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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Double Fine smashes fundraising goal to develop point-and-click adventure game

How much would you be willing to donate to a video game developer you love if they would use that money wisely? $5? $10? $1,000?

It's safe to say there's a lot of love for Double Fine Productions. The San Francisco-based company, who's developed critically-acclaimed games like Pyschonauts, Stacking and more recently Double Fine Happy Action Theater, is opening up its doors to the public as they create a new point-and-click adventure game they hope to finish this year. And the best part? It's all funded by the public.

Yesterday, they released details of the project on Kickstarter, an online pledge system for funding creative projects ranging from indie films to music. Tim Schafer, the founder of Double Fine, decided it was time for gamers to see what it's like to develop a game, with their help, of course. If $400,000 was raised by March 13, the project was a go.

It didn't take long. In a little more than eight hours the $400K mark was hit, and it's still going strong. As I'm writing this, more than $820,000 has been raised to develop this game, from more than 20,000 backers. Every time I hit the refresh button, it keeps going up. And there's still 33 days to go.

"Crowd-sourced fundraising sites like Kickstarter have been an incredible boon to the independent development community. They democratize the process by allowing consumers to support the games they want to see developed and give the developers the freedom to experiment, take risks, and design without anyone else compromising their vision. It's the kind of creative luxury that most major, established studios simply can't afford. At least, not until now," Double Fine posted on their webpage.

Those who pledge $15 or more will receive the finished game, exclusive access to the PC beta on Steam, access to the video series documenting the creative process, and access to a private discussion community. $30 or more gives you all that plus an HD download of the documentary series with extras and a digital game soundtrack.

All the extra money (and there will be a ton of it) will go toward improving the game. "All money raised will go to make the game and documentary better. Additional money means it can appear on more platforms, be translated into more languages, have more music and voice, and an original soundtrack for the documentary, and more!" according to an update posted on the webpage.

Time will tell if this is a game changer in the video game world. I wouldn't be surprised if more developers like Double Fine test the Kickstarter waters to help give gamers what they want. I certainly hope we see more of this.

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