Double Fine has announced that its massively popular Kickstarter title Broken Age will be split in two, with the first half sold on Steam Early Access to fund development of the second half.

Recent calculations by the developer projected that the first half of the game would be ready in July 2014, with the full product not available to ship until 2015.

It was expected as early as this October.

“My jaw hit the floor,” wrote studio founder Tim Schafer in a message to Kickstarter backers.

“This was a huge wake-up call for all of us. If this were true, we weren’t going to have to cut the game in half, we were going to have to cut it down by 75%! What would be left?

“How would we even cut it down that far? Just polish up the rooms we had and ship those? Reboot the art style with a dramatically simpler look? Remove the Boy or Girl from the story? Yikes! Sad faces all around.”

The problem was not with the speed of the game’s production team, but instead with the scope of his vision – “I designed too much game,” said Schafer.

“I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it’s hard for me to design one that’s much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle,” he said.

“There’s just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is.”

Schafer was reluctant to double-dip on Kickstarter or approach a publisher for help because that “seemed wrong”, but even the profits from Double Fine's other games wouldn’t cover the amount needed to speed Broken Age's development.

So instead, Double Fine will make “modest cuts” in order to finish the first half of the game by January, and then release that finished, polished half of the game on Steam Early Access.

Backers will still see the game before everyone else, said Schafer, and the money raised by the Early Access release would fund the second half, which would come as a free update in about April-May of 2014.

“So, everybody gets to play the game sooner, and we don’t have to cut the game down drastically. Backers still get the whole game this way – nobody has to pay again for the second half,” he said.

“With this shipping solution I think we’re balancing the size of the game and the realities of funding it pretty well.

“We are still working out the details and exact dates, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. This project has always been something we go through together and the ultimate solution needs to be something we all feel good about.”

Double Fine was seeking US$400,000 for Broken Age when it put the game on Kickstarter, but wound up with US$3,336,371 – more than eight times that amount.