island games. Schafer posted this rather persuasive video to ask for funding a couple of days ago:

The clout of the people behind the project no doubt contributed to the funding drive’s success. Right now, the Kickstarter page lists 35,973 backers who pledged a total of $1,314,069… and there are 32 days to go. I wonder how publishers who turned down the project feel about that.

In any case, the thought of LucasArts veterans working on a point-and-click adventure game with ample funding is a nice one. I’ll be eager to play the game when it comes out.

Comments closed
    • safghtjrtj
    • 8 years ago
    • David
    • 8 years ago

    I put down $30. $15 for the game/pedigree and $15 for the idea of crowd-sourcing game development.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    In for the standard amount.

    All you had to say was “designed Grim Fandango”. People with that kind of creativity are worth funding.

    • clone
    • 8 years ago

    I was looking at the donations page and figured ok maybe I will do it.

    I probably still will but what I’d like is a copy of the game on disc and what I’d really love to get is a copy of the documentary on disc and not on digital download.

    • jensend
    • 8 years ago

    This wouldn’t work for the vast majority of studios because they don’t have the reputation– especially if they, like DBLF, were to give no indication of what the game will be other than “it’s an adventure game.” Thing is, Tim Schafer and co. have done such a consistent job of producing quality stuff that if he were to start crapping in aluminum cans and selling them with spoons, twenty thousand people would say “hm. On the one hand, I’m not very enthused about the whole crap-eating genre; on the other hand, I’ve learned to trust Tim’s creative vision. I guess I’d better buy one just to see how it is.”

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    I’m actively shunning AAA titles from major publishiers more than I ever have before.

    The rise of iOS and Android gaming, stagnant consoles, stagnant genres and a wealth of novel gaming ideas from indie companies is bringing a breath of fresh air to the gaming world. Whether it’s Valve’s Steam, Android Marketplace or the Appstore, I’m far more willing to experiment on a $1 game that gives me 30 minutes of joy, than I am to plonk $40 for another repetetive 10-hour, formulaic trudge through the same old franchise of tired sequel.

    DD is killing publishers, and Publishers are DRM’ing themselves into a corner.
    I wholeheartedly support this project – a way to get my money to the creative talent with as few greedy middlemen ruining the experience as possible.

    I clicked for tenbux. I’d pay tenbux to see a movie so I’ll pay tenbux to help birth an awesome game and/or a cool documentary of its creation.

    • jsfetzik
    • 8 years ago

    There is no way that a large publisher would fund this type of game. The dollar amounts are just not enough for them. They thing in 10’s or 100’s of millions, not a million or two. And with the publisher growth and consolidation of the past decade or so there aren’t small publishers any more.

    The nice thing is that the fairly pervasive internet and things like Kickstarter that it made possible, now make these relatively smaller projects possible to fund.

    When you take this along with the Order of the Stick Kickstarter project topping $600,000, you can see where the future is likely going for many small to medium size creative projects.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      Why though? It’s not like it takes much work on the publisher’s part. Just give the dev team their money, sell the game and pocket a million dollars.

      • njsutorius
      • 8 years ago

      this is false. Every publisher isnt a big fish. Many smaller projects can amount to profit as well. I think its exactly what they said it was in the article.

    • bcronce
    • 8 years ago

    Next paycheck, I’m getting the $15 one, then I’ll buy a copy for a friend when it comes out on Steam.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I remember the good old days of Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Quest for Glory, etc., as well as many other cool non-Sierra adventure games. Such fond memories. Unfortunately today’s generation of gamers are probably more adept at using their trigger fingers than using their heads to actually finish the game. In terms of being rewarding, I’m not sure today’s games hold up to the old ones. Something could be said about the previous generation when people actually used their heads instead of mindlessly just bashing opponents.

