GamesBeat

Freddie Wong’s Video Game High School hits crowdfunding target — and sets a record

Freddie Wong and Felicia Day at Dice Awards.

Above: Freddie Wong and Felicia Day at Dice Awards.

Image Credit: AIAS

Freddie Wong has a record-setting budget that he can use to finish his Video Game High School webseries for his third and last season.

Wong’s company RocketJump has completed a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo with more than $900,907 raised during a month-long campaign. The goal was to hit $750,000 to gather enough money to finish the sci-fi series about competitive gamers who attend a high school all about video games. In fact, the campaign set a record for a crowdfunded web series on Indiegogo.

VGHS final season

During an interview with GamesBeat, Wong said that the final season will have a number of surprises, including the death of a major character. The campaign shows that crowdfunding and web video are a good match, as Wong and his partner, Matt Arnold, have now been able to crowdfund all three seasons of the show. The episodic series has more than 64 million views after two seasons, and RocketJump raised more than $1 million last year in a previous campaign.

Wong described the show to us as “Harry Potter, but with video games, magic, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Indiegogo said that the VGHS campaign beat out the previous record of $872,133, raised by Bee & Puppy Cat.

Wong owes his existence to the Internet, so it is only fitting he is raising money from online fans. He has become a YouTube celebrity with his funny game-savvy web shows. Video Game High School is a long-form web series about a high school where students study only video games. Like Felicia Day, Wong is one of gaming’s home-grown celebrities.

The show is now distributed via Blu-ray, DVD, iTunes, Netflix, Microsoft Xbox Live, and Sony’s PlayStation Network. Variety magazine named it the “best Web series of 2013.” Game designer Cliff Bleszinski (the creator of the blockbuster Gears of War sci-fi shooter series) and Spider-Man creator Stan Lee have made cameos in the series.

Video Game High School episode 1

The school is set in an alternate reality where professional video gaming is the biggest spectator sport. It follows Brian D, a pro gamer who attends VGHS. The third season will have six episodes and finish the series.With the new funding, the next season will have an orchestral score, 5.1 surround sound, and a computer-generated effects like a “troll monster.”

Wong said he has been absorbing ideas from the fans. The last season had a couple of plot points that crowdfunding donors influenced. The character known as The Law, who is the most popular character in the show, was framed for cheating in multiplayer games. Fans came up with that idea, Wong said.

Wong said there are new characters in season three, such as the captain of the rival Napalm team. He made a cameo appearance at the end of the last season, and he has a bigger role now. A couple of new characters may also appear in season three, Wong said.

The show will begin shooting in March.

As an aside, Wong said he chose Indiegogo over Kickstarter because it had a more international audience (the show gets more viewers from overseas as well). It also allows fundraisers to keep money raised even if a campaign doesn’t hit a target. With Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing. But with Indiegogo, if you opt to give Indiegogo a higher 9 percent fee (instead of 4 percent), you can take whatever money is pledged, said Marc Hofstatter, the head of film at Indiegogo, in an interview.

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