Even as you read these words, it’s possible that crowdfunding history is being made.
Specifically, Kickstarter history for the most money raised on the crowdfunding site for a comic-related project. Previously, that record belonged to Rich Burlew’s The Order of The Stick, which managed to raise $1,254,120 in order to publish a number of out-of-print comics in February of this year, describing the success of his funding drive as something that revealed “this huge geeky safety net out there that I didn’t know about this whole time.” Now, however, it’s looking as if another webcomic-related project is about to take the crown, as Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck continues to rack up pledges as a truly startling rate.
Only three days into its Kickstarter drive, the Homestuck campaign has already met its $700,000 goal to develop a videogame based on the long-running webseries that started as a parody of adventure games, and is en route to demolish Burlew’s record without breaking a sweat. For those unfamiliar with Hussie’sHomestruck, the creator describes it as “an illustrated, semi-animated story on the internet [that] was specifically designed to exist there, to explore the potential of the medium, and evolve through reader participation.” The story revolves around four friends who agree to play an adventure game online together with, as Hussie puts it, “major consequences.”
“Saying anything more about the plot here would probably be getting in too deep,” he says in an in-depth description of the multiple-formatted series. “It gets fairly complicated. One of the goals was to begin with extremely simple, mundane circumstances, and allow reader participation combined with some preplanned elements to grow the story quickly and spontaneously, into something much bigger, more dynamic, and more intricate as a natural result of this approach.”
Another result of the level of reader participation is, apparently, the sense of ownership and involvement that readers feel when it comes to the idea of continuing the Homestuck experience past its initial serialization. Understandably for a series based in part on gaming culture, parts of Homestuck have already been translated into short-form games, but Hussie’s plan was to extend the universe of his series into a stand-alone game that goes far beyond its original incarnation. “It’ll be a little more like a spinoff than an adaptation,” he wrote. “Something that draws from the elements already established in the vast Homestuck universe, applied more selectively to a shorter, self-contained story. Homestuck’s structure is very open, which suits a highly exploratory piece of freeform media with a huge cast and many silly tangents.”
The idea has already struck a chord with the Internet, obviously, with close to 9,000 backers funding the project at time of writing and 28 days remaining on the campaign’s clock. Whether it’s the concept of translating narrative into a free-form immersive game that’s so appealing, or the adventure game comic genre (Order of The Stick was also a comic that dealt with adventure game tropes, interestingly enough), it’s clear that there’s a sweet spot somewhere in Homestuck‘s DNA. Personally, I suspect it’s this video: