Everybody is doing it so why shouldn't Jane Jensen give it a shot? Jensen is best known as the creator of the popular Gabriel Knight adventure game series. In the last eight years she has designed and directed such casual games as Women’s Murder Club, Dying for Daylight and Deadtime Stories at Oberon Media/I-Play Studio. Now she is returning to her adventure game roots with a new company she has formed with her husband called Pinkerton Road.
The company's first order of business is to experiment with what they call CSG, or Community Supported Gaming. The idea is stolen from CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), where customers "subscribe to a small organic farm for a season and get a basket of just-picked produce each week." So the basic concept Jensen is putting forward is to pay for a season of adventure games, but to get started she needs funding. Since it's an experimental idea, Jensen has decided that the best place to find funding is from the community. Here are more details from Jensen on what they need and what they want to accomplish:
Our CSG will work in a similar way. Sign up as a Pinkerton Road CSG member, and you'll get all of the awesome games we produce for one year*. The CSG model will help our studio survive financially so that we can make the kinds of games that YOU and WE want to play (not what some big publisher’s marketing department has decided will be the next big hit).
But, let’s be honest, this brilliant idea goes beyond that! We want our customers to feel like part of our studio family (as many did in the Sierra On-Line days). As a CSG member, you’ll get regular video updates on what we’re doing, peeks at the newest art, glimpses of our games in development and the inside scoop what it's like to operate a game studio. It’s like you’ll have a virtual desk right next to ours. Just don't hog the stapler!
This model will also be ridiculously useful to us, as developers. We'll have a customer base to get feedback from through A/B testing and early beta tests. If we have a slot for one more game next year, how would you like to decide if it’s Concept A, B or C? As a CSG member, you will. If fact, May 1 those who have signed up will vote on one of the 3 concepts below as our very first Pinkerton Road adventure game!
The three ideas she puts forth include a Gray Matter 2, a game called Moebius, and a project called Anglophile Adventure. All the questions you might have about a Gabriel Knight sequel, and how the whole concept will work once it is funded are answered in depth on the Kickstarer page. Jensen's Kickstarter has already raised $18,655 of its $300,000 goal with 44 days to go. Thanks to Andrew Eisen for the tip.