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Spirit of Sail Post Mortem

A time long ago… before Lithic was even a thought in the developers mind… Flintlock Studios had a dream… and that dream was Spirit of Sail.

Around a year ago, Flintlock Studios was in a very different position than it is now. There was no office, there were no funky chairs and there was no marketing department. Tom and Jon would meet on a regular basis in Tom and Beki’s living room (Beki was off working on other projects) and discuss the idea of making a video game.

The idea of Spirit of Sail was born, a multiplayer RPG set in the Caribbean circa 1720-1750. We won’t go into detail here but if you are truly interested in reading about the concept of the game, you can view the failed Kickstarter here or view the video below.

Spirit of Sail went onto Kickstarter at the end of October 2013 with the aim of raising £55,000 for the project. Unfortunately it was not successful having only raised £2326 from 11 backers. We learnt a lot from trying to run a successful Kickstarter campaign and hope that by sharing some of the mistakes we made, others out there won’t do the same as we did.

Why our Campaign Failed
One of the major problems of the Kickstarter campaign was finances. Now that might sound odd, because the whole point of Kickstarter is to raise funds. However at this point Flintlock Studios had nothing. Some of our own wages and that was it. We were hoping that Kickstarter would help us to build the game from scratch, and so for the Kickstarter campaign we had very little work to show backers. What we needed was money to have got the game to a stage in development where we could show gameplay and then used the money raised from Kickstarter to develop the game further.

Another reason that Flintlock Studios fell at the Kickstarter hurdle was the lack of marketing. No marketing was really done beforehand and although a press release and posts to social media/forums happened with the Kickstarter launch, there had been no real effort to gain fans/followers before the campaign who would help to drive it forward.

Tom and Jon also grossly underestimated the amount of time that is needed for a Kickstarter campaign. In their own words they thought they would be able to launch the campaign and then aside from answer comments that came up, it would run itself. They did not realise that during the month of the campaign that they would have to drop a large amount of game development time to work on running the Kickstarter.

What we have learnt
We realised that we needed to secure funds from other methods, which we did, and we also came to the conclusion that Spirit of Sail was not a viable project at this point. Our focus is now solely on Lithic which we are able to get to an early access stage with the funding we have.
We also employed a Beki. She offered her marketing services to Flintlock Studios but has also taken on the roles of admin and accounts. By having Beki on board to do all of this, it means Tom and Jon can just focus on making the actual game. (apart from when Beki harasses them for screenshots!) It means that if we were ever to go back to Kickstarter, or when we run the campaign to get our game on Greenlight, Beki can oversee everything in relation to it allowing the Devs to still be working on the game development.

Spirit of Sail certainly isn’t finished with. It’s just on the shelf at the moment whilst our focus is on Lithic. It’s something that one day in the future we would like to be able to bring to release, when we can dedicate the time and man power that the game truly needs to make it a successful one.

If you would like to talk to any of the team about Spirit of Sail and the Kickstarter that was never to be, we've got a thread on the Forum.