Apparently, if you develop both Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, you will generate a sort of rabid affection from fans worldwide. Over the last 48 hours, Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine have generated some 1.4+ million dollars, all in the name of point-and-click adventure. Now if only I can get you folks at MMORPG.com to go along with my 'idea' of buying a yacht, a dozen hookers, and a mountain of cocaine then I too can rest happy.
Putting up a Kickstarter pledge campaign, and a video detailing their plans to create a self-funded, classic-style adventure game (reminiscent of past Lucas Arts projects) Double Fine has seen a massive outpouring from fans, media-sites, and other developer's such as MineCraft's Notch. Initially with a goal of $400,000 the team have almost tripled their modest expectations, and there is still a month of pledging yet to go.
"Adventure games are almost a bit of a lost art-form; they exist in our dreams and memories...and Germany" - OK, so it helps if you are one of the most persistently funny, and enjoyable gaming personalities around to pull off this kind of funding coup, but Schafer, Gilbert, and the rest of the point-and-click veterans have highlighted an amazing path for future PC games to follow, dutifully picking at the bread crumbs sprinkled behind.
In a move that proves once and for all that the Internet isn't just for angry porn addicts, this act of gaming altruism is amazing, a spectacle of community and togetherness. For years PC gamers have openly bemoaned the lack of a sequel to this game or that, and that there has been a notable shift from esoteric, niche games, to those multi-million dollar "play-it-safes". Through the medium of Twitter and a few websites, this image of EA, Activision, and Ubisoft being solely in-charge suddenly crumbles and washes away doesn't it?
Will we see the old-guard developers rising up and taking on the project they have wanted to for years? Will we see a glorious return for the much-yearned for the Brad McQuaids, Raph Kosters, and Richard Garriotts? While major publishers refuse to see the bottom line in much loved genres such as the point-and-click, this outpouring of support shows that actually those people that really want it, can actually make it happen.
Unofficially, the MMO genre has been doing this for years, except we call them disastrous launches. Games such as Mortal Online, Xsyon, and Earthrise release far too early, simply to liberate a little more cash flow into ailing development. Perhaps through honesty on the studios part and programmes such as Kickstarter, eager-fans can quite literally put their money where their mouth is, and help out a virtual world they so sorely want to murder within.
Whether or not Double Fine's achievements will change the gaming landscape remains to be seen, but for this brief moment, isn't it exciting? As a PC gamer since the mid 90's, I can't help but see the beginning of a new time for the platform - indie developers, pitching direct to consumers, and finally seeing some of those long-sought after ideas come to fruition. Oh sure, it all sounds a little like socialism, but rise with me comrade! One more round of The Internationale!
You too can aid Shafer and Gilbert's adventure right here