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Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart

An interview on VentureBeat talks with Double Fine's Tim Schafer about the company's phenominally successful Kickstarter campaign. He talks about their surprise at all the cash this has raked in, the prospects of having TV cameras document early development of the game the campaign is funding, and his outlook on how their campaign may or may not impact the traditional game publishing paradigm:

“I think people have asked, ‘Is this a game changer? Is this going to revolutionize game production? Are the publishers doomed?’ And I don’t think it’s that extreme, but I also think when people dismiss it as just a one-off deal that only Double Fine could have done — and it only could be done once — I think that’s not true either,” he said. “I think as long as someone else comes up with a similar story, whether it’s a game or not — just the right project, the right person making it, the right time, and a reason why only something like Kickstarter could fund it — I think you could have another explosive funding project on your hands.”

“I think it’s a great way for a lot of projects, games or not games, to be made whenever the ‘gatekeepers’ — the big companies that decide what gets made and what doesn’t get made — are not serving certain segments of the fan base,” he added. “And enough of those fans can use the Internet to coordinate and kind of pool their resources. They can make it happen for themselves instead of waiting for these gatekeepers to do it.”

Schafer says it’s the relationship between creators and backers that makes the Kickstarter process interesting. “Instead of making a game and risking all your money and hoping the fans show up, here the fans are showing up at the beginning. So the risk is over and they’re paying for the game in advance, essentially. And what that requires is just a lot of trust and faith that we’ve built up doing this for 10 years with Double Fine and 10 years before that with LucasArts. Hopefully, we’ve built up enough trust where they feel like I’m gonna do my best to deliver something worthwhile to them.”

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19. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 23, 2012, 09:52 Beamer
 
Agrajag wrote on Feb 23, 2012, 09:43:
Beamer wrote on Feb 23, 2012, 07:36:
Get Lamp raised $25k.

And, his newest 3-documentary Kickstarter campaign raised over $100k... Is it in the same realm as Double Fine's $2M? Hell no... But, it's not chump change, either...

You're still at $33k per project, though. And, interestingly, he's offered up at least 239 hours worth of phone calls for it. That's 10 full days on the phone.
Backing movies has been my main push, if only to get a nice string of IMDB credits, haha.
 
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18. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 23, 2012, 09:43 Agrajag
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 23, 2012, 07:36:
Get Lamp raised $25k.

And, his newest 3-documentary Kickstarter campaign raised over $100k... Is it in the same realm as Double Fine's $2M? Hell no... But, it's not chump change, either...
 
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17. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 23, 2012, 07:36 Beamer
 
Agrajag wrote on Feb 23, 2012, 06:46:
Prez wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 17:42:
Well, it's not a game-changer, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see this community-sourced model be used again and again with significant success.

It has certainly been successful in the past with things other than games, anyway... Jason Scott used Kickstarter to fund his "Get Lamp" documentary (about text adventure games), and used it again to fund the three new documentaries he's currently working on now... All you need is something with wide enough appeal (or narrow appeal to people with big enough wallets), and an established track record certainly helps...

Get Lamp raised $25k.
This isn't on the same scale. No one is ever denying that $6-$60k is pretty available.
 
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16. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 23, 2012, 06:46 Agrajag
 
Prez wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 17:42:
Well, it's not a game-changer, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see this community-sourced model be used again and again with significant success.

It has certainly been successful in the past with things other than games, anyway... Jason Scott used Kickstarter to fund his "Get Lamp" documentary (about text adventure games), and used it again to fund the three new documentaries he's currently working on now... All you need is something with wide enough appeal (or narrow appeal to people with big enough wallets), and an established track record certainly helps...
 
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15. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 17:42 Prez
 
Cutter wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 12:08:
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Tim. Gamechanger? Doubtfull. More like a one off - or several off. Like everything else it all depends on the end product. After people have done a few of these and been burned a few tims it'll peter out PDQ.

Well, it's not a game-changer, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see this community-sourced model be used again and again with significant success. Even in the event of a complete disaster (one where the dev takes the community's money and delivers nothing, or worse, an un-finished, un-supported turd), I think there is a enough of a longing among the sasoned gamer community for the deep, wildly innovative games of times past that people would participate in the hopes of getting games of the classic style or sequels to classic games that died too soon.

The hope of revival of long- dormant classic franchises makes me willing to risk losing quite a bit of scratch.
 
