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Broken Age is a retro game for a modern audience

Earlier this summer, backers of Kickstarter-funded point-and-click adventure Broken Age expressed trepidation at Double Fine's decision to launch the title in two parts.

The first half will launch via Steam Early Access in January of next year, with the second part to follow in spring. But with an intended full launch on Windows PC, Mac and Linux along with iOS, Android devices and an eventual Ouya port, Double Fine's programming team has its hands full tailoring the game to look great on all devices.

According to lead programmer Oliver Franzke, the feat is not a small one, but it is an important one. Double Fine wants players on all platforms to get the full gameplay experience, the best visuals and the smoothest gameplay, and that is why holding on a little longer isn't so bad.

"I come from a console background, I've been working on consoles for a long time," Franzke, whose pedigree includes several years at LucasArts, told Polygon. "For me, a modern platform developer always meant [working with] PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. They're all pretty similar, so coming onto Broken Age, where ahead of time we knew we had to be on all the desktop platforms as well as mobile devices, was actually quite a challenge because they are different in terms of what they can support. It was a lot of work."

Franzke noted that Broken Age may be scaled back for older, "weaker" devices — the content will all be present, but graphical complexity may be reigned back in order to allow the game to run smoothly.

"If you're running a pretty old Android device that's just not that fast, then we have to pull something down," he explained. "But you have to trust me, the game still looks pretty good."

Double Fine is essentially developing a retro game for a modern audience, a classic point-and-click adventure for a contemporary market. This is the second part of the challenge in making Broken Age.

"At LucasArts, I worked on the Monkey Island remakes, so I've seen it from both sides," Franzke said. "[I've worked on] having an old game that's already around and just making it contemporary in terms of visuals, but now we're starting from the other direction and saying, 'We want to have this old-school feeling in terms of gameplay, but we want to make sure it looks very contemporary and awesome.

"It's interesting because everyone in the studio is obviously a big fan of Tim [Schafer]'s work, so we've obviously all played his games," he added. "But I never imagined that I would work together with him at some point."

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