Chris Roberts broke the Guinness Book of World Records for crowdfunding with the creation of his newest space adventure game Star Citizen, raising $55 million and counting.
Not only is this a record number for a video game, but a record for any crowdfunded project. Initially, Roberts wanted only $500,000 for his game, and he set up a way to collect funds via his own website. His website received a lot of attention, and unfortunately Roberts could not process the extremely high amount of donations he was receiving. He eventually used the popular crowdfunding campaign of Kickstarter as a backup. After acquiring $6.2 million dollars, he began doing all the fundraising on the Star Citizen site alone.
More than 608,000 backers have invested in Star Citizen, and it has raised $5 million in just the past two months alone. Considering that more than a whopping 11 thousand percent has been raised from its initial goals, many have wondered why Roberts does not stop asking for funding.
The answer is that Roberts' game is quite ambitious, and has stated that "Star Citizen isn't a normal game. It's not being developed like a normal game and it's not being funded like a normal game." A recent trailer of Star Citizen was unveiled at the popular annual Los Angeles gaming convention E3. The trailer shows a character who must carry cargo from one side of the galaxy to the other, and may have to defend himself in combat in the process. The trailer has similar narration and musical score to the famed but prematurely cancelled show Firefly, a show about a captain of a spaceship who travels the universe in search of shipping work and/or smuggling.
Roberts is a familiar name in video games has he has created Wing Commander, an early nineties game that featured never-before-seen spaceship combat that revolutionized the PC-gaming industry and led to many imitators. Wing Commander spawned many sequels, and even a motion picture. He says that the excess funding for Star Citizen will go to all kinds of new features such as "our ability to iterate in Arena Commander, to try different flight or targeting schemes, or add new game modes".
So far, there isn't any word on when Star Citizen will be released, or what platforms it will make its way to. It certainly has the potential to begin a new gaming fad such as popular space-related franchises like Halo and EVE Online, as well as compete with new contenders like Titanfall and Destiny.