Double Fine founder Tim SchaferWhen he couldn't find a publisher to front the cash for his next game, Double Fine Studios' Tim Schafer (Psychonauts, Brutal Legend) came up with a different approach.
He asked his fans.
Posting an appeal on crowd-sourced microfunding site Kickstarter last night, Schafer asked gamers to contribute as little as $15 to his next work. In return, they'd get a copy of the finished game, plus other incentives. He set a lofty fundraising target of $400,000, enough to finish the job and produce an accompanying behind-the-scenes documentary.
"Either the game will be great, or it will be a spectacular failure, caught on camera for everyone to see," said Schafer in an online video he posted to accompany the fundraiser. "Either way, you win. What could possibly go wrong?"
So far nothing has. In fact, Schafer met his funding goal in under ten hours.
But the influx of cash hasn't stopped. At the time of writing, the as-yet-unnamed game has received $955,824 from more than 13,000 backers. Over 30 individual fans have coughed up more than $1,000. With over a month to go before fundraising efforts conclude, it's a done deal — and Schafer promises the funds in excess of the $400,000 target will be used to add "more platforms for the game, more voice, more music, more awesomeness."
Even without the million-dollar fund many believed in the project prior to the now successful Kickstarter campaign including Minecraft creator Markus Persson who offered to bankroll the project himself only a few days prior.
Double Fine's uniquely funded project, planned for release in October, will be a point-and-click adventure game — a once-popular genre renowned for producing some of the medium's best stories, but one that fell out of favor as gaming habits changed.
It's a style that Schafer knows well: as luck would have it, the award-winning designer was a key player in producing many classic adventure games during the genre's mid-90s heyday, including Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and The Secret of Monkey Island. No doubt fans are hoping he hasn't lost his touch.