Double Fine, developer of Psychonauts, recently broke Kickstarter records by closing with a donation pool of $3.33 million. This generated a bit of buzz around the internet about whether or not community-funding like this could threaten the traditional publisher structure in the video game industry today.
According to Double Fine big cheese Tim Schafer though, that won’t be happening anytime soon. “I think it is a great new way to make things happen that couldn’t happen before, and I don’t think it really takes things away from publishers,” he said. “The things you can make with Kickstarter are often things that have a special story.”
“[Projects like Brian Fargo‘s] Wasteland 2 – these are things that publishers have already passed on,” he goes on. “It’s not like you’re going in and taking a bunch of business away from them, yet.”
Schafer also discussed a bit of the game’s development, specifically the challenge in balancing the desire to innovate with the need to please traditionalist fans of the genre.
“It’s an interesting question… with each of those old adventure games, we always did try to innovate on those games,” he said.
“Each game tried to do something different, so this is going to be interesting, because we really feel like we should be doing that again. What would one of those games look like now?”
Schafer is known for putting elements of comedy in his games, something which hasn’t been seen much in recent titles.
“The question of ‘why aren’t there funnier games’ comes up a lot,” said Schafer.
“I think it’s a very imitative industry, and if someone did make a huge hit comedy thing then suddenly you’d see a bunch more (horrible) comedy games.”
Schafer does point out that with any action film or game; even if things go awry the audience/players can still enjoy it, while bad comedy is just unpleasant. This certainly makes comedy in games a more risky prospect for developers.