Double Fine Unchains Game IP, Fans Work To Make The Game For Them
from the the-finer-things dept
In the realm of both embracing new business models in video games and generally being an all around awesome company, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than Double Fine. If we were to write a playbook for a gaming company, it would probably read like Double Fine’s history, from producing enormously entertaining games, to embracing crowd-funding models, to treating their fans in a manner too rare in their industry.
Reader Leo Loikkanen writes in about the latest example of the company’s impressive actions, which involve an attempted game called Bad Golf 2 (there never was a Bad Golf 1, so don’t go looking for it), left unpublished until fans picked up the concept and decided to make the game themselves.
Perhaps Bad Golf 2 will prove to be the One Direction of Double Fine’s latest Amnesia Fortnight prototype-off. Not selected as a winning project in the X-Factorish voting, it seemed destined to never become a reality – until fans decided to make it anyway. And now it’s generating more headlines than any of the “official” picks did.
That’s because fourteen fans of Double Fine are collaborating on the company’s own website to produce this game themselves. So, instead of the game never being produced, it will be realized by dedicated and passionate fans. While many companies might go berserk over this, Double Fine is not your average company. From the top down, everyone seems thrilled.
BG2 ideasmith Patrick Hackett, a ‘tech guru’ at Double Fine, told Eurogamer that “Personally, I was flattered by the idea that people would want to collaborate to make a game idea of mine. I really couldn’t have been more excited to hear about this idea and told them I’d support them as much as I could.”
“As for it being Double Fine’s property – Greg and I brought the situation up to Tim and Justin and they approved of the idea, citing that any production should remain in the creative commons. Because of that, the project’s source control repository is available for free and the final product will never be sold.”
This very specifically bucks every rebuttal typically offered by those that advocate for strong and stronger protection of intellectual property. Somehow, a company is giving free access to their own source code for a game based on IP the company developed, and is happy about doing so, while fans of the company are creating the game under the full knowledge that there won’t be any monetary compensation. How could any of that be possible if we relied on the words of Electronic Arts and their ilk?
The answer is that creation and collaboration are a natural part of the human psyche, and they’re spurred on when the collaborating parties all treat one another like human beings. Meanwhile, Double Fine is already taking an interest in the project’s success as an avenue to then release their own Bad Golf 3 game, should the project pan out. Everyone wins, all because nobody brought the legal hammer down to protect their intellectual property and managed to treat their fans like human beings.