[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]henmue 3 finished its month on Kickstarter with a massive $6,333,295 in funding. There’s no doubt that this is quite the impressive number, and far greater than their goal of just $2,000,000. In fact, it is such a high amount of funding that it has taken the position of “most funded video game on Kickstarter” away from recently-crowned Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. They had raised $5,545,991 to become the previous record maker. All of this proves that people really adore games they grew up with and now seem to have the money to put down hundreds of bucks to ensure they can play at least one more title in their favorite franchise. Congratulations are owed to Shenmue 3 for managing to still rack up a huge sum of money, even despite some of the issues the campaign brought upon itself (as well as the outside confusion). Sure, they didn’t get that fabled $10 million, but it’s far more than many expected the campaign to raise.
What does it mean now that Shenmue 3 is the top of the video game heap on Kickstarter? At the moment, I’m not sure. It makes sense, though, considering how many years gamers have been clamoring for Yu Suzuki to return to Shenmue. Are there any other games out there which have a similar degree of obsessive devotion? Probably. If any other title has a similar degree of rampaging fans then it should be able to remove this game from its Kickstarter throne. With that said, all of this applies to funding through Kickstarter explicitly. There are still other games out there which have raised far more than Shenmue 3 both during their campaign and long after the fact.
Interestingly, Shenmue 3 didn’t boot up a secondary funding source as most other campaigns launch during their prime funding period. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, for example, raised $213k via PayPal/Stripe as the Kickstarter wound down. Unfortunately, they seem to provide no running ticker of funds raised through PayPal so it’s impossible to know what they’re at right now. All I know is that they are still accepting “slacker backers” payment which means they could have generated even more money since. They may not have raised up to an accumulated $6.3, but the values may be closer than we think. Here’s hoping they do eventually provide an update on that funding so we can get a better full view of Bloodstained’s crowdfunding initiative.
Of course, there’s also the elephant in the room that is Star Citizen. At this point in time it is hard to believe that anything will ever come close, unless you count Minecraft as a “crowdfunded” initiative during its extended alpha and beta periods. Even despite a recent high-profile refunding, Star Citizen has accrued $85 million total via crowdfunding. This number has in fact gone up by one million dollars since we took a look at it last month when Bloodstained became Kickstarter king. There is a serious devotion to this unfinished game the likes of which seem completely unreal. Success is success, but damn if Star Citizen is not the most outrageous success of the bunch.
My belief is that if Shenmue 3 had opened up external funding methods during the campaign it would have been in an even higher position by the end. I’m unsure what kept them from doing so during the campaign to begin with, but during their 24 hour end stream they did confirm PayPal is incoming. With PayPal/Stripe/etc options open they will be able to generate even more fan funding, so hopefully they do manage to strike while the iron is still hot.