Does Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter Coup Mean a Change for Gaming?
As we are sure you’re aware, Tim Schafer – creative genius behind old LucasArts adventure games Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle, as well as such newer gems under his Double Fine banner Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Stacked, Costume Quest and more – recently began a Kickstarter campaign. His goal? To raise $400,000 for a new adventure game divided into funding the project and funding a documentary from 2 Player Productions. Instead, Schafer made over a million dollars on Day 1 of the campaign. With about 28 days to go left as of this post, he’s got just over $1.5 million to play with. We’re wondering if this indie development means a radical sea change is coming to gaming, one in which the gamers decide what they want.
In a word, no. Well, scratch that. We’re quite aware of the rise of indie game production in the last few years with Steam/Mac/XBLA/PSN/Mobile development being predominant factors in how indie games are breaking into modern gaming. We’d be fools if we didn’t recognize that!
So, why don’t we think Tim Schafer’s success will dramatically re-invent the wheel? Well, because he’s a celebrity developer, been around for decades, and his games are often critically beloved and under-purchased. If we were to break that sentence down further, we’d say that his games have been extensively written about online and in various magazines, and his current games have found love as downloadable gems. Breaking that down even further, the name Tim Schafer already has an installation base.
If you saw him on the street bitching about a lack of funding for development, you would buy him coffee, give him ten bucks and wish him well. You won’t do this for a garage company no one has heard of because they aren’t tested. Would you give money to David Jaffe (creator of Twisted Metal), a notorious rough-around-the-edges developer. Or someone has hilarious and humble as Schafer?
Our point is that we don’t expect a rise of games that the gamers demand based on one celebrity dev getting money from his die-hard fan base. No one has the clout or notoriety these guys do. Not only that, no one else has the same work ethic or vision that Double Fine has. We’re more likely to fund a nostalgic love of ours, then the underdog working in his apartment making the nth 2D platformer for ios that we could play on Newgrounds for free.
We do expect many known devs to try this fundraising approach with smaller games in the future. And we want nothing more than to play startlingly original creations rather than Halo 4 or Black Ops 2. Just don’t imagine this instance will have a greater impact on the world of gaming, past a couple small projects. Bring it on, regardless.