After four weeks and just $3,000, Raylight Games is cancelling its Illo Kickstarter. Here’s why

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Our Illo Kickstarter project had settled in, received more ‘likes’ on Facebook, received some very good PR coverage and edged ever closer to its funding target. We’d maintained our social updates of the coolest artwork, pushed our community to share everything we put out and everyone on the team has been looking at the illo Kickstarter page every 5-10 minutes (that’s an average) to see how much more money has been pledged; it’s become an obsession of sorts.

But what we’ve learnt more than anything else throughout this entire process is that your project will either connect with people and build momentum and awareness on its own, or it’ll be an uphill slog. Illo – birth of the cool has had to sit in the second camp unfortunately.

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing other Kickstarter videogame projects getting funding (sorry, when it’s your baby, it’s the most wonderful thing in the world and everyone should back you), but then you look a bit closer and a pattern begins to emerge. Our perception of Kickstarter has changed slightly; before we saw the site as a platform/forum for those with unique and innovative ideas to get funding to ‘kickstart’ their project – we thought Illo fitted that bill perfectly. But now you need a little more than just a cool idea.

Having a famous IP helps enormously, as does a famous name or studio behind the project. But also, the genre of the game has become more important. When Raylight first looked at Kickstarter back in March 2012, the main games being funded were PC adventure games, because traditional publishers weren’t interested – but now we see FPS’s, RPG’s and so on – people seem more comfortable backing a familiar ‘style’ of game. Another point we learned is the tricky nature of the actual funding target you ask for. We asked for $270,000 to develop a game right from concept, through development, and to market. Not much in the grand scheme of things, but we were also competing with videogame projects which were almost complete and hence needed much less funding.

All in all, Illo – Birth Of The Cool has struggled on Kickstarter to get the funding traction it’s needed and therefore we’ve made a decision. We’re pulling Illo off of Kickstarter and regrouping.

We don’t feel that we can reach our funding target based on the frequency of funding we’re getting to date. If we’re honest, this isn’t defeat (hey, we’ve got nearly $3,000 pledged, only another $267,000 to go!), we’ve just realised that for a project like Illo, Kickstarter may not be the best route for us to get the game made.

So the plan now is to go back to a more traditional route of getting games made – through a publisher. Before we began the Kickstarter journey, a lot of publishers expressed interest in the Illo concept but wanted a demo first before committing to the project. It’s our intention now to go back to crowdfunding, but instead of asking for a full development budget, we’ll go for a three to four level demo budget which would be considerably cheaper route, one where our backers would get an ‘Illo lite’ version of the game, and potentially the final game too. Now together with a demo, an active Illo-loving community and really great PR coverage (this diary included), we might be going back to where we started, but we’ll be a lot stronger.

Once we decide our strategy, we’ll let everyone know via our Social networks. Illo – Birth Of The Cool has left the building, but he’s just got into a cab to join another party down the road.

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