Double Fine Adventure has reassessed its plans for Kickstarter-funded adventure Broken Age and decided to release one half of the game via Steam Early Access.
The developer's current plan is to release the first half of the game via Steam Early Access in January 2014, with the second half to arrive as a free update in April or May 2014.
This schedule will allow Broken Age to be delivered with only minor cuts to its current design; Double Fine had been looking at a 75% reduction in scope.
In a backer update posted on Kickstarter, Double Fine boss Tim Schafer said Broken Age's design had become too ambitious even for the record-setting amount of crowdfunding the project drew in February 2012.
"Even though we received much more money from our Kickstarter than we, or anybody anticipated, that didn’t stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money," he said.
"So we have been looking for ways to improve our project’s efficiency while reducing scope where we could along the way. All while looking for additional funds from bundle revenue, ports, etc. But when we finished the final in-depth schedule recently it was clear that these opportunistic methods weren’t going to be enough."
Looking at the time Double Fine would need to complete the project as Schafer envisioned it, the developer discovered that the full game would not be ready until sometime in 2015 - but Double Fine simply doesn't have the money to fund such an extended development period. It would have to reduce the scope of the game by 75% if it could not find another source of funding.
"Asking a publisher for the money was out of the question because it would violate the spirit of the Kickstarter, and also, publishers. Going back to Kickstarter for it seemed wrong," Schafer said.
"Clearly, any overages were going to have to be paid by Double Fine, with our own money from the sales of our other games."
Unfortunately, the developer is not making enough from current sales to fund the project - but it did come up with the split release plan outlined above; sales of the Early Access version will fuel development of the second half.
Schafer ended his update by noting that the team has not been working slowly, and blamed himself for the delay and expense.
"It’s just taking a while because I designed too much game, as I pretty much always do," he said.
"But we’re pulling it in, and the good news is that the game’s design is now 100% done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and it’s not going to get any bigger."