Fri, Jul 13, 2012 | 15:17 BST
Tim Schafer on Kickstarter, freemium and well-off fans
Tim ‘Adventure Game’ Schafer is never short of an opinion or two and in an interview with MCV Pacific he shared his views on the viability of Kickstarter: “There’s no turning back” – freemium: “You don’t have to be so sleazy” – and wealthy fans: “Just keep tweeting and eventually, someone will come and give you a whole bunch of money.”
Head through the break for more from Schafer and some context to boot.
Tim Schafer has good reason to believe in Kickstarter as a viable funding model for game development – Double Fine’s new adventure game raised over $3.3 million via the funding scheme – so it’s no surprise that the adventure guru believes it can work in place of the traditional publisher model, but only if your project is sufficiently interesting.
“I think there’s been a door opened that will not ever close. There’s no turning back. Not everybody’s project will work out, but a good pitch is a good story. Whether you’re pitching to an investor, a publisher or a Kickstarter, it’s all about coming up with a good story to tell,” said Schafer
“I do see some people put up games on there where it’s as simple as ‘I wanna make a game and here’s my game’. It’s not enough to just be somebody who wants to make a game. Why is your game unique? Why is you unique? Why do you have a special insight?
“‘I’m making a game about ambulance drivers and I drove an ambulance for 20 years’ – well, that’s a weird example, but that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Someone doing something unique.”
Schafer went on to discuss another emerging video game concept, that of free-to-play games.
“We’re interested in free-to-play. There are really ugly ways to do it, but there are games which are just not – you don’t have to be so sleazy,” he suggested.
Although Schafer didn’t reveal any specific plans to move into the free-to-play market, he did highlight one of the virtues of the model,
“No game is perfect when you ship it. You can do all this work and if you just miss this last 5 or 10 per cent, that’s what people will notice and that’s what you’ll hear about on the internet all the time, but if you had some sort of in-app purchase which allowed the team to stay with that game and fix that problem or make that better and tune it, you can make a better game.”
Schafer’s final comment was in relation to alternative ways of working without publishers, outside of Kickstarter schemes,
“We went through Angel investors, just this year we did the PC ports of Stacking and Costume Quest, and we did an extension on Psychonauts. We met them on Twitter. I was just tweeting about wanting to do these and he was like ‘How much would that cost?’ and I thought he was talking about something else, so I just said ‘About $15’. But he ended up funding a lot of our ports.
“So we’d done some of that, and that was great because he wasn’t a publisher, he was just like a well-off fan.
“Keep tweeting! That’s my advice to you. Just keep tweeting and eventually, someone will come and give you a whole bunch of money.”
Schafer and his team at Double Fine are currently working on the Double Fine Adventure for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android platforms with all of that money they raised through Kickstarter. It’s not all work though, as Schafer demonstrated in a recent video in which he showed-off his yo-yo skills.