It has been incredibly interesting to watch the transformation of Double Fine. I don’t know if this was happening before their Kickstarter, but since then they seen to be evolving into a full-fledged entertainment service. No more do they simply offer games, they are documenting the entire process of creating games and sharing it with all their lucky viewers.
Though lots of developers have been doing video diaries, Double Fine has taken that idea and blown it up into a full-fledged documentary. I would be tempted to call this transparent development, but I am really not sure how much of it ends up being scripted, how much gets left out, and how much is shown out of order. Video is a wonderful media, but lets face it, editing can really change a lot. =)
Now I realize one Kickstarter a trend does not make. It was this latest Double Fine contribution, the Amnesia Fortnight offering at Humble Bundle, which put solid weight on the transparent development idea. Then again, in this age of reality TV, it’s not surprising that a game development company would branch out into this medium.
Is this a bid for fame or a way to provide a more stable income for a small development company? I’m not sure. It does remind me of the Penny Arcade guys, who have expanded far beyond a simple web comic; in business terms, diversifying ones portfolio. It worked beautifully for the PA guys, so why not Double Fine.
It will be interested to see if this is sustainable. Being filmed takes time, which means time away from game development. Will production time be impacted by all the video work?
Ultimately if this helps a small developer like Double Fine stay afloat for longer, then good for them. And I will admit, even though I am not a huge reality TV fan, seeing the inner workings of how they create games at Double Fine is really interesting.