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Double Fine’s Broken Age, Over Budget and Delayed, Split in Two
© Image: Double Fine

Double Fine’s Broken Age, Over Budget and Delayed, Split in Two

Last year, independent game studio Double Fine crowdfunded a fun, little adventure game.

Today, that game is no longer little, and that’s proving problematic.

The Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter raised $3.3 million, vastly exceeding its $400,000 goal and opening up a bevy of new possibilities for the game. Lead game designer Tim Schafer was thrilled — too thrilled, perhaps.

“Even though we received much more money from our Kickstarter than we, or anybody anticipated, that didn’t stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money,” wrote Schafer in a message to Kickstarter backers Tuesday.

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“I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it’s hard for me to design one that’s much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle,” Schafer continued. “There’s just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is.”

Schafer and his team originally pegged Double Fine Adventure as an October 2012 release. Recently, when they reevaluated the timeline, considering the game’s revised scope, it looked like it might not arrive until late 2014, or even 2015. The game was vastly over budget, too, despite its initial $3 million surplus. The studio plans to use excess cash from sales of its other games to help bridge the funding gap, but apparently that won't be sufficient.

To combat both problems — temporal and financial — Schafer decided to split the game in two.

Broken Age, as the game is now called, will arrive in two parts. Double Fine plans to release the first half in January 2014 through Steam Early Access, a feature of the Steam game distribution platform that allows developers to sell unfinished content. Using money generated from those early sales, Double Fine will finish the game and release the second half as a free update “a few months down the road.”

The delay is a disappointing (if not hugely surprising) turn of events for one of Kickstarter’s major success stories. Naturally, some backers have expressed exasperation with Double Fine, but others are standing by Schafer’s studio.

“I’m not terribly disappointed,” said Nolan Filter, a backer of the Kickstarter campaign and game designer at Ogmento. “It is a little bit weird that [Double Fine] raised so much money and then needed even more money, but as long as I get to play the game eventually, then I’m fine with it.”

Double Fine just wrapped up a separate Kickstarter campaign for a tactical strategy game called Massive Chalice. The crowdfunding campaign closed last Thursday after raising $1.23 million from more then 31,000 backers, surpassing its $725,000 goal. Massive Chalice is expected to launch September 2014 — fingers crossed.

Check out a teaser trailer for Broken Age below.

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