Back in 2006, a somewhat groundbreaking title called The Ship: Murder Party was released for PC. Such a strong community surrounded it that it lead to The Ship, as an IP, coming to be owned by Blazing Griffin. With a view to creating a direct sequel, The Ship: Full Steam Ahead, they’ll be launching a Kickstarter project to raise funding on the launch day of the UK Kickstarter site (31st October). The goal? A cool $200,000. A UK development team waiting for a UK version of the popular fund-raising site to ask for money in US dollars? Well, not exactly, that’s just a best guess of how much the core game will cost to make. As the UK Kickstarter site will likely insist on Pounds Sterling, they’ll choose the nearest equivalent based on the exchange rate at the time. Naturally enough, the more in excess of the target raised, the more game they can make. What sorts of things will “more” be? We’ll have to wait and see.
Away from financial concerns, Blazing Griffin are hosting a meet and greet where journalists get to talk to the team and peruse the breathtaking concept art. Taking place on the 25th October, the company is comprised of such fine and accommodating fellows that they’re happy to make arrangements for busy journalists in the weeks following.
The game itself is to have a steampunk feel to it, resplendent with a flying ship and elaborately costumed character models and stunning backdrops. Given the IP, we’ll at the very least see a multiplayer game for PC and Mac in that setting, with additional content and features of the initial product being paid for, as mentioned above, out of any funding over the target.
The modular design strategy of the company makes it possible to tailor the amount of content to the funding and put the game into people’s hands sooner. The inference here is that, however much content is or isn’t in the final game, it won’t feel like there are gaping holes where bits of the game should be. Moreover, it’s also going to mean Blazing Griffin work fully to meet the demands of the community.
As Stephen Hewitt, Blazing Griffin’s Head of Design, put it, “It’s about looking at games as a service.”
What are Blazing Griffin literally going to be doing for the foreseeable future then? To start with, getting Distant Star finished is the current priority, which gives the Kickstarter for Full Steam Ahead a chance to get going. The development time will be proportional to how much money is raised, although it’s expected the finished product will take a few years.
Always upbeat, the team’s jovial sense of openness and community extends to social media too, with Facebook pages, an official Twitter account, Steam community and Blazing Griffin’s own site forums. And let’s not forget the captain of the ship himself is available on Twitter (@TheShip_FSA). You can tell they really want to engage with their community here.
It’s probably Phil Harris that best encapsulated the company philosophy: “An IP is not just for Christmas.” As funny a way of putting it as that is, surely it’s music to the ears of The Ship’s fans?