After TWP, The Cave

In the wake of TWP I turned to The Cave because after TWP it was hard to live in the world of mediocre (adventure) games. I was hoping that some other game by Mr. Gilbert will fill the void.

And, oh boy, it did! I don’t know what happened to me, but after everything was said and done and the dust settled I realized I have finished the game eight times in a row, including a no death run.

I supposed IP stayed with Double Fine, but I surely hope Mr. Gilbert still gets some royalty. That was 12 euros well spent. It’s the kind of game in which you can see all the usual elements which have been around for decades but here they are put together so organically that makes you wonder how come this hasn’t been done before. Or if it has been, why isn’t it more popular?

I think this is the first game where replaying it makes it better each time. Never saw a game where replaying is such an inherent part of the narrative that it is actually a writer’s tool to convey the message. This particular story about the greed in our hearts could not be told in such a way in any other medium but in a video game and that, for me, is a great accomplishment. A work of art, no less.

Now my void is even bigger, woe is me!


Check out this on going discussion on the game:

I couldn’t agree more. For me the elements that make this game so strong are:

  • The platform-meets-adventure-puzzle format
    The fluid gameplay (apart from those 'stuck-in-the-mud glitches!)
  • The replay factor (which enriches the narrative the more times you play it - as you described)
  • The variety of characters
  • The avoidance of dead-ends

I also think the hidden alert alternate endings are genius, despite not being massively accessible.

I’m loving it, even though I’m pretty stuck at the moment!

Sorry, I didn’t know about the other topic.

Otherwise I didn’t experience any stuck-in-the-mud glitches. I played on my PC and everything went smoooooothly.

I also didn’t know about alternative endings which to my delight then necessitated another three rounds of game play, yay.

Later on I discovered that one of the characters is quite ‘powerful’ in terms that you can easily skip one entire level and also skip three quarters of some other character’s level.

Actually you can skip one entire level with any character and you can skip large portions of other levels with any character, which made it possible for me to finish the game without dying once.

And then there are delightful little tidbits throughout the game, like bringing all seven characters to the guy with the glowing ball in the fair and he will tell their future to each of them.

There are however two puzzles that are rather devious and they rely mostly on understanding how controls work rather than on in-game context (well, that too, but that’s not enough to solve them).

Nope. Not a single cent. No bonus, just a paycheck. Knowing what I now know about DF and how they work, I would have required backend. It was my fault for being naive and nice. I don’t regret it, it’s a great game and I’m really proud of it.


I enjoyed The Cave, too. Much as I love point & click games, The Cave is a great adventure-platform-game.
It would be great to see a kind of a successor one day, maybe with dialog trees in order to include a more complex story.

I think, it may be a great idea for another crowd-sourcing campaign (aside from a MI-like game). The game wouldn’t have to be an official sequel. It would not even have to provide 3D graphics - pixel-art with smooth animations and suitable sound effects would be fine as well. The gameplay is 2D anyway.

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Do you know if DF actually owns the IP or what’s the role of SEGA?

DF owns the IP and SEGA has an exclusive to it for 5 years (ends Jan 2018). At that point, DF can do anything they want with it and SEGA stops getting the money.

It’s a typical dev/pub deal, in that the dev gets X%, but that X% is recouped from the advances (in the case of The Cave, around $3M). That doesn’t mean the game needs to make $3M, it means the devs X% made $3M. So, if the dev was getting 25%, the game would have to make $12M before the dev saw any money.

Since I am getting no backend, I have no visibility into how well the game did, or if the advance was recouped. But once the 5 year term is over, DF will gets all the money from then on. It’s not likely to be very much, but with some aggressive sales, etc, it might be.

This is where I didn’t fully understand how DF worked. Had I know this, I would have insisted on backend.


Thanks, that’s very interesting.

Also this means that we will likely get a DRM-free version of The Cave soon!

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Well I hope they do. They have put most of their games under their control on GOG and recently on too (e.g. The Cave and Custom Quest 2 are missing).

Don’t worry, since I now know that SEGA influence will fade I will start pestering Tim!

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So apart from TWP (and all its merchandise), which games can we buy today that would make some money appear on your account?

P.S.: I already bought two copies of TWP (digital+collector’s box)

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I’m awaiting that version to play The Cave.
That, and maybe I’ll also wait also a couple of years to play it with my children. I’d love to try the couch co-op mode with them: it reminds me of the C64 games of my childhood, we played lots of them cooperatively with my sister, e.g. Bubble Bobble.

Just TWP. Nothing else I’ve made makes me anything when it sells. My problem when I negotiate business deals is I’m too nice, I (naively) expect the other person to be as well, then they turn out to be jerks or flat out lied to me. Also, the case of The Cave and DeathSpank, I just really wanted to make the game, and my enthusiasm allows people to take advantage. Never again. I will never work on a game again that I don’t own (or co-own). Getting backend isn’t good enough, I’ve seen countless cases of dev getting screwed out of backend by creative accounting.


Is this also true for Scurvy Scallywags?

Technically. Clayton’s company gets all the money and we don’t have a formal agreement, but if they game ever made money (so far it’s deep in the hole), Clayton would share. He’s one of the nice guys.

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Yes, it’s great to play with kids or even non-gamers! Btw. also The Lost Vikings is a nice coop game and quite similar to The Cave, just without narrative.

Oh my, that’s sad.


Yeah, it was a complete failure. Mobile is a F2P market and neither Clayton or I like F2P, so we did a crappy job at monetisation. We’re both very proud of the game, and in the end, that’s all that matters. Right? Right! RIGHT!


Is it on Android?

It was. Maybe it was removed because of compatibility problems?
I can still find it in Google’s cache.

It was, but the work was done by a contractor and about a year ago, Google made some changes and the game would crash on the newer OSs. The contractor was not available to make any more changes, so I pulled it. The Android version did even worse then the iOS version.

I think the lesson learned is if you’re going to do a casual mobile game, you need to go full-on F2P, it’s not something we were willing to do.

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