Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has said he needs more money to finish development of crowd-funded adventure game Broken Age.
He intends to sell the first half of the game on Steam Early Access next year and use the money it makes to fund development of the second half.
In a note to backers of the Kickstarter-funded project, Schafer blamed himself for the change of plan, saying: "It's just taking a while because I designed too much game, as I pretty much always do."
He discussed the "design vs. money tension" the development team has endured ever since Double Fine Adventure, as it was then known, raised a whopping $3.3 million dollars through crowd-funding - nearly $3 million more than the $400,000 target.
Schafer said he recently realised he had "designed a game so big that it would need even more money".
"I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it's hard for me to design one that's much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle," he explained.
"There's just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain there is."
Schafer added that to combat this tension, he had thought about finishing and releasing the first half of Broken Age, but the projected release date was July 2014, and the projected release of the full game was at some point in 2015. "My jaw hit the floor," he said.
"This was a huge wake-up call for all of us," Schafer said. "If this were true, we weren't going to have to cut the game in half, we were going to have to cut it down by 75 per cent!
"What would be left? How would we even cut it down that far? Just polish up the rooms we had and ship those? Reboot the art style with a dramatically simpler look? Remove the Boy or Girl from the story? Yikes! Sad faces all around."
The answer, Schafer decided, was to get more money. Seeking funding from a publisher was out of the question because "it would violate the spirit of the Kickstarter", and going back to Kickstarter "seemed wrong". Using money made from the sales of Double Fine's other games was an option, but "it still would not be enough".
Schafer settled on making "some modest cuts" to finish the first half of the game by January 2014 instead of July, and releasing it on Steam Early Access. Steam Early Access allows developers to charge money for pre-release content. A recent example is the Arma 3 beta, currently on sale for £30.
Double Fine intends to use the money made selling this early access version of Broken Age to fund development of the second half of the game, which would be released as a free update around April or May 2014.
"So, everybody gets to play the game sooner, and we don't have to cut the game down drastically," Schafer said.
"Backers still get the whole game this way - nobody has to pay again for the second half."
Schafer promised that backers still have exclusive beta access before Double Fine starts selling the early release, and insisted the game's design was "100 per cent done... and it's not going to get any bigger".
The decision has already been criticised by some who have wondered why a crowd-funded project that raised nearly 10 times its target now requires more money. At the time of publication, Double Fine Adventure was seventh on the list of top Kickstarter projects by funds raised.
I appreciate that people on Kickstarter aren't going to have to pay any more money but it smacks of some piss poor planning that something that was originally scheduled to take what, nine months? is now going to take three times that amount of time to complete.