Developer Double Fine studios is working on their next title, “Broken Age,” currently announced for the PC and Mac platforms. This title carries the unique distinction of being entirely crowd funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign where the developer set a goal of 400,000 dollars for the title and raised over three million dollars before the campaign had ended. The head of Double Fine, Tim Schafer is well known in the gaming community as a pioneer in the 2D adventure genre, working on revered titles such as “The Secret of Monkey Island” and “Day of the Tentacle.” The company promised fans they would use the money to develop and deliver another classic 2D adventure game.
By choosing to forgo publisher money, Double Fine has found themselves in new territory, complete with its own benefits and drawbacks. By crowd sourcing the funding for the game, the developer has been able to get feedback and provide exclusive screenshots to the backers of the project through special forums on their website. The entire process is being filmed for a documentary through the cooperation of 2 Player Productions, which also helps the developer provide episodic updates to the backers. The process has not been entirely without setbacks, as delays have caused the developer to approach the 3.3 million dollar budget and the game is not complete yet. Tim Schafer has expressed his desire to avoid using a publisher for the project, so they are now faced with either asking for more money or possibly cutting content to stay within the confines of the budget.
The game begins with the player choosing between either Space Boy or Sacrifice Girl (placeholder names) as they seek to break with the monotony and tradition of their everyday lives in a tale of self discovery. Sacrifice Girl’s adventure begins in a village that plays host to a barbaric ritual whereas Space Boy’s adventure begins on a spaceship with an overbearing AI. The developer has remained mum on whether or not the two character paths will eventually cross during the course of the game, but players should expect the strong writing and humor the developer is known for. Schafer has also stated that the team is debating the inclusion of a hint system to help stumped players for the many puzzles scattered throughout the title as well.
Despite only being announced for the PC and Mac, Schafer has said any additional funds they bring in will go to increasing the production values on the title as well as porting it to other platforms; so a console release isn’t out of the question. The game was originally set to be released this April; however, it has been pushed back to September of this year tentatively. Fans interested in the title can still help back the game by going to brokenagegame.com and pledging either 15 or 30 dollars, each with their own benefits or perks. While the ambitious project has suffered a few setbacks during development, if the game ends up being profitable and successful it will be interesting to see if more developers utilize crowd funding rather than turning to publishers as a viable way to fund their games in the future.