San Francisco game development studio Double Fine just finished a month-long round of fundraising with Kickstarter at over $3 million. The company’s original goal was to bring in $400,000 to develop an old school adventure title, but ended up surpassing the amount in a record breaking time of eight hours. Less than sixteen hours later the company broke another record by surpassing the $1 million mark, all of which came in under 24 hours. By the end of its run on the crowd funding service Double Fine had made $3.45 million donated from over 87,000 fans in just over a month.
The studio’s head designer, Tim Schafer, is somewhat of a legend among game developers for all the unique titles he’s created over the years. Schafer worked for Lucas Arts back in 1990 and began co-writing in addition to programming, working on point-and-click PC adventure titles like the Monkey Island series. After working for nearly 10 years at Lucas Arts, Schafer left the company to create his own studio, Double Fine productions.
Since its creation Double Fine has cemented itself as a niche developer with cult hits like the PlayStation 2-era title Psychonauts and BrÃ¼tal Legend, a heavy metal tribute starring Jack Black that was company’s first foray into next-gen gaming. Recently the company has been more focused on downloadable titles, with Stacking and their adorably atmospheric Halloween RPG, Costume Quest, released on XBOX Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.
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The new project behind Double Fine’s Kickstarter fundraiser is currently being called Double Fine Adventure. Schafer hopes to make the game a tribute to the kind of classic point and click adventure games he was making in the early 90s. In the video above, Schafer discusses the benefit of using Kickstarter to fund the development of this particular title. Because the game they want to make is in such a niche/old school genre, it would be incredibly difficult to get a publisher to financially back the development of the title. By using Kickstarter, Double Fine can work around that system to create a game that fans are really excited about, even if publishers may not share that enthusiasm.
Double Fine’s success with Kickstarter sets a new precedent for studios who have fans hungry and willing enough to donate in order to support these kind of unique titles. As the fundraiser ended, Schafer joked to gaming website Joystiq, “I don’t want to say this is the end of the whole game industry as we know it… it’s not, it’s not!” He might be right, but at least it’s a great new alternative.