We recently reported on troubles within Double Fine Productions regarding the development of Broken Age, the subject of their first Kickstarter campaign. That campaign was backed to the tune of $3.3 million on a goal of just $400,000.
American McGee (Wikipedia) is a well-known game developer based in China and is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign of his own for OZombie, an action-adventure game that melds zombies and characters from The Wizard of Oz. Seeking over $800K, the campaign has raised just over $128K to date at the time of writing.
He is now CEO of Spicy Horse Games, a sizable independent game studio in Shanghai, China. He recently posted words of support for Double Fine to his blog in response to criticism garnered by both Double Fine and Kickstarter in the wake of revelations on Broken Age. The post is not-so-subtly entitled “News Flash: Things Cost Money.”
Just want to say to all the press, public and others who are gnashing their fangs at Kickstarter, Double Fine and anyone they think look “fishy,” you can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain about big publishers and their bad business models – highlighting all the times they’ve pushed overpriced, buggy, unfinished product onto the shelves in hopes of a quick buck. Then when an indie developer lays bare their business model and struggles, crucify them for taking risks and being honest. In both cases the hyperbole is through the roof and completely unproductive.
He goes on to question the malice thrown about within the video game industry.
What’s going on here? Why are we so bent on finding enemies and destroying them? What’s happened to civility and constructive debate? Could it be true… all this video-game playing HAS had a significant psychological impact on us all? Are we unable to go through a day without seeing a bag of MacDonald’s as a power-up and misquoted game developer as a demon from hell who must be beheaded with a shotgun and cast into a lake of lava? Why are gamers becoming so antagonistic, combative and resistant to constructive engagement? Have all those hours spent destroying and killing rotted our brains and turned us into robotic griefers?
It seems Double Fine’s recent trials may spark a larger debate about the industry as a whole and crowdfunding’s place within it.