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Jaffe would consider Kickstarter for new projects
Jaffe would consider Kickstarter for new projects Exclusive
February 10, 2012 | By Kris Graft

Psychonauts house Double Fine's hugely successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign raised eyebrows this week when the studio hit its $400,000 goal in just a few hours. Thanks to fans of the studio's work, the campaign has smashed through that goal, with over $1.4 million pledged and a month to go.

The success of that campaign also got the attention of Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe, who is in his last few weeks at a studio he co-founded, Eat Sleep Play. Soon, he'll be forming a new San Diego studio to work on a small number of new projects.

Asked if he would consider going the crowdfunding route to fund these projects, he told Gamasutra, "I think the real question, whether in the next month, if [Double Fine's campaign] hits $2 million or $8 million, does that signal a new way of funding games? Or is this kind of a one-off thing, because it was led by [Double Fine head] Tim Schafer? Is this actually moving the needle? That, we don't know."

"Now, with what's happened with Tim's Kickstarter, sure, I would consider [crowdfunding]," he said. "There's kind of the fear that this would suddenly become, you know, a dick-measuring contest. Schafer comes out and raises a million, and Jaffe only raises $200,000," he laughed.

"But joking aside, I definitely think it's a really cool thing, so I would consider it. I think I would be really nervous because suddenly now it's not just a publisher's money. Suddenly you have all these peoples' money, and you don't want to let them down."

For now, Jaffe is exploring all of his funding options. He said that he's considered dipping into his personal savings to get his new studio going, as well as going to traditional publishers with his small indie project.

Jaffe said he plans on taking a few weeks off to flesh out three or four game concepts that he's interested in developing. He added that he's still interested in big console games, core gamer-centric browser games, and small indie games. Jaffe is even looking at developing a free-to-play browser game that will implement a secretive business model.

Jaffe's new studio doesn't even exist yet. "It's me and my dog right now," he said. Eat Sleep Play's Twisted Metal comes out for PlayStation 3 next week, and he's on a maintenance contract for the next several weeks to make sure that online play has a smooth launch.

People interested in Jaffe's new studio have talked to him since he announced his plans, but there's no company name, it's not a corporation yet, and it's probably "at best" two months out, and "at worst eight months out from having a company with running lights. It's very new."

Eat Sleep Play had Jaffe working out of his home base in San Diego, and the rest of the team was based in Utah. "I don't think we could have ever done a story-based game that way, but we could do a mechanics-based game pretty easily, remotely."

But even with mechanics-based games, working remotely can be difficult.

"The energy it took to communicate things effectively ... it required more energy than I wanted to spend for that, versus creative work."

"It was a very amicable split."

As for Double Fine and Schafer's Kickstarter success, Jaffe said, "The biggest thing to me about what happened is what a great thing to happen to such a good guy. ... He's a really fucking good guy, and that team walks the walk. They stick to their principles."

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Jonathan Jennings
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Personally I am very excited to see how this kickstarter has spurred interest across the industry , I talked wit ha veteran programmer and he really loved Gaming ( as you have to in this industry) but he seemed so disenchanted by the developer- publisher relationship. to me this seems like a situation whee gamers fund the games and I think the effects of that could be incredible, it wouldn't be the market being determined by the entities that can fund gaming but it would truly turn into situation where the market and more importantly gamers contribute to the development effort .

The only issue I see with that is that with something like that i believe increased pressure to succeed is a given. Now people who believe in you and your studio are investing into your project directly failure or canceling of the game would be a messy situation and releasing a poor game could also severely limit any future kickstarters for a development studio. a team like double fine who I can name titles i've played without effort would thrive in this situation there creativity and development skills are top of the line but I am concerned with what would happen if a team that attempted a kickstarter and produced poor results would experience.

Jan Kubiczek
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my personal take is that more than 80% is nostalgia in these fundings.

k s
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I've enjoyed several recent games from Ron and Tim but didn't get a chance to play much of their past work. I think their support comes form old and new fans not just the old fans.

Michael Joseph
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If trusted developers have another viable path for funding that is a great thing. Some of the Debbie Downers seem to be missing the point. It's not necessarily about whether "everyone/anyone" can achieve the same success. Obviously trust in a studio is important for achieving the type of success Double Fine has achieved.

This is great news no doubt about it.

Olivier Beaudry
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As cool as this is and as much as I want this sort of funding to become a trend. Wouldn't that bring a stagnation to the games the funders will ask for? I have trouble seeing a game pitch talking about the innovation of a project being as successful. The cool thing is that the players can ask for exactly what they want. How do you ask for something creative and new with all this pressure for success when you are backed by the fans themselves?

Also to keep in mind is the fact that Double Fine is making a documentary out of this. This isn't just a funding for a game, this is a first time experiment being documented on film. I'm not entirely sure if such a project would have the same appeal without:

1. First timer. Double fine are the first to do it and that's why the project is interesting.

2. Documentary. The whole process is available for those who jump in the wagon.

3. Other rewards. Pretty self explanatory

In all honesty, I funded it for the project itself more than the game. My curiosity was tickled and I've never gave a chance to the point and click genre unlike those who grew with it. I would really like to see the motivations behind everyone's personal fund. The game, the support for the dev, the support for the idea of a kickstart, the whole thing being documented? I hope we get to know that.