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14. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 15:51 Dev
 
Wildone wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 10:55:
I wish someone would do this for a next gen space sim/X-wing affair I'd donate my $100!!!!!
I like that idea!
 
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13. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 15:37 Burrito of Peace
 
nin wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 10:57:
Wildone wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 10:55:
I wish someone would do this for a next gen space sim/X-wing affair I'd donate my $100!!!!!

Yeah, I was watching totalbiscuit play SOL, and it didn't look overly impressive. Was hoping it might scratch that itch, but it doesn't look like it.

It won't. It's very, very bland. It reminds of the flood of space "sim" games that came out of eastern Europe 4-5 years back. The graphics are "meh" and the story is about as two dimensional blue sky hero as they come.

Don't waste the money. Go back and reinstall Freelancer.
 
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12. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 15:15 theyarecomingforyou
 
Wildone wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 10:55:
I wish someone would do this for a next gen space sim/X-wing affair I'd donate my $100!!!!!
I'd definitely contribute to that. Same with a proper remake of Transport Tycoon.
 
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11. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 14:29 Dev
 
Yakubs wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 12:26:
This should be really interesting. You could make the argument that it's a study of what happens when you let a decorated set of game developers do whatever they want to do rather than appeasing the suits. Will the game blow away the design-by-focus-group competition?
Thats the way all valve games are done. They have a flat no management structure.
 
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10. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 14:26 nin
 
Crossing my fingers that they can do this for a Brutal Legend 2

I suspect that ship has sailed. Then again, with renewed interest in Psychonauts, anything could happen.

 
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9. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 13:04 Elessar
 
Cutter wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 12:08:
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Tim. Gamechanger? Doubtfull. More like a one off - or several off. Like everything else it all depends on the end product. After people have done a few of these and been burned a few tims it'll peter out PDQ.
He specifically said that calling it a gamechanger was a bit extreme. But also not to discount what happened either. So not sure where you're getting that from.
 
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8. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 12:31 Xombie
 
Crossing my fingers that they can do this for a Brutal Legend 2  
Xombie x0mbie x0mb|e Xombie
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7. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 12:26 Yakubs
 
This should be really interesting. You could make the argument that it's a study of what happens when you let a decorated set of game developers do whatever they want to do rather than appeasing the suits. Will the game blow away the design-by-focus-group competition?

The other interesting question is -- after all these years, do these guys still have that spark of imagination and inspiration? I mean, we're talking about some of my favorite games of all time, here, but it's been such a long time since these guys made them.
 
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6. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 12:08 Cutter
 
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Tim. Gamechanger? Doubtfull. More like a one off - or several off. Like everything else it all depends on the end product. After people have done a few of these and been burned a few tims it'll peter out PDQ.
 
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5. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 11:49 nin
 
Halo wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 11:43:
nin wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 10:31:

I wonder if, with the increased budget, if this will push the "ship" date. I guess I'd be a little surprised if it didn't...October isn't that far off, and they don't get the funds until March (granted, they could easily be laying the groundwork now).

Hopefully it does, I wouldn't mind them taking any extra time needed.

I agree. I'd rather have it as a better game, with more time spent, than to be rushed or short due to time constraints.

 
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4. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 11:43 Halo
 
nin wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 10:31:

I wonder if, with the increased budget, if this will push the "ship" date. I guess I'd be a little surprised if it didn't...October isn't that far off, and they don't get the funds until March (granted, they could easily be laying the groundwork now).

Hopefully it does, I wouldn't mind them taking any extra time needed.
 
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3. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 10:57 nin
 
Wildone wrote on Feb 22, 2012, 10:55:
I wish someone would do this for a next gen space sim/X-wing affair I'd donate my $100!!!!!

Yeah, I was watching totalbiscuit play SOL, and it didn't look overly impressive. Was hoping it might scratch that itch, but it doesn't look like it.
 
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2. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 10:55 Wildone
 
I wish someone would do this for a next gen space sim/X-wing affair I'd donate my $100!!!!!  
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1. Re: Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart Feb 22, 2012, 10:31 nin
 


I wonder if, with the increased budget, if this will push the "ship" date. I guess I'd be a little surprised if it didn't...October isn't that far off, and they don't get the funds until March (granted, they could easily be laying the groundwork now).
 
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