The new project, MASSIVE CHALICE, is the brainchild of Brad Muir, the project lead on Iron Brigade and Brazen, lead designer on Brutal Legend (as well as a programmer for Alter Echo, X-Men Legends and Psychonauts), and owner of the world’s most infectious smile. Whereas Broken Age/Double Fine Adventure was “camera-ready sex god” Tim Schafer’s baby and a return to the adventure genre, MASSIVE CHALICE is an entirely different challenge. Muir has his sights on creating a brand new fantasy IP set in the tactical RPG genre (a genre that occupies a specific niche). As Muir stated in the introduction video, the game is a big risk for Double Fine as it is not an established brand with all the built-in nostalgia that makes for an easy back. Double Fine and Muir aim to mobilize the fans of Strategy/Tactical RPG fans to make MASSIVE CHALICE a reality.
MASSIVE CHALICE is Double Fine’s latest kickstarter project that began on May 30 with a target goal of $725,000. The target amount for MASSIVE CHALICE is much higher than the original Double Fine Adventure kickstarter, which began at $400,000. The jump in the funding amount has to be the result of this being the second go round on kickstarter for the developer. With MASSIVE CHALICE, Double Fine has a much more realistic idea about the bare minimum they need to raise in order to make this game happen. While Broken Age finished their funding period nearly 3 million dollars over their target amount, MASSIVE CHALICE has not received the same zeal as its predecessor. Much of that could be attributed to people having a bit of caution as they wait for Broken Age to make its September release. However, it is not unsuccessful by any means because MASSIVE CHALICE reached the $725,000 goal within six days of funding. As it enters its last week of funding, MASSIVE CHALICE broke the million dollar mark reaching 139% funding (additionally, Double Fine set up a site for PayPal and Bitcoin donations for those unable to contribute via kickstarter).
It is safe to say that Tactical RPG fans answered the call to arms with ease. The quick funding of MASSIVE CHALICE (and other kickstarter games like the recent A Hat in Time) that aim for a hugely specific audience speaks to the power of the crowd sourcing service. While it is possible that MASSIVE CHALICE could exist in some form going through traditional publishing methods because some high profile Tactical/Strategy RPGs have seen success recently (XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Fire Emblem: Awakening), there is a much higher chance that the pure vision for the game would be torn apart until it was a bearded shell of itself. Watching Muir talk about MASSIVE CHALICE and his/the team’s vision for it, it is easy to see the passion and drive to deliver the best turn-based tactical RPG experience possible for backers. If anything, what kickstarter does is give determined, smart and innovative people an opportunity to make a project that they either would not get to make otherwise or not make it with their original creative intent.
The entire production will receive a dev diary filmed by 2 Player Productions. This dev diary will deal with the design and development of MASSIVE CHALICE, a departure from the style of 2PP video for Broken Age. The videos will include design meetings, art progress and interviews with team member throughout production. Also, the 2PP videos will be available to everyone in streaming form, while $50 (and above) backers will have the ability to download the videos in HD. What is clear from the many videos, updates and questions on the MASSIVE CHALICE kickstarter is that this is a transparent project. The team so far has been open about their ideas for the game going from pre-production into production. Not only have they told backers and those interested in the game about their designs for the game, but they have been responsive to fan input, often citing their ideas are better than their own. Muir and the team are also realistic and honest about producing the game stating that the $750,000 will make the basic game and any other funds raised will go to adding in more features and mechanics (opting out of pre-determined stretch goals).
Out of all of this, it is clear that Muir wants to make the best game possible and does not want to deal with a middle man, he wants to deliver the pitch directly to the people and be honest with them. Hence, that is why Double Fine is doing another kickstarter because this is a project of passion and not simply looking for money to give Muir and another dev team something to do. There are tons of crowd funding projects out there. However, kickstarter is not an evil service or merely people looking for a handout or to con well meaning people out of their hard earned money. Sure there have been some success stories that did not deliver or delivered something different than what they promised, but ultimately, the philosophy of the practice is sound. It gives creative people a way to create something aimed directly at the consumer. It allows them to do it with the only compromise happening with the consumer to deliver the best product possible to the consumer.
Everything about the MASSIVE CHALICE kickstarter from the videos to the realistic goals and transparency screams that Muir and the MASSIVE CHALICE team only want one thing. And that is to create the best possible turn-based Tactical RPG set in a fantasy world with a generational theme on an epic timeline! Who wouldn’t want that to be a real thing? (For anyone who wants to contribute to make MASSIVE CHALICE the best game possible can do so at the MASSIVE CHALICE kickstarter).