Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera developer inXile Entertainment has explained its decision to go ahead with a second Kickstarter while its first crowdfunded project is still in development, painting a compelling picture of rolling development which eliminates the industry’s reliance on cyclical lay-offs.
“One of the keys to success for a small game company is being able to create continuity within the development team. It takes a long time to get a team put together, and it takes an even longer time for a team to settle in to new working relationships, a new engine, new systems, and a new asset creation pipeline,” InXile explained in an update to the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter.
“A team’s knowledge and experience grows a lot during a development cycle, and all of that knowledge gained is lost if we let the team break up when a project ships.”
Teams do normally break up, and generally, a significant number of staff are let go when a major project ships. To avoid this, inXile’s staff and contractors form a “team and a half”. The half in this equation works on pre-production, “the most important time in a project’s life cycle,” while the full team is working on he previous game. This grants the developer enough pre-production time to ensure smooth development.
InXile spent six months with a half team on Wasteland 2, and is now completely finished, handing over to the core development team of about 15 people. Rather than disperse, inXile wants the pre-production team to move onto Torment immediately and spend about eight months on it.
That way, when the Wasteland 2 team is finished, they can move onto Torment immediately, with all the benefits of a lengthy pre-production cycle waiting for them,
“In a traditional publisher model, now is the time in the project life cycle where we would start to try and sign the next big contract. The best tool we have to get that done is to go back to our new publisher, you, and explain that now is the best time to start the next project,” InXile said.
“The alternative, starting pre-production on Torment after Wasteland 2 is done, increases the cost of Torment production greatly and requires us to reduce our headcount during the process.”
InXile said no Wasteland money will be spent developing Torment, and no Torment money will be spent on Wasteland 2, although the two projects will share development tools and tech where appropriate.
Perhaps inXile’s pre-emptive strike against misinformation bore fruit, or perhaps its simply that its building a successor to one of the most lauded RPGs of all time, but Torment: Tides of Numenera hits its Kickstarter goal of $900,000 in six hours, shattering previous crowdfunding records, and shows no signs of slowing yet.