A Broken Age backer-only message leaked online from Tim Schafer yesterday where he admits that the project will need more money in order to complete the design he's put together. The solution Double Fine has come to is to release an Early Access portion of the game in January 2014. The Early Access provides a portion of the game to play while also allowing new blood to purchase the full game. Said full game will then release in April/May of 2014.
As you can imagine, this has not gone over well with the community. At the heart of every Kickstarter project is a huge amount of trust and to be honest, I thought Double Fine realized that better than most. To break that trust, to say, "We're not making the game you paid us to make, we're making the game we want to make," is a blemish on both the project and Kickstarter itself.
Still, Double Fine is doing what it can to keep all of its promises to Kickstarter backers, including giving them access to the Early Release before anyone else. Still, it won't be the product they wanted, it'll be a release purely intended to procure more money for the project. Of course, the product they did pay for will be released about four months later, but that's only if they get the money they need to continue to develop it.
Personally I have two issue with what Double Fine is doing, both as a backer and a believer in the Kickstarter system. First, I'm disappointed Double Fine didn't go to its Kickstarter backers first and ask for more money. That's why this new move feels like a betrayal in some ways. There's no doubt in my mind Kickstarter backers would have helped Double Fine to make the product they wanted in order to finish it and release it as intended.
Second, they're releasing an incomplete product. "Part One of Something Great." Broken Age was never intended to be a multi-part experience, it isn't designed to be episodic. Players who pick up the game in January will not be playing the game Double Fine wanted to make or the one Kickstarter backers paid for. Nonetheless, it'll be there. It will cost money. That's heartbreaking to me.
It is what it is, however. Broken Age will be coming in two parts now. Part One will be an Early Release via Steam in January 2014 and Part 2, the finished product that backers paid for will come in April/May of 2014. Broken Age indeed.
Update: Time Schafer just posted a message on Twitter that's rather confusing. He states that Double Fine is not asking for more money and that they are using their own money to fund a bigger game than they Kickstarted. Does this mean they won't be releasing a Steam Early Access beta to acquire more funds?
Double Fine is NOT asking for more money. We are fine, financially. We are using our OWN money to deliver a bigger game than we Kickstarted.— Tim Schafer (@TimOfLegend) July 3, 2013