The simplified story is Double Fine’s first Kickstarter campaign for the game that is now known as Broken Age was crowd funded for eight (8) times the original budget of $400,000 to $3.3 million and in spite that, will require more money to finish the full game due to the scale and scope of the game according to Tim Schafer in a letter to the game’s backers which was published on Gamastura. The proposition to solve the problem of having to finish the game in 2015 was to split the game in two parts where the first part will be release on January 2014 (ahead of the original schedule of July 2014) where non-backers can jump in on through Steam Early Access for a fee. The said fees paid up for early access to part 1 of the game will be used to polish and complete part 2 of Broken Age. This option was decided upon after ruling out going to publishers for money or running another fund Kickstarter campaign. Backers of Broken Age will not necessarily be affected as they will still receive the full game (Part 1 and Part 2) without having to fork over extra money.
In my opinion, this sets a bad precedent and possibly puts Kickstarter campaigns in a bad light. While I wouldn’t doubt that Tim Schafer and the people at Double Fine are hard at work I can’t help but question how could they have stretched development on the game with a budget eight (8) times the original requirement into something that would require much more. I can understandably be excited with the fact that the game’s development stretched out into something that could potentially be an epic game but is a letter explaining general road blocks and issues enough to justify telling people all their contributions are great but still not enough to develop the game envisioned in spite of hitting eight (8) times to original target funding proper? As a non-backer, I think this is as far as I would go on the issue but I certainly would love my backed game Massive Chalice to go from development into completion without going through something like this.
While crowd funding is a great way for indies to get a product produced, it may lack the traditional structure of businesses where the business model and time frame between a product’s development and launch needs to be strategically sound for investors to bet their money on a company. Crowd funding isn’t exactly an investments kind of setup, you’re basically funding a product out of your own pocket with no desire of earning from the venture unless otherwise stated in the funding tier you placed. Then again, even public corporations don’t fair that well under more rigid business practices. The biggest questions right now with Broken Age are: “What happens when the revenues from part 1 are still not enough?” and “exactly how successful is this game going to be with this new development?”