If you play videogames (and, if you’re reading this column, that’s a pretty safe bet), it’s likely that you know and love the work of Double Fine Studios. The quirky outfit has produced the likes of Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, and smaller, even wackier games like Costume Quest, Stacking, and the recent Happy Action Theater. Now, they’re going where no established commercial studio has gone before – to Kickstarter – for funding of their next project.
If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a crowd-sourcing funding site – you (or any other average Jane on the internet) can kick some money towards a project you believe in. Usually, there are incentives for putting your dough towards things, like copies of the finished product or personal time with the creators. It’s been a godsend for small projects (like indie films and games), but this is definitely the first I’ve ever heard of a well-known studio going to this particular well.
This is a special project – an old-school style adventure game, and the level of transparency about the project (not to mention community involvement) is unheard of. From the Kickstarter page:
Over a six-to-eight month period, a small team under Tim Schafer‘s supervision will develop Double Fine’s next game, a classic point-and-click adventure. Where it goes from there will unfold in real time for all the backers to see.
2 Player Productions will be documenting the creative process and releasing monthly video updates exclusively to the Kickstarter backers. This documentary series will strive to make the viewer as much a part of the process as possible by showing a game grow from start to finish, with all the passion, humor, and heartbreak that happens along the way. Double Fine is committed to total transparency with this project, ensuring it is one of the most honest depictions of game development ever conceived.
This is basically indie game development, carried out by a studio with serious talent and commitment to vision. It’s so crazy that it just might work, given the Double Fine fanbase and the general goodwill the games press has for the company.
As an unabashed fan, I’m excited to see the studio break new ground as a business and essentially go rogue from the traditional publisher/developer relationships that tend to squash innovation. I’m hoping for the best – and you can bet I’m far from the only one. Vive la revolution!