Tim Schafer — the developer behind Day of the Tentacle and Psychonauts has turned to Kickstarter to fund his studio's next game, breaking the $400,000 goal in less than twelve hours. The new game is set to be a return to Schafer's roots, a point-and-click adventure built initially for Windows. While the game's not expected to be delivered until August, backers of the project are being offered a range of incentives — $15 will net you a finished copy of the game via Steam when it's released along with beta access, and those who pledge higher amounts will receive custom artwork, become a game character, or even a shrink-wrapped copy of Day of the Tentacle.
Money raised beyond the $400,000 goal will be reinvested into the game, with versions for iOS and Mac OS X a top priority. Schafer explains that,
"Even something as "simple" as an Xbox LIVE Arcade title can cost upwards of two or three million dollars. For disc-based games, it can be over ten times that amount. To finance the production, promotion, and distribution of these massive undertakings, companies like Double Fine have to rely on external sources like publishers, investment firms, or loans. And while they fulfill an important role in the process, their involvement also comes with significant strings attached that can pull the game in the wrong directions or even cancel its production altogether."
He sees crowd-funded projects like Kickstarter as a great way for games developers to finance the titles customers actually want to play, without requiring the intervention of publishers and private financiers. The launch of this project comes at an interesting time — recent tweets from both Schafer and Markus Persson (better known as Notch, the developer of MInecraft) have suggested that the two are considering collaborating on Psychonauts 2.
The original game gained a dedicated following, but low sales figures have made it difficult to persuade publishers to back a sequel — in an interview with VG24/7 Schafer said that he'd pitched the game several times, but that "nobody took the bait." Persson has revealed that he and Schaffer plan to meet at GDC to discuss Psychonauts 2. Persson has indicated that he's willing to fund the sequel, having read reports that it looked unlikely to be developed. Two new projects, two very different and noteworthy means of finance. We bet Double Fine's accountants are thrilled.
Here's Tim Schafer on why he's turned to Kickstarter, and what the project entails: