Spirit Island – why no RPG?

From time to time I get asked why there isn’t a Spirit Island roleplaying game. I totally agree that Spirit Island could make a great RPG setting! It’s vibrant and distinctive, with its own history, lore, and feel. I’m pleased with the worldbuilding I’ve done, and I actually think the setting could support two very different RPGs – one centered around Dahan life and one centered around Spirits. (Each would appear in the other, of course, but they’d be different sorts of games.)
No such RPG(s) exist yet, though, and probably won’t soon, for a few reasons:
1. I’m still in the midst of worldbuilding. I’m partway into working on a Dahan-centric expansion, and am doing a fair bit of additional setting work as part of that. I really want that to be well squared away – including review by Indigenous cultural consultants – before even thinking about an RPG. (Especially one from a Dahan point of view.)
2. I don’t have time to interact with a Spirit Island RPG project right now. Even if I weren’t the one actually designing a Spirit Island RPG, I’d definitely want to be involved with the process to some degree! But right now I have way too little free time to add such a project to my plate. I don’t expect that to change for at least a few years, possibly longer.
3. I really don’t have time to actually work on a Spirit Island RPG. I do enjoy making RPGs, and have messed around with RPG design for nearly as long as I’ve designed board games. The prospect of personally making a Spirit Island RPG appeals a bit more than the prospect of supervising someone else making a Spirit Island RPG, particularly since (a) I know the setting really well and (b) I have a variety of opinions about RPGs, RPG systems, the types of things a Spirit Island RPG should/shouldn’t focus on, what systems might do a good job supporting the types of play experiences I’d hope such an RPG would deliver, etc. But of course, personally doing all that work takes even more time than just being involved.
The primary things occupying my time and attention right now are parenting and work on Spirit Island expansions. Sometime in the future, it seems likely those will use less of my time, at which point an RPG will become more plausible!
At that time, there’ll be a couple other considerations:
4. It’ll be competing with other projects. I have a lot of things hanging fire, and won’t be able to do them all at once.
5. If I’m not doing it myself, I’m apt to look for Indigenous designersespecially for a Dahan-perspective RPG. Dahan culture may be fictional, but even so, Indigenous designers are likely to bring a perspective to the game that others might not.
6. If I’m not doing it myself, I’m apt to look for designers with compatible visions. E.g., if a designer really wants to make a Spirit Island RPG with lots of crunchy tactical combat, it’s likely we’ll both just end up frustrated.
So, that’s where things stand. If you find this state of affairs disappointing, I apologize. If you’re an Indigenous RPG designer and want to get in touch about maybe collaborating in some hypothetical future, please feel free to drop me a line at ereuss+SIRPG@(that email service run by Google) – I can’t promise anything, but I’ll be happy to hear from you! And if you just want to get notified if a Spirit Island RPG happens, I do have a low-bandwidth mailing list – there’s a signup link in the right-nav. Cheers!