Blazing Griffin generated heaps of nautical puns when it revealed a Kickstarter campaign (opens in new tab) for The Ship: Full Steam Ahead (opens in new tab) late last October, the sequel to Outerlight's 2006 multiplayer murder whodunit. Ending just days ago on December 30, the campaign fell far short of its £128,000/$208,000 goal, only amassing £18,247/$29,657 in total donations. In a post on its official website (opens in new tab) (via Eurogamer (opens in new tab) ), Blazing Griffin chalked up the deficit to not pitching Full Steam Ahead clearly for those unfamiliar with The Ship, stating it's "learned a lot from the experience."
"We'd pitched our original video and text at a unique angle, thinking this would tempt people in, but quickly realized many people who hadn't played the original game were unsure what we were selling and it was important to react to that," the studio wrote. "The second video and script had a far better reception, but by that point we had missed the initial catchment period so vital to a Kickstarter's success."
Blazing Griffin also ran into trouble with currency conversion rates. As the Kickstarter campaign took place on the UK version of the website, all donation tiers and funding goals were expressed solely in pounds. The team assumed non-UK backers would automatically view the campaign in dollars, which isn't the case. As a result, pledge sizes stayed small.
"There's a subliminal type of mark-up for non-UK backers: If you fund a Kickstarter in dollars, say $25, you may see this as pounds, and be delighted when you only have £20 deducted from your account," read the post. "In the US, it works the other way around, so £20 would be $32 (at time of writing), giving the impression you're giving more for less."
Full Steam Ahead is planned to be a steampunk influenced game in which players hunt and flee from each other while dressed in appropriately dapper clothing aboard Victorian-style steamships. Though the Kickstarter campaign didn't have much in the way of screenshots or footage, plenty of concept art depicted the decor and luxurious ship interiors you'd slink about before sliding a knife into the back of someone's top hat.
Blazing Griffin claimed some backers felt shortchanged on regular updates and additional screenshots, but it felt its focus on speedily getting a working version up and running took more importance.
"As a small indie studio, we need to concentrate on our funded projects and judge how many resources we can justify assigning to a project like Full Steam Ahead," it wrote. "We loved the positive feedback about the concept pieces and certainly have the talent within the studio to produce in-game footage, but to spend valuable time on that, with no funds available, would not fit into any company's business model. The funds we asked for were enough to build a fully functional, and up to date, version of the original game's multiplayer with new maps, characters and weapons."
Full Steam Ahead's ship hasn't entirely sailed. It's now on Steam Greenlight (opens in new tab) as a concept rather than a full-blown entry for voting consideration to gather more support and community feedback. As for the future, Blazing Griffin might revisit Kickstarter or other funding methods after "completing development on a couple other projects" to establish a stronger pedigree for the studio.