The three guys behind 2 Player Productions toil ceaselessly as they create Double Fine Adventure!, the documentary telling the story of our upcoming crowdfunded adventure game. But what are they REALLY up to? In the new Double Fine Action Cast, I turn the microphone around to expose the unsavory motives and sinister machinations of this trio of scoundrels. (Actually they’re pretty nice guys.)
This normally-secretive process is named “Amnesia” because the entire team at Double Fine forgets what they’re working on, and “Fortnight” because it lasts for two weeks. During this time the company is divided into smaller teams, and each team must make a game in those two weeks. This has been a very successful formula in the past, so changing it only makes sense.
For the first three Amnesia Fortnight Projects, the leaders of each team were hand-selected by Double Fine President and CEO, Tim Schafer. This year, the hopeful Project Leaders will be pitching their ideas directly to the public, who will then be able to vote for which games are selected for the prototype phase. Replacing Tim’s judgement and restraint with that of the internet is totally fine and really the same thing after all when you think about it!
After the winning projects are selected there will be two weeks of development. 2 Player Productions will be filming each team just as they have been with the acclaimed Double Fine Adventure documentary. This does not terrify anybody at Double Fine.
“It’s like walking through your high school naked,” said Double Fine’s Director of Product Development Isa Stamos, “It’s mostly just embarrassing the first time. And also, it’s the stuff of dreams!”
When the two weeks are up, the prototypes will be available for download from the Humble Bundle website. These unfinished, rough sketches of games will be handed over to the internet to be thoughtfully judged and respectfully seen in the appropriate context. HA HA HA! That’s my happy laugh and not manic!
When you purchase the bundle you will immediately receive two historical prototypes from past AF projects. Thanks to the generous cooperation of our partners at Autodesk, Firelight, Valve, and RAD Tools. From AF #2, the two week prototype of Costume Quest, and from AF #1, Happy Song—an early prototype that was inspiration for Once Upon a Monster.These are very simple, unfinished mockups of the award-winning games they would someday become, and people’s judgement of them will surely be informed by that…oh god where is my paper bag for breathing?
No matter what happens, it’s okay, because you can chose what you pay, and how much goes to charity.
Everyone from Double Fine was invited to pitch a game. Twenty three of our bravest souls came forward, and you can see all of their pitches and vote for your favorites here: www.humblebundle.com/double-fine
EDIT: The clearance sale is over! The items went much faster than expected—sorry if you missed out! The links below have been removed. The super news is, our new store is here! Check it out! It’s prettier!
Hi Everyone! Laura from the Double Fine Shop here in the Action News!
We’ve got some fun changes coming to our online store that I can’t talk about just yet, but it’s going to be super. Super awesome, super smart, and of course super fine. Actually, I just love the word super. In fact, I’m going to say it again! Our new online store is going to be SUPER!!
But before that happens, I’ve got another announcement. We now have a CLOTHING CLEARANCE section in our shop! That’s right: You can get awesome DF merchandise for super cheap. It’s all more than 70% off! SUPER CHEAP! But hear me now: The sizes listed for clothing in the clearance section are the only sizes still left. We are not planning to reorder any of the clearance products so what we have left is all there is. GET THEM WHILE YOU CAN. (EDIT: YOU CAN’T ANYMORE. We sold out.)
So go ahead, check out the awesome items we have now on clearance and prepare yourself for a SUPER end to 2012. :-D
Earlier this year, we did that whole Kickstarter thing. And for months now, we’ve let people who missed the campaign get in on the action as “Slacker Backers.”
We’ve been charging $15 for a subscription to new documentary episodes as they’re released, ongoing development updates from the team, private backer forum discussions, and eventual access to the beta on PC and released game on PC, Mac, or Linux. The money contributed by those backers goes right into making the game.
It’s gone really well! We have racked up a whole ton of content so far, all of which is available to Kickstarter backers and Slacker Backers. There are more than a dozen videos from 2 Player Productions, and nearly two dozen in-depth dev writeups. We think there’s a lot of valuable material there, and we think it proves out the concept of ongoing backer access.
When the game comes out, it’s likely to cost at least $15 on PC/Mac/Linux, and then the documentary will be sold by 2PP on top of that. So backers are getting a sweet deal even before all the extra stuff comes into play!
So now, the news: We will be increasing the backer access price to $30 in a week, on November 16. We think that better reflects not only what backers will receive with the beta and the game, but also the many hours of material available right this second.
BUT! If you’re already a backer, DON’T WORRY. You are TOTALLY SET. We’re not asking you to up your pledge. Thank you for helping this project exist! You are great.
AND! If you’re not a backer, you still have a week to get in at $15! Check out this ridiculous list of content you could be enjoying. (It’s all super good.)
You may be asking questions like, “Hey, where is that Middle Manager of Justice game?”, “Didn’t that come out like a month ago?”, or “What should I have for lunch?”.
The answer to one of those questions, clearly, is ribs. You’ll never go wrong with ribs, guys. Ribs. Also, the Middle Manager of Justice team is hard at work killing bugs (the virtual kind, not the real kind. Be nice to the environmentm folks! Unless it’s creepy looking), polishing the game, and reacting to the feedback we’ve gotten from when some folks got a sneak peek due to my itchy trigger finger. It’s coming soon, and thanks for being so patient! Superheroes will be filing paperwork on your iOS devices in no time!!!
