Kickstarter Records Broken

An unlikely group is breaking Kickstarter records

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Kickstarter Records Broken

Colin Bunn, Online Editor

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Kickstarter records were broken yesterday by an unlikely source.

Critical Role, a group of famous Hollywood voice actors launched a Kickstarter. For more than four years this group of voice actors has sat down every week and played the tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons. They have accumulated millions of views on Youtube and Twitch with over 40 million minutes of content watched.

Their group includes Mathew Mercer, Ashley Johnson, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Liam O’Brien, Sam Rigel, Marisha Ray and Taliesin Jaffe on a weekly basis. Their combined filmography includes TV shows and Movies such as “Avengers Assemble,” “Spider-Man”, “Mr. Mom”, “Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, “Naruto” and “Transformers” as well as video games like “Overwatch,” “The Last of Us”, “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and “Fallout,” among hundreds of other recognizable names.

Over the years the show has attracted other Hollywood stars:

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Joe Manganiello- Deathstroke in the DC Movie Universe, True Blood, CSI, and more
Wil Wheaton – Star Trek: The Next Generation and other movies
Felica Day – Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other TV shows/movies
Chris Hardwick – TV Host
Will Friedle – Boy Meets World
Patrick Rothfuss – Author of the award-winning novel The Name of the Wind
Khary Peyton – The Walking Dead
Ashley Burch – Video Games such as Fallout 4, Borderlands, Life is Strange and more
Deborah Ann Woll – Netflix’s Daredevil, Punisher and Defenders, True Blood, CSI, The Mentalist and more

They have garnered incredible critical and fan support while outputting more hours of content in their first season then all the Simpson’s episodes combined (more than 350 hours worth).

At 1 P.M. on March 4th, the group released a Kickstarter to create a 22 minute animated special. This special, titled The Legend of Vox Machina, a name derived from the original campaign of Critical Role, had a goal of 750,000 dollars.

This goal was met within an hour the Kickstarter raised 1 million dollars, breaking a Kickstarter record. Throughout the day, the total continued to climb at a meteoric pace. Not even twenty-four hours later the total sits at over 4 million dollars.

The length of the animated special has ballooned to a whopping 88 minutes. To put that into context, the average animated movie is between 90 and 100 minutes.

Critical Role continues to release statements saying that the Kickstarter is not over. More rewards are coming as the money continues to be dumped into the project. Additional rewards are expected to be released soon.

This success shows two things. First, the power of Kickstarters to influence media. Consumers now have a direct line to creators and are influencing projects. Videos games, to books, movies, tv shows and any other imaginable creative work can be funded through fans. This allows media that regular companies would never create because of risk come to life.

Second, games like Dungeons and Dragons are continuing to take over popular culture. The signs are present. In 2017, the game had its highest sales year ever is exploding in popularity. Celebrities like Stephen Cobert, Joe Manganiello, and the cast of Critical Role are pushing the hobby to new heights. Even popular shows such as Stranger Things have brought Dungeons and Dragons into the popular consciousness.

With this success, the entire tabletop roleplaying game category of games is growing. Call of Cthulhu, a TTRPG in the vein of Dungeons and Dragons, has gotten its own Video Game with another, titled the Sinking City, to be released later in 2019.

This perfect storm might create opportunities for future hobbies to expand into new media. As the dollar amount continues to climb, more and more doors might be opening across the entertainment industry.

What is happening is unprecedented in its speed. Critical Role is paving a new path for media.