Skip to main content

Double Fine’s Broken Age will break even after sizable studio investment

broken age will break even brokenage header
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 “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.

Editors' Recommendations

Danny Cowan
Danny’s passion for video games was ignited upon his first encounter with Nintendo’s Duck Hunt, and years later, he still…
Double Fine’s generation-spanning Massive Chalice leaves Early Access in June
Massive Chalice

Last month, the second act of Double Fine’s Broken Age was finally released, bringing an end to a saga that began with the launch of that game’s Kickstarter campaign in 2012. With the final game shipped, the company has been able to focus completely on other projects it has had in the works, chiefly the turn-based strategy title Massive Chalice.
The game has been in development for two years at this point, and came to Steam Early Access in October 2014. Now a date has been set for when the game will leave Early Access for a proper release: June 1.
Massive Chalice will also be headed to Microsoft’s Xbox One “around then” as well, according to a forum post by Double Fine community manager Spaff.

Unlike a lot of Early Access games, Massive Chalice launched in a very playable state. Of course there were performance issues and the game crashed from time to time, but it was clear from the basic gameplay that Double Fine has created something special here.
While the game is most easily described as a turn-based strategy game, Massive Chalice has an ambitious scope, telling a story that spans 300 years. Battles provide the meat of the gameplay, but in the space between battles your surviving soldiers marry, have families, and pass on their genetic traits, resulting in a new generation of soldiers with specific advantages and disadvantages. When soldiers fall in combat, not only are they gone, but so are their traits.
The final 1.0 version of the game won’t “just be about making the game shinier,” Spaff writes in the post. New features are inbound as well, including controller support for the Steam version of the game, achievements, and balance adjustments.
To celebrate the launch, Double Fine will be hosting a live “teamstream” on June 1 on the company’s Twitch channel. As with Broken Age, a series filmed by 2 Player Productions documenting the game’s development, titled Massive Knowledge, will be released alongside the game.
The Early Access version of Massive Chalice is currently available on Steam for $30.

Read more
<em>Broken Age Act II</em> arrives April 28 on all platforms
Broken Age 2

In our review of Double Fine's Broken Age, we found it to be an "exceptional story filled with charm and sharp meta-commentary" and praised its "memorable and often-funny supporting cast." Not everything about it was perfect, but we loved the game nonetheless. The only problem was that it wasn't complete.

While the second act was supposed to come out in 2014, its release date slipped, as release dates often do. Earlier this year we reported that the conclusion to Broken Age would arrive this spring. It turns out that Double Fine was right this time. The game's official release date has been announced: April 28.

Read more
Double Fine joins the THQ bidding to win back its own games

Double Fine, the studio behind such fine products as Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and Stacking, are still in the pool of video game developers and publishers bidding on the leftover properties held by THQ. The now defunct publisher is set to auction off the last remnants of its business in April, and while big ticket items like Darksiders and Red Faction will be auctioned off individually, what Double Fine is after is unfortunately included in a package of 34 other intellectual properties.

In particular, Double Fine is trying to win back the console distribution rights to Costume Quest and Stacking. It self-published those titles in 2010 and 2011, but THQ managed their release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Read more