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The Almighty Buck Games

The Dangers of Beating Your Kickstarter Goal 168

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feature-creep dept.
jfruh writes "In March of 2012 legendary game designers Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert ran a Kickstarter to design a new adventure game, asked for $400,000, and came away with more than $3.3 million. Their promised delivery date was October 2012. Now it's July 2013, and the project still needs cash, which they plan to raise by selling an 'early release' version on Steam in January 2014. One possible lesson: radically overshooting your crowdfunding goal can cause you to wildly expand your ambitions, leading to a project that can't be tamed."
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The Dangers of Beating Your Kickstarter Goal

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  • by CmdrEdem (2229572) on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:00PM (#44220469) Homepage

    Like not taking into account the Crowdfunding site share, Paypal transfer tax (depending on where you live and what site you did use), country, state and city taxes. If you are opening a business there are costs for that too. To properly employ someone is very expensive in some countries (guess what: taxes, social security and so on).

    People will eventually learn how to calculate all this, but indies went too eager to the crowndfunding bubble and did not consult their accountants to see how much game development actually costs. Ow yes... accountants also cost money.

    You could say that Tim was victim of his own success, but I say he was victim to his own creativity combined with over-excitement.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:16PM (#44220595)

    Kinda.

    Kickstarter is a lesson to investors and publishers etc. that there is money available for things they didn't think there was a market for. If no one funded star citizen or project eternity or the like then we would go another 10 years without good space combat games and isometric RPG's. As it is we'll probably see a lot, some of which will suck (and some of which will be the kickstarted projects unfortunately), but the 'product' you're buying on kickstarter is really paying to create a genre or a product family or the like. Sure, you might get star citizen or some adventure game that *might* be good. But expectations are high on those. I'll be happy if funding star citizen means one of the big guys picks up on 'space sims can make money again? Hurray!' XWing vs Tie Fighter 2015' or whatever.

  • Re:Ah... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:19PM (#44220613)

    I always enjoyed games that had a good core and then released expansion packs later that actually expanded on the game. It was almost like getting two great games. Total Annihilation was good, Core Contingency made it better. Diablo II was good. Lord of Destruction made it better (although in this case, the expansion was essential to actually finishing the storyline). StarCraft was good, Brood War made it better. It seems expansions that really expanded the game died out around ten years ago. Since then, expansions are more like content packs - they tend to just add more of the same.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:13PM (#44220913)

    While developers like to hate on publishers, and often with good reason, one thing they usually do is have some business and accounting sense to keep projects on track. Developers can have a "just another couple months and it'll be great!" mentality whereas a publisher understands that time is money, a lot of it. Every month you spend on a project has a big cost. Hence it can be important to release earlier, even if it does mean cutting back.

    Shadowbane and Duke Nukem Forever are two great examples of developers just running away with the "we'll just work on it until it is whatever our vision is," sort of thing and failing massively.

    The problem with the Doublefine thing is that it seems to be a creative person at the helm, and that can mean bad business decisions. It's a nice sentiment to say "Let creativity run wild," but in the real world, you have to consider business concerns.

    I'm more optimistic on Wasteland 2 because Brian Fargo is at the helm and he's a business person. He seems to well understand the need for getting things out the door and working on doing what you can with the resources you have, even if it is less than you want to do.

    Todd Howard had some good points on this during his keynote about this kind of thing: "Your ideas are not as important as your execution," and "We can do anything, we just can't do everything." Both are very true. You have to decide what is going to be in and what isn't, because you haven't the time or resources to implement it all, and what you do implement needs to be good because the grandest ideas are blunted in an unplayable game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @09:45PM (#44221403)

    I just don't understand why the scope was expanded at all.

    If I need $X to do W, and then find myself with $X+Y, I spend $X to do W, then keep $Y for a later Z.

    More specifically, he said "I want to make this game, and need $400,000". Once he got $3.3 million, he should have created and released the original game he had planned, and reserved the other $2.9 million for the next game.

    What kind of fucking idiot decides to spend all the money he has simply because he has it?

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by deek (22697) on Monday July 08, 2013 @09:58PM (#44221479) Homepage Journal

    Tim is smart enough to know that he cannot run. The Internet is everywhere. We will track him down, lock him up in a small room, Misery-style, and make him write the game we want. Along with the whole Broken Age team, of course. Can't expect Tim to do the programming and artwork, even if we hack off a foot or two.

    Anyway, point being, Tim isn't going anywhere. I'm perfectly confident the game will be made, and it will be Schafer-awesome.

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