This is a very interesting topic and I have a couple questions that maybe someone from the team can answer or clarify. If you compare the team who worked on TWP and Monkey Island 1, they are about the same size, and the game took as long to develop… Is that because TWP included developing the engine? I’m not sure about that. I think the reason is that in adventure games a much higher percentage of the time is spent in deciding the story, writing dialogs, polishing puzzles, … And that is not any faster today than 25 years ago.
Other areas of artistic creation like movies have drastically seen the cost of production going down in terms of equipment and how much faster certain processes are… I don’t think it’s the case for adventure games.
Basically, you need to reach the same number of players as 25 years ago in order to keep the business going, because the process is as streamlined as it can be.
As someone said on the blog/twitter or steam I would really love that Terrible Toybox is profitable enough so Ron, Gary and David can keep doing what they love and don’t need to get real jobs But the market is the market, and I don’t think TWP has exceeded the expectations that the team had… I hope I’m wrong and, as Ron said, the tail is thick and long.
Maybe there’s a niche between TWP and the object finding games, a place where good storytelling and a certain level of frustration of hard puzzles sells like crazy.