Double Fine's Kickstarter-backed Broken Age will require more money for development to be completed to the level the developer desires, Tim Schafer has revealed to backers.
The solution is to release the game in two parts, beginning in January, using Steam Early Access. Sales of part one will help fund development of part two.
"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," Schafer told backers.
"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. 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.
"So we have been looking for ways to improve our project's efficiency while reducing scope where we could along the way. All while looking for additional funds from bundle revenue, ports, etc. But when we finished the final in-depth schedule recently it was clear that these opportunistic methods weren't going to be enough.
"We looked into what it would take to finish just first half of our game - Act 1. And the numbers showed it coming in July of next year. Not this July, but July 2014. For just the first half. The full game was looking like 2015! My jaw hit the floor. "
Schafer says that asking a publisher for money was out of the question, and going back to Kickstarter seemed wrong, so money would have to be raised through the sales of Double Fine's games.
"What if we made some modest cuts in order to finish the first half of the game by January instead of July, and then released that finished, polished half of the game on Steam Early Access?" asks Schafer. "Backers would still have the option of not looking at it, of course, but those who were sick of waiting wouldn't have to wait any more. They could play the first half of the game in January!
"We were always planning to release the beta on Steam, but in addition to that we now have Steam Early Access, which is a new opportunity that actually lets you charge money for pre-release content. That means we could actually sell this early access version of the game to the public at large, and use that money to fund the remaining game development. The second part of the game would come in a free update a few months down the road, closer to April-May."
The good news is that Schafer doesn't believe the scope of the title will increase beyond what is currently planned.
"The game's design is now 100% done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and it's not going to get any bigger," he said.
Double Fine's second Kickstarter, a turn-based strategy game called Massive Chalice, was backed to the tune of $1.23 million, almost double its target. The game is scheduled for release in September 2014.
Double Fine's difficulties do raise concerns over Kickstarter funded projects, especially given Broken Age raised almost ten times its original target. What if the Early Access sales aren't high enough to complete development of part 2?