Skyjacker Kickstarter Fails But Project Continues

By Adam Smith on July 23rd, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

A few hours ago, the Kickstarter for free-roaming space extravaganza, Skyjacker, failed to reach its funding target, falling short by just over $70,000. Rather than throwing up their hands and heading for the nearest watering hole to drown their sorrows, Digitilus have vowed to continue development. Having gained so many backers and communicating their ideas for the game to the wider world, they believe this is one of those failures that makes people stronger, so not at all like the many times I’ve ‘failed’ to recognise my low tolerance for gin. So development will continue, provided the community of of pledgers continue to spread the word and pass their money direct to Digitilus. Kickstarter might still have a role as well.

It’s now possible to donate directly, essentially pre-ordering the game, with the same tiers of rewards available as with the Kickstarter project. This means the shopfront at Digitilus’ website is rather complicated to look at, with lots of different bundles and editions with rather vague names. What’s the difference between a Pirate Edition and a Captain’s Bundle? Well, I hear the Captain pads his out with a crumpled up navigation chart, but there’s also something about a t-shirt.

The Complete Edition, for $15, provides the full game, DRM-free, with a soundtrack, so that’s simple enough. Any funding through the website will be immediate, which is good in that it can be used right away, but slightly worrying for several reasons. Perhaps the game will never be finished, if not enough is donated, and maybe the team might face some of the problems that afflicted The Indiestone when they started taking payments for an unfinished game.

The role of Kickstarter won’t be to fund the entire development in one concerted effort, with this being the second failure to reach the full development target, but there’s now a plan to break the process down into several stages. There are no firm details yet but the idea is to have smaller, achievable funding goals, such as porting all ships into the Starship Disassembly app to show their complexity, which would also boost development along by moving the designs into Unity. Essentially, looking for development targets that, when achieved, would provide something modular that could be given to pledgers in return for their money.

Skyjacker could be amazing and the demo, although more of a proof of concept than a fun thing in its own right, can be downloaded at this very moment. I wouldn’t expect a project that has shown evidence of so much work done to vanish completely when failing to reach funding, but it’ll be interesting to see how many pledgers are willing to give their money direct, and what the response to the staged Kickstarters will be.

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22 Comments »

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    AmateurScience says:

    Gin *is* a cruel mistress.

  2. coldvvvave says:

    Notch didn’t Tweet = project failed.

  3. Manco says:

    I like Skyjack’s features: customizability, modular destruction, lots of races,..
    But the artstyle is just too wonky for my taste, I realize dark grimness is all over, but this is space!
    There should be inaudible screaming in space, with lots of grim and grit.

    • kert says:

      Right guys, why not reduce the scope for a $100K game then ? You can always DLC later ..

  4. CobraLad says:

    Played demo. Im Ukrainian (same race that developers belong to) but voice acting made me laught hard. They really should change or remove those 80s voice acting and 90s CG.
    Also “Digitilus: the power to create and destroy”. They can create games, they can destroy games?

  5. caddyB says:

    Well, I hope they make it. It’s sad that their two campaigns failed, their game looks interesting.

  6. JohnP says:

    I was a backer, but I won’t be putting up money through their store. For me, Kickstarter making sure that projects either get all the money or nothing is one of the big parts of me being happy to fund.

    Also not sure about the modular kickstarter idea. I don’t care about them porting ships into some app to show that they can design ships, so I wouldn’t back that.

  7. Freud says:

    There should be a market for this kind of game, since no big studio are making them.

  8. MrTrent says:

    I’d pledged to the first and second kickstarter attempts, and i’m disappointed it didn’t make it, but i think i might just leave it now. I’m going to consider giving them some money directly, but i don’t think i’ll bother with the staged kickstarters. Not unless the confirm exactly how many they plan to do, so i can manage my pledges so i give them the same amount of money i originally wanted to give them.

  9. Didero says:

    [...]and maybe the team might face some of the problems that afflicted The Indiestone when they started taking payments for an unfinished game.

    What problems were those?

  10. Stormdancer says:

    I swear, one of the reasons they didn’t ‘make’ is their kickstarter home page was incredibly bad & confusing. I was in chat with a friend I sent their way, and it took her a long time to even figure out what the game was about.

    A good home page sells the game in the first paragraph. Tells you what it is in the second, and reminds you why it’s so awesome it in the third.

    Scatter a couple of pictures in there, maybe.

    THEN you provide details, and video.

    And you keep the updates on the updates page.

  11. Terragot says:

    Best thing for them.

    Make a game on an honest indie budget, stay indie or have a good publisher invest and produce what you can with the funds you have.

    I can’t help thinking a lot of these games will release with extremely little sales, as the people interested would have already pledged. I dunno, it’s unlikely but kickstarter is the classic too good to be true bandwagon.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      And yet it has worked for public broadcasting in the US for decades.

  12. Caiman says:

    You might also mention that the last third of the campaign, particularly when a lot of pledging happens right at the end, also coincided with the wallet-sapping Steam sale. Of course they didn’t realise this when the KS began, just unfortunate timing. Frankly this was far more interesting than that other space-sim KS project that did raise a lot of money successfully, being open-world for a start and also demonstrating talent, passion and commitment from the development team. But then nobody ever said the world made any sense.

  13. Iskariot says:

    I like the game. It has been a long time since something worthwhile happened in the Space shooter genre. I love the fact that you can mod your ship and I like the fast paced action. Also space is very beautiful and bright int his game and it is cool to have destroyable asteroids etc.
    They have very good design too which you can see in their spaceships and alien races.
    Personally I would prefer something new like this to happen in the Star Wars genre, but that seems to have died on us a long time ago.

    I would love this to become more than just a shooter, I would like their to be trading elements and RPG elements too. If this would become more like Elite or Privateer I would be very happy.