I spoke with Kristina from Krillbite Studio about their Kickstarter success 'Among The Sleep'. From this interview you'll get insights on how their Kickstarter campaign went and also how their campaign was lucky enough to go viral due to coming up with a unique concept.
Who Are You?
Krillbite Studio, founded in 2011. We are 11 people and we’re called Adrian, Bjørnar, Anders, Karoline, Torstein, Rob, Martin, Jon Cato, Trond, Alexanna, and Kristina.
What’s your Game?
We have made Among the Sleep which is a first-person horror game in which you play as a two-year-old child. You wake up one night and find the house dark and empty.. You then meet a talking teddy bear that tells you something bad is going on.
Right now we are working on Mosaic. It’s point-and-click adventure-esque and tells a story about a person in a boring, receptive way of life. He is consumed by work and never does anything outside of routine. One day all of this changes when really strange things start happening to him..
How did you come up with the idea/concept for this game?
With Among the Sleep, our game designer had a dream where he was a toddler, running down a set of stairs and hiding underneath them from a monster that was chasing him. From that, we figured we wanted a horror game featuring a toddler.
With Mosaic, the story is inspired by the way of life many people today are living. It is also a reflection of the feelings when we were crunching on Among the Sleep. Feelings of being stuck, not knowing when it’s going to end.
How long did it take to build? What was that process like?
Among the Sleep started out as a college project, so with everything it took approximately four years to make.
We’re in alpha with Mosaic and can tell more later.
Have you released a game previously? If so, how did it go?
The release of Among the Sleep went well! In 2013 we had a Kickstarter that was successful and made development much easier for us. We were then able to release the game in May 2014. After the PC release, we did the porting to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (porting is not recommended – please develop for all platforms simultaneously). We have over 250,000 sales and it’s still selling well. It was a bit of luck and a bit of skill. We were lucky with the timing of a horror game, and we were skillful in developing an original idea.
What was it like using Kickstarter to fund Among the Sleep? What would have happened if you didn’t reach the funding goal?
It was really great using Kickstarter! It made it possible for us to quit our part-time jobs and work full-time on Among the Sleep. Without Kickstarter, we probably would have used another year to develop the game. We are really grateful that so many people believed in us!
How did you get so much exposure to your game? (Luck? Networking? Advertising?)
Yes, to all of them. When we released the teaser for Among the Sleep it went viral – which is kind of pure luck. It was a super interesting concept that none that done before and people were super intrigued by that. It was while horror was super popular, and played loads on huge Let’s Play channels. The teaser was therefore talked about a lot, and by this, we were contacted by more people that wanted to talk about it and the ball was rolling. We also did loads of networking while at different conferences.
Is this your full time job?
Yes, it is a full-time job for all of us.
Have you used an external publisher before?
What did the publisher do for your game? Was it worth it?
We used Soedesco for publishing Among the Sleep physically. Absolutely worth it. They are super professional, and publishing physically is a huge amount of work!
Did you have a marketing budget? If so, what was worth it? What was a waste?
Yes, we kind of did. We had people handling marketing and they were paid. We never bought ad spaces, but we travelled to a lot of conferences to talk to press and publishers. It was not a waste – but don’t buy banner ads, those are a waste. It is worth it to have someone to contact press, to answer fan emails, to arrange trips, and others.
Do you rely solely on game purchases for profit?
No, we have also received funding from the government.
What was/is your marketing plan/strategy?
Be open, be personal, be present.
What advice did you take 5 years ago? Is it still true today?
Always triple your estimates for how long things will take. Still true.
Talk to everyone at conferences – you never know who you might meet. But don’t waste time, you should know after five minutes if this talk is good for business or not. Still true.
What advice would you pass on to developers who are looking to launch their game?
Test early, test often – test outside the office! Marketing is different for every game. There isn’t an infallible solution to launching a game and making sure it will do well, so much is relative. But listen to those with more experience.
Do you have a dev log?
What’s your favourite element of the game that everyone should know about?
Why should I play it?
Because it has a gripping story that will leave you in thoughts.
Where do you get inspiration to build games or come up with an idea?
Everywhere! Dreams, own experiences, and conversations.
For aspiring gamers reading this who want to work in the games industry/make games, what advice can you give them?
Don’t go into the industry because you love playing games, go into the industry because you love making art, sound, do great game design, or can program really well.
What marketing information did you wish you knew before launching your game?
Before launching, the marketing job hasn’t even begun.
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