Doublefine is a studio known for its quirky settings and gameplay to match. Sometimes we get interesting hits like Psychonauts and Stacked. Other times it can lead to a game being disjointed, such as Brutal Legend and Massive Chalice. The studio’s love of always going after something new also leaves their games somewhat unrefined. With that said, Headlander is the first game in a long time where I can say that we have a Doublefine title where everything clicks.
On a recent post, I talked about how game sequels are an important part of the development process. One of the comments I got on Gamasutra about it raised an interesting point: Why don’t Indie developers do as many sequels? It’s a good point and one that I want to talk more about having spent so much time interviewing developers.
The big shocker for Early Access/crowdfunding lately would have to be Doublefine pulling the plug on their first Early Access title — Spacebase DF9. The game according to them will move from alpha 6 to release in October with most of the planned features scrapped in favor of letting the players mod them in.
As you can guess, a lot of people are not happy about this failing from Doublefine, especially after the breaking up of Broken Age into two parts. Looking at its development and Doublefine’s response, there are important lessons here for developers on what not to do with Early Access.
Broken Age, the return to the classic adventure genre from Doublefine is a big deal. Not only for the studio and writer/designer Tim Schafer but that this was the game that brought Kickstarter into the spotlight and radically changed game development since late 2012.
After delays and the game being split into two parts with backers getting both, the first half of the story is now out and time to judge. What we have is a bridge between the old and new style of adventure games, but the question remains: Will it please the fans and backers?