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A number of crowdfunding campaigns have raised substantial sums over the past year or two, including $10 million for the Pebble watch and $13 million for the Coolest cooler. But the Star Citizen space-simulator game has raised so much from fans of creator Chris Roberts that it makes both of those look like a child’s lemonade stand — this week, the team behind the game announced that it had crossed the $63 million mark, and the money is still rolling in.
Star Citizen began with a Kickstarter campaign almost exactly two years ago, in November of 2012, a campaign that initially sought to raise $500,000 and wound up raising more than four times that much before it was closed. Roberts — who created a number of popular games, including Wing Commander and Starlancer — moved the campaign to his own website and started raising money through his company Cloud Imperium Games, and has continued to break new records for crowdfunding.
The campaign blew through the $37 million mark in January of this year, which means it has raised almost the same amount in the past eleven months as it did in the previous two years. Every time it has broken through a funding target, Star Citizen has added new features as a reward for fans, and this time it added two new starship models to the game — which is designed to have a combination of single-player and massively multi-player elements inside a single game, spread across a giant universe of planets.
If the campaign breaks through $64 million, which it appears almost certain to do fairly quickly, Roberts said that the game would add a completely new feature: namely, virtual pets that game players will be able to add to their customized spaceships:
“From Jones the Cat in Alien to the Battlestar Galactica’s Daggit, pets have a place onboard starships… and we want to give you that option in Star Citizen. Expect traditional terrestrial options, plus anything exotic we can dream up in the Star Citizen universe!”
As the game has evolved from its initial vision, Roberts has used the community of more than half a million fans he has built up around Star Citizen as a sounding board for potential features in the game, getting future users to vote on the elements that they want to see incorporated into spaceships or the overall game environment. As it says on the website:
[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”Becoming a part of Star Citizen now not only gives you the game when it’s complete, but offers you a unique experience unlike any other game in the past. Our website features daily updates; including project discussions, concept art, fiction, and contact with the development team themselves. Become a backer and have your voice heard with a level of access unprecedented in the history of games.”[/blockquote]