Broken Age, The Kickstarter Funded Game by Double Fine

Game Informer‘s Tim Turi recently took a trip to Double Fine’s studio in San Fran, getting the chance to play it’s highly successful Kickstarter-funded game, Broken Age and chat with company founder Tim Schafer and producer Greg Rice.

It’s been over a year now since Double Fine took to Kickstarter to raise $400,000 and ended up with $3.3 million in crowd-sourced funds. In return, Double Fine promised its funders it would deliver a classic, 2D adventure game similar to Schafer’s work at LucasArts in the ’90s, such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.

Those who funded were treated to behind-the-scenes progress reports through episodic updates produced by 2 Player Productions and a teaser trailer released late last month. The public seems anxious to see whether or not a game funded completely by fans can withstand development without a legitimate publisher pouring cash into it as needed.

Double Fine’s literally putting its (or rather, your) money where its mouth is. Which makes the reveal of the game in its playable state all the more precious. It’s hard not to envy Tim Turi for getting to play the game. Let’s take a look at his thoughts on it so far.

In Broken Age you play as either “Space Boy” or “Sacrifice Girl.” If these aren’t exactly inspired names, don’t fret, they’re tentative. Double Fine hasn’t settled on the final cut of names just yet. Those names, however, are telling of what kind of story gamers are in for.

Space Boy’s perspective is that of an coddled boy on a spaceship with a friendly AI, while Sacrifice Girl is, well, a girl who is literally about to get sacrificed in her village. You can switch between characters at any time. Let’s see what Sacrifice Girl is up to…

She wakes up hillside, her sister calling her to return to Sugar Bunting, her hometown. When she gets home, she finds a surprise party to greet her. She’s just been selected for the Maiden’s Feast, which is more literally than she’d like to imagine. (But seriously, how could she live in this town that routinely sacrifices people and not at least suspect foul play?)

Anyway, everyone’s acting shady about the whole “feast” thing, but they distract SG with a pretty dress lathered in cake frosting before dropping her into a ball gown-shaped cake. Subtlety isn’t their strong suite. Turns out the so-called Maiden’s Feast is a ritual sacrifice to a monster known as Mog Chothra.

Turi describes SG as a “heroine [who] doesn’t fit the mold of your typical video game damsel.” According to Schafer, the inspiration for this comes from Hayao Miyazaki’s films “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service.”

“They have strong, young, female characters [who are] very resilient and resourceful. It’s not a big deal like in Brave. Even in the trailer for Brave she’s like ‘I want my freedom!’ and she’s fighting against all these things. In Miyazaki movies it’s more understated. She’s not making a big deal out of it. She’s just a strong, independent-minded girl.”

So, SG books it after she’s been giving the “Princess Diaries” of confectionary treatment. Bad move. Turns out Mog Chothra doesn’t take kindly to people who don’t will their bodies to its stomach acids, and “may have doomed her hometown with the monster’s terrible vengeance by breaking tradition.”

The latest developer series video reveals that Double Fine is well on its way overspending the $3.3 million raised through Kickstarter. That raises problems when there isn’t a developer to run to when more money is needed, leaving Double Fine to either make cuts or “[void] everything we’ve said about the project and everything we’re trying to do” by getting a publisher.

“Most of the backers I think would be unanimous in saying they want a great game,” said Schafer. “They’re trusting me to use the judgment of how much to cut that still makes it a great game, and they don’t want us to cut more than that.”

So far, without actually playing the game myself, it looks like Double Fine is creating an innovative and perhaps ambitious game game that isn’t a mere tread of its classic formulas.

I highly suggest reading the full Game Informer preview to read what Tim Turi thought of his playtime with Broken Age, as well as Tim Schafer’s comments on how development is progressing. We’ll keep you guys updated with more information on Broken Age as we get it!

Source: Game Informer