Tim Schafer's $3.3 Million Kickstarter Adventure Could Level-Up The Entire Video Game Industry

This behind-the-scenes interview with the brutal legend of video game design proves that listening to your customers can pay off in unexpected ways.

Hearing video game designer and Double Fine Productions founder Tim Schafer talk about his creative mission makes it clear that he puts his fans first. So who better to turn to when funding his latest project? Of course not even Schafer could have predicted the result of his recent crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. In just over a month, his pitch for an "old-school adventure game" raised over $3.3 million dollars, a Kickstarter record broken only by Pebble’s $10.2 million e-paper watch.

Schafer is an industry vet. He's got a string of classic graphic adventure titles under his name, mostly produced for LucasArts in the 1990s. Yet publishers didn't think his vision for this yet-to-be-named adventure game would sell. So Schafer turned to the web, with a goal to raise $400,000—the goal was met in the first day. In this video he shares some advice for others who plan on following his Kickstarter path.

Schafer isn't the first creative visionary to have recognized that game designers shouldn’t rely on big publishers alone to back their projects. But it remains to be seen whether or not fan-funded video gaming is a viable alternative. "I think (crowdfunding) is not the thing that’s actually going to kill publishers," says Schafer, "but I think it’s going to make the whole industry healthier."

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  • auhsor

    It helps that Double Fine's kickstarter generated a huge amount of buzz when it first started. It helped inspire a whole bunch of old adventure game developers that there is still a market audience out there. I mean who ever thought that the 2 Guys from Andromeda (Space Quest) would get back together or that Al Lowe would be involved in bringing Leisure Suit Larry back, or even that there would be another Tex Murphy game?

    Unfortunately Double Fine's success has eclipsed all these other adventure game projects. Mainstream media is hesitant to cover kickstarter campaigns now (and kickstarter relies on this exposure). The 2 Guys SpaceVenture kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/pro... and Project Fedora (http://www.kickstarter.com/pro... are struggling to hit mainstream media. It's great that Leisure Suit Larry and Jane Jensen got their games funded through.

    2013 is going to be a great year for adventure gamers and crowdfunding games (well it will be if these projects get funded at least)!

  • Michael Stafford

    I think the most exciting thing about this project is the creative freedom that's given to the developer by not having to answer to a publisher. I imagine so many ideas don't make the cut because they might not be profitable and it will be interesting to see what comes out of Double Fine without those restrictions.