Earlier this year, Tim Schafer (of Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango fame among others), launched a funding drive on Kickstarter. His studio, Double Fine Productions, was hoping to raise $400,000 from their loyal fans to create a new game and create an access-all-areas documentary of the game production process. After their 45 day campaign had ended, they had raised more than $3,300,000 — eight times the target amount.
Looking at the facts, it made for very impressive reading: until very recently, it was the most funded project ever on Kickstarter, more than 87,000 people had reached into their wallet and pledged millions of dollars in real cash, and the project had received coverage from BBC World News to the Sydney Morning Herald.
There was something less obvious — and potentially more important — about this success however. What had all these people actually purchased? In the vast majority of cases, they had pre-ordered the game, but virtually no details of the game actually existed — no concept art, no story outlines, not even a title. The only detail that was disclosed was that the game was going to be classic point-and-click adventure. That's it.
A parallel universe exists where Tim Schafer and Double Fine are trying to get this game funded through conventional means. They're drawing up the concept art right now, fleshing out the story line, coding up the game demo and putting together the kick ass presentation to show to potential publishers.
The publishers don't like it. The game's theme is too dark. Who's going to buy a game about a suicidal monkey? They don't like the title. The concept art? The less said the better. Sorry Tim, better luck next time.
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