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American McGee defends Double Fine's bid for more funding

Spicy Horse founder urges community to embrace the honesty of Schafer's request

American McGee has defended Double Fine's attempts to raise more money for the production of its Kickstarter-funded adventure game, Broken Age.

In a post on his blog, the Spicy Horse founder addressed his own potential need to seek additional funding for Ozombie, which is currently live on Kickstarter. According to McGee, the events at Double Fine have already started to colour the public perception of a decision that many developers might be forced to take to complete their games.

"Just want to say to all the press, public and others who are gnashing their fangs at Kickstarter, Double Fine and anyone they think look "fishy," you can't have it both ways," he said.

"You can't complain about big publishers and their bad business models - highlighting all the times they've pushed overpriced, buggy, unfinished product onto the shelves in hopes of a quick buck. Then when an indie developer lays bare their business model and struggles, crucify them for taking risks and being honest.

"In both cases the hyperbole is through the roof and completely unproductive."

Double Fine was one of the early success stories of Kickstarter, raising $3.3 million despite initially asking for just $400,000. It sparked a wave of interest in crowd-funding among developers, pushing the Kickstarter category for games to more than $50 million in donations for 2012 - a huge leap over the $3.6 million pledged in 2011.

However, while crowd-funding seemed capable of liberating smaller developers from the restrictive publisher model, a number of important questions remained unanswered - many of them around the quality and timely release of the products, and whether the public would ultimately see their donations as worthwhile.

For better or worse, Double Fine's need for more development funding may have become a focal point for these lingering concerns. However, according to McGee, this is just one of many ways in which the gaming community assumes a greater understanding of how the industry works than it really possesses.

"The games you play cost huge amounts of money to develop and market. Productions are insanely complex, which means there are many places where they can breakdown or fail. Outcomes aren't predictable, so that money to fund these things is nearly impossible to come by. Simply put, this shit is hard," he said.

"Things are going to go sideways and sometimes horribly wrong. Instead of wanting to murder someone when they level with you about these facts, embrace them. The choice is yours - support transparency, honesty and constructive involvement... or don't complain when the industry shrugs and shifts back to a model dominated by monolithic, uncaring publishers."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.