The Legend of Vox Machina: How Kickstarter funded the new D&D series

January 28, 2022

The Legend of Vox Machina is finally here, but how did a Kickstarter campaign for the Dungeons and Dragons animated series break records?

If you have a good idea but need funding for it, Kickstarter remains one of the best platforms to find potential backers.

From food and comics, to fashion and video games, the platform offers creators a chance to acquire the much-needed cash directly from the fans who want the product.

Today, Amazon Prime Video released their latest original animated series, The Legend of Vox Machina, but how did a Kickstarter campaign lead to the now-viral D&D series?

The Legend of the Vox Machina Kickstarter…

On March 4, 2019, the cast of the Critical Role web series published a Kickstarter campaign for a new television series titled “Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special.”

At the start of the campaign, the target was to raise $750,000 for a one-shot 22-minute-long animated special that would serve as a prequel to the next portion of the web series. However, as reported by CNBC, it took less than one hour for the Kickstarter campaign to reach a whopping $1 million!

By the end of the day, this figure rose to between $3.5 million and $4.3 million, with the animated special turning into an 88-minute long feature.

The target amount and subsequent projects had to be expanded several times throughout the campaign, with 10 feature-length episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina series being completely funded through Kickstarter.

By the time the Kickstarter campaign ended, the Dungeons and Dragons-inspired series had earned over $11.3 million with over 88,000 individual backers from around the world.

According to IGN, at the time of publishing, this makes The Legend of Vox Machina one of the fastest-growing Kickstarter campaigns in history and the most-funded Kickstarter for a television or movie project.  

“It’s something that will live on, we hope, long after we’re done with our twitch show. And now that we have 10 episodes guaranteed, we’re thrilled that we get to share a complete story, the entire arc, with a mass audience. The show was already going to be great, but now it will truly be epic.” – Sam Riegel, via IGN.

The Kickstarter campaign for The Legend of Vox Machina captured the attention of Dungeons and Dragons and Critical Role fans from around the world.

However, the campaign also attracted various mainstream media outlets to cover the record-breaking story and most importantly, the attention of Amazon Prime Studios.

In November 2019, just a few months after the Kickstarter campaign was launched, Amazon Studios announced that they had acquired the digital streaming rights for The Legend of Vox Machina.

They also announced that they were adding their own vast resources to the project, which resulted in two 12-episode seasons being ordered.

Speaking with Polygon, cast member Marisha Ray said that “Amazon was very open from the beginning and was interested on their side of it as well in really expanding out what adult animation meant.”

“We were telling a story that enticed us and felt natural for us as adults, and when it came to adapting it we didn’t want to relinquish any of that vision. They [Amazon Studios] wanted it to be authentic to the story we told, and in order to do that it had to remain [an] adult animated series. And thankfully, we never had to pull away from that.” – Sam Riegel, via Polygon.

Fans hope TLVM boosts Critical Role…

In a similar manner to how Netflix’s Arcane series brought League of Legends to a new global audience in 2021, there is some serious expectations that The Legend of Vox Machina can do the same for D&D.

However, fans of the series are being more specific with how they hope the series will impact the wider community, especially concerning the original Critical Role series.

Critical Role has been a staple of internet culture for the past several years, with its audience only growing with each new campaign – streamed on their Twitch and YouTube channels, as well as their official website.

As many fans are pointing out, The Legend of Vox Machina needs no prior knowledge of either the original role-playing game or the Critical Role team.

In this manner, there is hope that the new Amazon Prime series can bring D&D and Critical Role to a new global audience.

Tom Llewellyn

Tom covers everything from anime and manga to Korean dramas and gaming. Tom boasts an undergraduate degree in both Animal Behaviour from Aberystwyth University and a postgraduate degree Science Communications from UWE Bristol and has over 5 years’ experience in writing about the weird and wonderful world of global entertainment.

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