Amnesia Fortnight

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Amnesia Fortnight
DeveloperDouble Fine Productions
Amnesia Fortnight community
PublisherDouble Fine Productions
SystemsWindows, macOS, Linux
Released2007-2017
Added to
museum
AF 2012: November 19, 2012
AF 2014: March 5, 2014
AF 2017: May 14, 2017

Amnesia Fortnight is the name of several two-week prototyping sessions by Double Fine Productions. Until 2012, these sessions were private. However, from 2012 onward, the sessions were made public through Humble Bundle. These sessions were successful and Double Fine founder Tim Schafer believes that they kept the company viable, up to the point when Microsoft purchased Double Fine in 2019.

History

During the development of Brütal Legend, Activision merged with Vivendi Games and inherited the publisher commitment to Brütal Legend, which was originally slated to be published by Vivendi's Sierra label. Activision dropped Brütal Legend, leading Double Fine to have to search for another publisher.

At the time of the publisher limbo, in approximately 2007, Double Fine founder Tim Schafer held an Amnesia Fortnight session in an attempt to boost morale. Over two weeks the Double Fine employees were split into four groups and told to forget their current work on Brütal Legend. Each group was tasked with coming up with a game prototype which would be reviewed by the other groups.

Amnesia Fortnight 2007

The four ideas that were made into prototypes during the first, private, Amnesia Fortnight session were Custodians of the Clock, Happy Song, Love Puzzle, and Tiny Personal Ninja.

These ideas were later pitched to publishers and two were developed into full games. Custodians of the Clock was published by Microsoft Studios in 2011 as Trenched, but due to trademark issues it was later retitled Iron Brigade. Happy Song became Double Fine's first licensed title when it was published as Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in conjunction with Sesame Workshop in 2011.

Amnesia Fortnight 2009

Near the end of development on Brütal Legend, in 2009, another private Amnesia Fortnight prototyping session was held. Two additional prototypes were created, Costume Quest and Stacking.

These games were both developed into full games. Costume Quest was published in 2010, while Stacking was published in 2011, both by THQ.

Amnesia Fortnight 2011

After the release of Brütal Legend, Double Fine began work on a sequel, however, publisher Electronic Arts opted not to fund the sequel. This left the studio without a publishing deal, so, in 2011 another private Amnesia Fortnight prototyping session was held.

The prototypes developed during this session were Brazen, Middle Manager of Justice, and Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp.

Of these titles, Middle Manager of Justice was made into a full game, with funding from Dracogen, releasing on iOS in 2012 and Android in 2013.

Amnesia Fortnight 2012

The first public Amnesia Fortnight prototyping session was held in 2012. 23 video pitches of concept ideas were posted, and people who spent a minimum of $1 USD at Humble Bundle could vote on their favorite pitches. The top five pitches were developed into prototypes. In addition, the Happy Song, Costume Quest, and Brazen prototypes were released to the public for the first time.

The prototypes developed during this session were Autonomous, Black Lake, Hack 'n' Slash, Spacebase DF-9, and The White Birch.

Three prototypes from this session were made into full games. Autonomous was expanded into a full release for the Leap Motion controller in 2013. An open beta of Spacebase DF-9 was released on Steam Early Access in 2013, and was released in a full version in 2014, which was criticized by fans and the press due to the final build not containing many of the features originally proposed. In 2014, another prototype, Hack n' Slash was extended into a full game through Steam Early Access and proved to be more successful.

Amnesia Fortnight 2014

Following the first public Amnesia Fortnight prototyping session, another was held through Humble Bundle in 2014. This session contained pitches by Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward.

The top Pendleton Ward pitch to be developed into a prototype was Little Pink Best Buds. The other prototypes developed during this session were Dear Leader, Mneumonic, and Steed.

Patrick Hackett, then an employee at Double Fine Productions, pitched the idea for a video game prototype named Bad Golf for the 2012 Amnesia Fortnight. That pitch wasn't chosen to be developed into a prototype. In the 2014 Amnesia Fortnight, he pitched the game again, this time jokingly referring to the idea as Bad Golf 2. Once again, the pitch was not chosen to be developed into a prototype.

Josh Bush contacted the team at Double Fine and obtained permission to make an Amnesia Fortnight community project based on the Bad Golf pitches. It was titled Bad Golf: Community Edition to distance itself from the game in the event that Double Fine opted to make Bad Golf in the future. Bad Golf Community Edition was developed by the Amnesia Fortnight community with a contributor roster of thirty-four people.

Headlander was one of the pitches made during the 2014 Amnesia Fortnight, and although it wasn't developed into a prototype during that session, it was made into a full game and published by Adult Swim Games in 2016.

Amnesia Fortnight 2017

A third public Amnesia Fortnight session was held through Humble Bundle in 2017. This time, two pitches were chosen by the fans to be developed into prototypes and two were chosen by Double Fine themselves so that less-orthodox pitches would be made into prototypes.

The four pitches made into prototypes were Darwin's Dinner, The Gods Must Be Hungry, I Have No Idea What I'm Doing, and Kiln.

Due to the success of the first Amnesia Fortnight community prototyping session in 2014, the community was more involved in Amnesia Fortnight in 2017. Three pitch videos were made, and all three were turned into prototypes. However, the top prototype, Pongball, was included in the download package for Amnesia Fortnight 2017 and Double Fine staff acted as mentors to the community developing this prototype.

The other two Amnesia Fortnight community pitches made into prototypes were Amnesia Adventure and The Lost Dev Team.

Inspiration

Tim Schafer stated that he was inspired to create Amnesia Fortnight by the film director Wong Kar-Wai. During the three-year filming of the film Ashes of Time, Wong Kar-Wei had taken some of his actors and film crew to Hong Kong to shoot footage for fun. This resulted in the films Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, which ended up being among the director's most famous films.