Thursday, 9 February 2012

You Tell Me | Double Fine Crowdfunding Fun

While I was asleep last night, the highly-held developers behind Psychonauts and Brutal Legend announced that they were seeking funding for an original point-and-click adventure, a la Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, both of which Double Fine mastermind Tim Schafer had a huge hand in creating way back when.

They were aiming to raise $400,000 to bankroll the project. Through Kickstarter, of all things.

This of course came on the heels of a flurry of tweets yesterday between Schafer and Minecraft millionaire Notch, who had suggested he give Double Fine a bunch of money to make a sequel to Psychonauts. Very kind of him it was as well; I'd love to play one.

In any event, when I awoke this morning, I'd no sooner read the news and clicked through to the Kickstarter site to see how much money had been pledged in my absence than the project met, and then immediately exceeded, its $400,000 goal.

I went in for $20 anyway. And clearly I wasn't the only one, because at the time of this writing, there's already an additional $130k in Double Fine's point-and-click coffers, and the number keeps going up. Go us!

So I was saying: this is awesome. Agreed?

But it got me thinking, as awesome things often do, and my thinkings were along these lines: if genre readers could come together like these gamers have, in their tens of thousands to support of an author or a specific series instead of a studio like Double Fine, and a project like this forthcoming point-and-click, what would we want to spend our hard-earned on?

You tell me, ladies and gentleman: what's the sequel that you've always longed to read, if only it existed? What book would you put up a bit of your own money to see written?

For myself, I'd give, say... £100 if it'd help convince China Mieville to go back to Bas-Lag.

I love that series like no other, and as incredible as Mieville's original fiction has been since Iron Council - and it has been, make no mistake - every time a new book is announced, and I realise it's not about Bas-Lag, which I long to go back to, a little part of me laments.

That'd be my pick, in any event.

Bear in mind that this is a strictly theoretical question - I am certainly not about to kick-start a Kickstarter on China Mieville's behalf - so let's not stress about the real world impediments that might put a dampener on our imaginations. Never mind that a given author might not be interested in returning to such and such a world however much money we wave in his or her face. Never mind viability or profitability or any of those fun-sucking factors.

Saying that, no amount of money is going to bring a dead writer back to life, so let's not go beyond the pale here. If you've always wanted to read a fourth Lord of the Rings novel, sure, say so... but who would you want to write it?

Like the thing says: you tell me!


  1. I always thought that the main barrier to a Psychonauts sequel was that the original was a commercial failure and thus no publisher would ever support development. Conversely, it's not as if Macmillan would turn down a Bas-Lag novel by Mieville. It's simply that Mieville doesn't want to write another one right now.

    My vote would be for Barry Hughart to write more stories of Master Li and Number Ten Ox. It's been 22 years since he last wrote a novel so it's unlikely but yeah, I'd like to read more if I could

  2. I'd LOVE for there to be another novel or twenty set in Middle Earth. As for who'd pen it... I don't know. It would have to be a writer whose style can blend, and one who has a great enthusiasm for Tolkien's work in the first place.

    But I'd pay good money for J. K. Rowling to write anything else. I mean, her books are always fun, and can get surprisingly dark, and we haven't seen a proper novel come out from her since 2007.

    I'd also pay good money for Stephanie Meyer NOT to write anything else. Even more if she wrote an apology letter to a world who has had to suffer with Twilight-mania.

  3. I'm liking the middle earth idea and I can see it happening sooner rather than later, the Tolkien estate are firmly against it though aren't they? Personally I'd like Jack Vance to write something else, anything you like Jack...

  4. I'd pay good money to see Guy Kay write another novel in the world of Tigana - we're left on such a cliffhanger with that story that there's an instant hook, after all, for him to hang it on! Alternatively, and perhaps even more (this might be the Classics man in me coming out), a novel set in the world of Sarantium - but earlier, a Guy Kay take on the fall of the Republic, or even on the Gracchi brothers, would be utterly fantastic, and I'd pay *very* good money to make that happen...

  5. Abercrombie for middle earth by the way! More grit less Bombadil...

  6. @Simon - "More grit less Bombadil" might be the single best thing anyone's ever said. Also hell yes, I'd love to see Joe Abercrombie filthing up Middle Earth some!

    As to the Tolkein estate being against new books set in the same world as the classics, I'm not so sure. There were those Christopher Tolkien books, based on mere scraps as I understand it. Plus money. If there was the prospect of enough of it, would they really still say no? I bet it happens eventually.

  7. Another Fafhrd & Gray Mouser story, written by Steven Brust since the maestro has passed on.

  8. @The Writer - I do wonder about that, actually. I tend to think Rowling has already written at least one other novel; maybe had it published under a pseudonym in case it didn't take off quite like the Harry Potter phenomenon, which... well, will anything ever again?

    In any case, that's my conspiracy theory quota fulfilled for the week. :P

  9. "Abercrombie for middle earth by the way! More grit less Bombadil..."

    To this, I respond:

  10. I would be more likely to fund great authors - Daryl Gregory, Daniel Abraham, Lauren Beukes, Ian Tregillis - to write what they want and not worry about whether it would sell specifically to a publisher. Authors need to be freed from their series creatively sometimes.

  11. @Patrick - You make an eminently sensible and moreover sensitive point, sir. I like your answer; then again I am essentially talking about bribery here... :P

    @Aidan - Can't see your tinypic!

  12. The Bible Two - No More Mr Nice Guy by Ned Flanders.