There’s a scene in Double Fine Adventure!, a documentary about the making of Broken Age, where designer Tim Schafer visits a mechanic to get his old Barracuda fixed.
As it turns out, the repairs will cost double what Schafer expected. Blame inertia—once the mechanic had pried open the car and started assessing the damage, he just kept going, fixing and cleaning as much as he possibly could. “It was hard to know where to stop,” the mechanic confesses.
Broken Age, which raised $3.5 million on Kickstarter in early 2012, cost developers Double Fine more than twice that amount to make. Schafer and his team of point-n-click-adventure lovers first estimated that their dream game would be out in mid-2013, but as the months went on, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. Eventually, they split Broken Age into two parts, so they could sell the first act on Steam Early Access and raise enough money to finish the game. The first act came out in early 2014; the second didn’t make it to stores until April of 2015, more than three years after the Kickstarter concluded.
So why did it take so long? Did Double Fine just run away with everyone’s money? Is Tim Schafer just a big ol’ scam artist???
In this extensive documentary produced by 2 Player Productions, the folks behind Broken Age answer those questions and many, many more, giving viewers an unprecedented level of transparency into the game development process. I’ve binge-watched it twice now, and can say with no reservations that it’s a remarkable series. In 20 episodes—some of them as short as 20 minutes—it taught me more about game development than just about anything else I’ve seen or read.
The documentary is available for free on YouTube, so there’s no reason not to watch it. Also there’s a Very Special cameo from a certain Kotaku Splitscreen co-host.
I’ve embedded the whole thing in convenient playlist form starting with episode one right here: