Connect with world renowned investors

14 - 16 April 2021

Join the event

Broken Age to break even for Double Fine

Tim Schafer says studio spent nearly twice as much on crowdfunded adventure game as it raised on Kickstarter, "will just about make that back"

Double Fine Production's crowdfunded adventure game Broken Age was one of Kickstarter's earliest gaming success stories, but the developer hasn't exactly seen a windfall out of it. The studio this week released the final installment in its video documentary series chronicling the creation of Broken Age, in which founder Tim Schafer assesses the game's performance shortly after it launched in late April.

"My expectation with Broken Age in the end was just to break even," Schafer said. "With Kickstarter, the risk is gone of losing money on it, so you know you've broken even if you just make the game to that amount of money. But we made it [for], like, twice as much almost as we got in. Or more. So we will just about make that back."

That's not to say the crowdfunding experiment hasn't been successful for the company. Schafer said in his ideal situation, he'd be able to crowdfund AAA games, and would use it for all of Double Fine's projects going forward. It also has given the studio added leverage when dealing with other players in the industry.

"The biggest change is that we don't need the publishers anymore 100 percent. It used to be there was no money in the world outside of publishers," Schafer said, adding, "So now when we're talking to a publisher, the deals are better. We're asking for less money, but we're also not entirely dependent on them to make payroll next week. We're not like, 'Please, we'll sign anything, we just got to make payroll. OK, you get to kick us in the teeth once a month and all this stuff.' Now we only have to take good deals with people we like."

The company has also found success beyond Broken Age. Elsewhere in the documentary, Double Fine COO Justin Bailey said sales of Grim Fandango Remastered were "really good," grossing $1.7 million across all platforms in a single week. The company has another adventure re-release in the works as well, with Day of the Tentacle: Remastered set for launch later this year.

Connect with world renowned investors

14 - 16 April 2021

Join the event

More stories

Double Fine publishing boss Greg Rice departs

Vice president of business development leaves just five months after surprise Microsoft acquisition

By James Batchelor

Ooblets will now be self-published on Xbox One and PC

Co-creator Rebecca Cordingley says change will have no material effect on game

By Rebekah Valentine

Latest comments (6)

James Boulton Owner, Retro HQ Ltd5 years ago
Broken Age seriously cost $9m to make!? As much as I love the game, I really can't understand where all the money went. Working in a small company previously we'd do far larger games on multiple platforms for a tiny fraction of that price, and with a lot more content. Nuts.

Looking forward to DoTT: Remastered, though. One of my favorite games of all time.
7Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Berg Games User Researcher 5 years ago
There were substantial delays, which I expect is what pushed up the cost.

It's a quality game, definitely worth playing for folks that are fans of the genre.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia5 years ago
@James, Broken Age's Kickstarter was funded at $3.3 millions, and twice that number is 6.6. I don't see where you get the 9 from...?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (6)
Anthony Chan5 years ago
@Hugo, I am reading "Tim Schafer says studio put nearly twice as much into crowdfunded adventure game as it raised on Kickstarter" meaning if it raised 3M, the studio put in 6M which would put the total amount budgeted for the game at 9M. If that is not the case, the way it is written may be misleading or I am just reading it all wrong.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia5 years ago
@Anthony, oh yeah, that makes sense. I initially thought the "twice as much" bit was meant for the game's total budget, not only in addition to the crowdsourced amount. Thanks. Although that means the total is now actually closer to $10M :)
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Brendan Sinclair North American Editor, GamesIndustry.biz5 years ago
That would be my phrasing causing the confusion, I think. Schafer's quote pretty clearly says the company made it for twice the Kickstarter budget. I tweaked the phrasing a little to hopefully avoid further confusion.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.