    I think it would be really cool to bring back those characters and adventures because all I see now are FPS or RPG titles and if you stand back and take a long, hard look, it’s like they’re all made of the same old concept that started its roots with Doom back in the early 90’s. Time to do something new; time to bring back the old.

    I applaud this guy. Good luck with the project. I think I’ll be watching this closely.

      • pikaporeon
      • 8 years ago

      I was raised on Quest for Glory.

      Also worth mentioning is Double Fine made Psychonauts, which while not point and click is amazing

        • khands
        • 8 years ago

        Schafer was behind Day of the Tenticle and Grim Fandango, their Adventure game chops are definitely up to snuff.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 8 years ago

    He looks gay.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      I agree, he does indeed look happy.

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      Ok, this comment is so wrong. However, it caught me completely off guard and I lol’d.

    • timaeus
    • 8 years ago

    I’m eager to see how much they end up bringing in, and who else their success prompts to try this model. Seems like a great idea to me. Of course, Double Fine does have a huge advantage based on reputation. I love all those old LucasArts games, so I jumped on the project soon as I heard about it.

      • khands
      • 8 years ago

      Rumor is Obsidian wants to make an isomorphic RPG ala Planescape: Torment.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]I wonder how publishers who turned down the project feel about that.[/quote<] I'm sure they're blaming piracy as we speak.

      • flip-mode
      • 8 years ago

      Hey! You stole the words out of my mouth!

        • Alexko
        • 8 years ago

        Give them back, you filthy pirate!

      • Kollaps
      • 8 years ago

      I’m sure they know a true point-and-click adventure is at best going to be a moderate sales success, even in indie game terms. They’re not going to shatter some barrier like Minecraft. Double Fine will make a great game but publishers are not artists, they’re not creators, they’re business people who make decisions based on money. How exactly were they wrong?

      A significant portion of these donations are coming from a place, at least in my opinion, from aligned with feeling good about gaming. Not so much because everyone wants a new point-and-click game.

        • misuspita
        • 8 years ago

        Well, we’ll see the answer when it flops or not

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        The true test is if we’ve entered a new realm where the old publishing model is cracking. Even if it cracks just alittle, that is probably good news for fans of gaming, especially indy gaming.

        I’ve been leaning a lot more towards indy titles over the past few years. They are quite a bit more creative and it seems a much better bang for your buck.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 8 years ago

          It’s cracked more than a little. Look at Steam, the Humble Bundles, and all of the “app stores” that have cropped up.

          [url<]http://news.softpedia.com/news/99-Cent-Games-Are-Killing-the-Industry-Epic-Games-Says-196425.shtml[/url<]

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        The funny thing is that the “mainstream” doesn’t really know about point and click adventures…yet they are basically playing an analogue of them everyday. You know those crappy facebook games where you basically just click stuff 1,000,000,000 times ? How far of a jump would it be to market the genre in a way that identifies with those people and also satisfies the old fans ?

        Think of Space Quest, it had a bunch of little mini games peppered throughout the series. Expand on that idea with having a large number of minigames throughout the entire storyline, and add in a mode that allows players to go back and play those games over and over, with new things unlocked in each one, achievements, all the usual hooks for repetitive facebook games. Designing the minigames would take somewhat minimal time, and it would allow for a much larger source of revenue. The storyline itself could allow for players to have minimal time spent on the games, for those who want the story and not silly FB stuff. Throw in one or two special side puzzles that unlock after getting a highscore or something, and you’ve then placed a hook for the older games to play the games, and also a chance for those repetitive players to think “heh…maybe I’ll check that puzzle/story out”.

        Just an idea though.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        The company needed 300k to make the game, and we have evidence it would have sold at least one million dollars worth. Even with a marketing budget, and say some costs overruns that doubled the price, I fail to see how this wouldn’t make money.

        • Peldor
        • 8 years ago

        Indeed there are a lot of pledges that are about more than just getting the game. There are 4,000 people pledging $100 and up. That alone would have made their funding goal.

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