Double Fine's former COO launches crowdfunding platform offering return on investment

Debuts with Outer Wilds. Think "Majora's Mask meets Apollo 13."  

Double Fine's former COO Justin Bailey has launched a new video game centric crowdfunding platform where backers can actually see a return from their investment, i.e. recoup their pledges when the game starts making money.

Outer Wilds won the 2015 IGF Award Grand Prize. Previous winners include Minecraft, Fez and Papers, Please.

Entitled Fig, the new platform is still awaiting approval from the SEC to open up investment crowdfunding to everyone, so for the first campaign or two this option will be limited to accredited investors only.

While that's kind of a bummer for now, it's worth noting that Fig has some pretty prominent figures on its advisory board including Tim Schafer, Feargus Urquhart and Brian Fargo, all of whom plan to use the platform to fund future projects at Double Fine, Obsidian and inXile respectively.

"Games are one of the leading sectors in rewards-based crowdfunding and continue to evolve the whole medium; Fig's approach is to customize our platform to what works best for games," said Bailey, CEO of Fig. "This includes supporting investment crowdfunding where the fans have the opportunity to participate in the financial success of the games they help make possible."

The first game to launch on Fig is Outer Wilds, a space exploration game described by developer Mobius Digital as "Majora's Mask meets Apollo 13."

Winner of the 2015 IGF Award's Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Outer Wilds puts players in the role of an astronaut who has 20 minutes to explore a planet before its sun goes supernova. When this happens time resets and you're off to explore another corner of the cosmos where you can set up camp on a planet, investigate this strange time-loop you're stuck in, or roast marshmallows because nothing pairs with the apocalypse quite like the perfect s'more.

There's also an intriguing astrophysics-sim component to Outer Wilds' space travel. "No game captures the feeling of space flight quite like Outer Wilds: not just the awe and wonder but the thrill (and often terror) of hurtling across the solar system in a tiny capsule," Mobius said. "Jump out of your ship mid-flight for emergency repairs as it slingshots around the sun. Master Newton's third law of motion to lift off or land anywhere there's enough gravity. No inch of the solar system is out of your reach - just don't be surprised if your ship starts drifting away while you poke around that ancient space station."

Weirdly, Mobius Digital was founded by TV's Heroes and Hawaii Five-0 star Masi Oka, who was a visual effects artist at Industrial Light and Magic before becoming a famous actor. Oka didn't design Outer Wilds though - that honour would go to lead designer Alex Beachum - but he is in charge of running the independent games studio, which is certainly a peculiar career change for a TV star.

So far Outer Wilds is only in development for PC, but it could expand to include other platforms as time goes on. Players can reserve a copy of Outer Wilds for $20, though there are plenty of spiff rewards for those who pay more.

Mere hours after launching Outer Wilds has already reached $36,950 of its $125k goal with 30 days to go.

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Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.


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