Double Fine founder Tim Schafer expects the studio to “break even” on its investment with Broken Age, a crowdfunded point-and-click adventure game that wrapped up development earlier this year.
Schafer notes that Double Fine invested a large sum of its own capital into Broken Age, supplementing the $3.3 million it earned from an initial round of funding as “Double Fine Adventure” via Kickstarter in 2012.
“My expectation with Broken Age in the end was just to break even,” Schafer said in the final entry of a crowdfunded documentary project following Broken Age‘s development and release (via GamesIndustry.biz). “With Kickstarter, the risk is gone of losing money on it, so you know you’ve broken even if you just make the game to that amount of money. But we made it [for], like, twice as much almost as we got in. Or more. So we will just about make that back.”
By Schafer’s estimation, Double Fine likely contributed $3 million or more of its own money to Broken Age‘s development.
Initially pitched as a modest project with a $400,000 funding goal, Broken Age‘s scope greatly expanded after its Kickstarter campaign earned a total of $3,336,371 from more than 87,000 backers. As a result, the game was released in two parts, with the first chapter launching for backers in January of 2014. The concluding chapter and a fully fledged release for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita premiered in April of this year.
In addition to funding development of the game itself, Broken Age‘s Kickstarter project raised money for a related documentary film from 2 Player Productions, boxed limited editions, and backer-exclusive rewards like posters and t-shirts. Schafer notes that the project was a valuable learning experience that defined Double Fine’s recent negotiations with publishers.
“The biggest change is that we don’t need the publishers anymore 100 percent. It used to be there was no money in the world outside of publishers,” Schafer said. “So now when we’re talking to a publisher, the deals are better. We’re asking for less money, but we’re also not entirely dependent on them to make payroll next week. We’re not like, ‘Please, we’ll sign anything, we just got to make payroll. OK, you get to kick us in the teeth once a month and all this stuff.’ Now we only have to take good deals with people we like.”
Double Fine is currently working on a remake of LucasArts’ classic Maniac Mansion sequel Day of the Tentacle for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.