Double Fine Adventure seeks public funding

February 9, 2012 // 3:48 p.m.

Tags: #adventure-game #double-fine #double-fine-adventure #lucasarts #point-and-click #ron-gilbert #scumm #tim-schafer

Double Fine's Tim Schafer has found a way to hit the headlines twice in as many days: as well as rumours of a Psychonauts sequel, the developer is attempting to bring back the lost art of the adventure game.

Teaming up with adventure game legend Ron Gilbert, Schafer has turned to crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise funds for his latest project. It's quite some project: bringing back the humble adventure game, a genre long since considered dead.

The pair certainly have experience in this area. While working at LucasArts, Schafer and Gilbert were responsible for one of the most fondly remembered adventure games in history: The Secret of Monkey Island.

Schafer is also responsible for classics Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandago and Full Throttle, while Gilbert worked on the SCUMM scripting language that would underpin the majority of LucasArt's adventure titles and created the fondly-remembered Maniac Mansion.

Hired by Schafer to work alongside him once again at Double Fine in 2010, Gilbert and Schafer share a common passion for the point-and-click. It's a passion that has led them to seek funding for a new entry in the genre, after years of neglect by mainstream games studios.

Dubbed the Double Fine Adventure, and created in partnership with 2 Player Productions, the project is looking to the community to gather funding to produce its game. Over a six to eight month period, a small team led by Schafer will develop a classic point-and-click adventure while 2 Player Productions documents the whole process with monthly video updates.

Those pledging money to the project will gain access to the behind-the-scenes videos, along with a private community where the game developers will be available to discuss their progress. It's even claimed that backers will be able to vote on decisions where the team is at a deadlock.

As with other Kickstarter projects, there are tiered rewards depending on how much you're willing to pay. A $15 pledge gets you the game, the beta, and the video updates and community site access. $30 allows you to download the video documentary series in HD with bonus features and a copy of the game's soundtrack.

Higher tiers prove interesting: $250 gets a poster for the game signed by the whole team including Schafer and Gilbert, while $1,000 gets your portrait painted by the game's artist.

For the really big spenders, there are some premium tiers: a $10,000 pledge gets a lunch date with Schafer and Gilbert along with a tour of the Double Fine offices, but that's already been taken by a fan with money to burn. Other premium pledges, not listed on the Kickstarter site, include $15,000 for dinner with the development team, $20,000 for dinner and bowling, $30,000 to get a picture of Ron Gilbert smiling, $35,000 for it to be a genuine smile, and $50,000 to immortalise yourself as a character within the game.

For the the true adventure game fan with money to spare, however, there's a top-end tier: a pledge of $150,000 will see Schafer hand over one of the last four remaining triangle-boxed copies of Day of the Tentacles in the original shrink wrap. In Schafer's own words: 'Holy crap, what am I thinking? I only have four of those!'

Schafer seems confident that the somewhat unorthodox funding push will be a success. 'I would rather work directly for the fans than for anyone else. If the Double Fine Kickstarter Adventure is a success, it could open the doors for all sorts of new funding possibilities, and all kinds of new games that could never happen in the old system. So basically I’m just talking about changing the entire world forever for the better. And getting a game out of it.'

So far, the Kickstarter project has blown past its initial goal of $400,000 with nearly $430,000 pledged so far from almost 10,000 backers, meaning it will definitely go ahead. Whether it will be a commercial success, however, remains to be seen. Thanks to its funding model, though, it's already costing Double Fine nothing to produce.

Think Schafer and Gilbert can come up with the goods, or have 10,000 people just been bilked out of their money? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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