For the time being, I want to share with you, the Internet, the SECRET ORIGINS of Middle Manager of Justice. No, it doesn’t involve radioactive spiders, although it would’ve been pretty rad if it did. First off, a tiny bit about myself. Double Fine is my first game industry job where I’ve worked as a gameplay programmer. I contributed in that capacity to Psychonauts (I may or may not have worked on Meat Circus, depending on whether you liked it), Brutal Legend, Stacking, and have helped out on a bunch of the other titles. One of my first tasks here was to work on Fred Bonaparte’s idle behavior in the asylum in Psychonauts.
As you may know, Double Fine periodically divides up into teams to work on new two-week prototype games. We call it Amnesia Fortnight. For the last AF, I wanted to make a superhero management game for mobile devices. When trying to come up with a clever name, I thought of the soccer sim Football Manager. From that, Superhero Manager (boring!) evolved to Middle Manager of Justice! Then I realized how fun it would be to juxtapose all the superhero stuff with the everyday humdrum life of a corporate office. Tim greenlit the idea for AF prototyping, but there was on tiny wrinkle. I would not be in the office for the meeting where we introduced our AF idea to the rest of the team. So I improvised…
I had initially envisioned the game with a lot of nondescript superheroes, with simple palette swaps to differentiate them. With a small team, this seemed to be the most conservative and economical way to go. However, prototype team’s animator, Dave Gardner, just went crazy (the good kind of crazy) with an assortment of unique and awesome characters that may or may not break copyright laws. (Bear in mind, all the artwork in this post was created during that two-week prototype phase. The real game is much more polished, featuring the amazing artwork of Mark Hamer.)
This showed me that we should focus on unique characters with their own backgrounds and story arcs for the game—the stuff that we here at Double Fine enjoy doing! The game itself had heroes patrolling territories, training, socializing, and fighting crime. The goal of the game was to bring each territory down to zero crime level.
This prototype was built in two weeks using the MOAI engine and was tuned to play well for AF, meaning playtime for an average player would be about an hour. When the decision was made to create the full game, one of the challenges was to bring the experience to a longer game without losing what worked well in the prototype. More on that later!
Thanks for reading, and thanks again for your continued interest in Middle Manager of Justice!!
Not every Double Fine employee was willing to brave the judgment of his or his peers and appear today dressed in full costume. But nine of them were, and now they will be subjected to the withering scrutiny of the internet. That’s what you get for showing off your creativity: the impassive collective critical eye of the world casting its steely gaze onto your efforts.
Fortunately, they all did a super good job! Phew!
Our own Allison Thomas diligently photographed each costumed Double Finer. And here they are, using that wacky Instagram thing the kids like. We’ve got one of those now! Because we’re hip and cool.
Jane Ng as Amy Pond from Doctor Who.
Levi Ryken as the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who.
John Swisshelm as that dead terrorist from Die Hard.
Justin Honneger as Business Viking.
Dave Gardner as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights.
Brad Muir as Dapper Chestburster Host.
Elliott Roberts as Batman.
Laura O’Brien as a retro lady!
And now, dear readers, I must burden your eyes and souls with this final image:
Let's keep this quick, because this is all you need to know:
Tim is going to be playing Brütal Legend on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network this Saturday, Rocktober 13, starting at 4pm Pacific (that's 23:00 GMT), and he wants to play with YOU. Yes, you specifically. He told me so. So keep an eye out for the username TimOfLegend; he'll be online for about two hours.
And practice up! You could earn some achievements! Perhaps even the greatest achievement of all: lovethis one.
October is a special month for Double Fine, because it is simultaneously ROCKTOBER, the month of Brütal Legend’s release, as well as the month containing Halloween, which augurs the release of Costume Quest. We knew we needed to put one of these essential games on sale, but which one? Factions formed among the Double Fine staff, battling mightily on behalf of their chosen game, one side using a turn-based RPG-style interface and the other using RTS-style controls.
Eventually both sides collapsed from exhaustion, and it looked like there would be no sale at all. But then, the weary warriors picked themselves up and realized that there was only one real option: PUT EVERYTHING ON SALE.
Yes, every Double Fine game is on sale this week, starting RIGHT NOW. Just take a look:
Look, I’m not saying you aren’t rugged, necessarily. You don’t have to explain yourselves to us. We work for a video game company, for crying out loud. All I’m saying is that it probably wouldn’t hurt to have evidence of your ruggedness. Especially if it can be displayed in a highly visible location in your home. Say, pinned to your front door. With an axe. And what better symbol of said ruggedness than a high-quality print of everyone’s favorite lumberjack from the Double Fine Adventure pre-vis concepts and videos? Think that over with your weathered, leathery noggin.
Brace yourself. This Double Fine Action Cast contains a double serving of hearty podcast comfort food: first, a tantalizing appetizer of PAX wrap-up discussion, followed by a filling stew of Middle Manager of Justice. Breathe in the aroma. Let the cast simmer in your ears. Okay, this metaphor is getting weird. But the podcast is excellent. It features Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, Chris Remo, Drew Skillman, Greg Rice, Kee Chi, Gabe Miller, and Mark Hamer.
Music credits: Austin Wintory, Paul Lipson, Jon Shamieh (Kinect Party); Brian Min (Middle Manager of Justice)