Earlier this year, Critical Role, a weekly Twitch-stream where a “bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors” play Dungeons & Dragons, launched a Kickstarter to raise funds to animate parts of their first campaign. Setting the goal at the bare minimum they would need to make an episode of animation, $750 000, it was completely obliterated in less than an hour. In the end, the community of fans dubbed “Critters” raised more than $11 million, currently being the 6th most funded project on Kickstarter of all time. On top of that, they also unlocked all possible stretch-goals, including a secret one that was delivered this October, where the audience was treated to watching CEO and cast member Travis Willingham go through a haunted house (warning: there are scary clowns).
Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina follows the party of adventurers known as Vox Machina as they make their way through the world of Exandria, saving it from the clutches of evil. Going on for 115 episodes, and a few one-shots on top of that, there was a lot of material that could have made it in to the animated series. Through a poll, the fans voted that they wanted to see what is known as “the Briarwood-arc,” the story of the party coming to the town of Whitestone to free it from the clutches of Lord and Lady Briarwood and return it to the hands of party member Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III.
Given this, the plan was to animate a two-part special with a brand new adventure for the group that takes place before the stream started, and eight episodes to make up the Briarwood-arc, making a full 10-episode season. When the kickstarter launched, it was not yet known what platform the show would be streaming on. The main focus on the updates from the kickstarter so far has been on development of the story and the work of Titmouse, the animation studio Critical Role has partnered with for the project.
However, it has just been announced that Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina will be following the line of the main show and will be streaming on Amazon Prime. Twitch, where Critical Role and a lot of the studio’s other programming is streamed weekly, is owned by Amazon. In the latest Kickstarter update, Critical Role says, “we’re absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to continue to grow and develop deeper roots within the Amazon ecosphere.” On top of that, the announcement included that there will be not one, but two seasons! The order from Amazon is for 24 episodes, spread over two seasons, which will make it possible to animate even more of Vox Machina.
Backers to the Kickstarter will still have a head start on the show, as they will have exclusive first access to the two-part special that opens the show. They will also be able to watch the entire first season for free. The cast will reprise their roles, and they will also be serving as executive producers along with Chris Prynoski from Titmouse, Brandon Auman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Sung Jin Ahn (Niko and the Sword of Light) will serve as supervising director. There has not yet been a release date set, but the show aims to release in late 2020.