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."