American McGee defends Double Fine Kickstarter

American McGee defends Double Fine Kickstarter
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

July 4th 2013 at 12:35PM

'Developers aren't your enemies. They're just people, like you, trying to make a living doing what they love'

Spicy Horse founder American McGee has defended Double Fine’s over-budget Broken Age Kickstarter, saying games are expensive and difficult to make.

In a blog post, the developer said that people angered by Double Fine’s openness on some of its development struggles can’t have it both ways and also complain about big publishers and the business models they use.

He described the hyperbole surrounding both cases as through the roof and completely unproductive, and hit out at lynch mobs picking apart anything seemingly negative in the game industry.

McGee noted that developers were not the enemy, and explained outcomes in game development aren’t always predictable, and things will sometimes go wrong or hit unforeseen difficulties.

"Developers aren’t your enemies. They’re just people, like you, trying to make a living doing what they love,” he said.

“Publishers aren’t the spawn of Satan. They’re just corporations trying to compete with other corporations for your wallet, soul and first-born. Accept these things and the world around you. Not everything should be answered with criticism, negativity and buckshot to the face.

“The games you play cost HUGE amounts of money to develop and market. Productions are insanely complex, which means there are many places where they can breakdown or fail. Outcomes aren’t predictable, so that money to fund these things is nearly impossible to come by. Simply put, this shit is hard.

“Things are going to go sideways and sometimes horribly wrong. Instead of wanting to murder someone when they level with you about these facts, embrace them. The choice is yours – support transparency, honesty and constructive involvement… or don’t complain when the industry shrugs and shifts back to a model dominated by monolithic, uncaring publishers.”

McGee's comments also come after he revealed to Strategy Informer that Spicy Horse’s Kickstarter campaign for action-adventure game OZombie, which has a funding goal of $950,000, would only be enough to start the game and release the first few chapters. He said that to completely finish the title, the developer would need to invest some of its own money and secure outside funding.

Last year Double Fine sparked the Kickstarter craze by raising $3.3m on the site, well in excess of its $400,000 funding goal, and showed developers that crowdfunding was a viable source of money.

Yesterday Double Fine founder Tim Schafer announced the studio would be splitting its crowdfunded adventure game Broken Age in two to create a big adventure game more akin to the likes of Grim Fandango and Full Throttle, and would need more money to fund the entire title.

As Schafer later said on Twitter, the budget situation of the Kickstarter title has been known by backers for months, kept updated by the ongoing documentary surrounding the title. He also said that the extra funds would come from Double Fine’s own pockets, with sales from other self-published titles and a Steam Early Access release of the title to help pay for development.