There was never any doubt that the Kickstarter campaign for The Witcher: Ronin was going to be a success—it crushed its goal just a couple of hours after it went live. The whole thing struck me as entirely unnecessary, given the huge Witcher fan base and CD Projekt's virtually unlimited financial resources, but that didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of backers, who threw buckets of money at the project.
The campaign has now finished with a whopping €678,036—just shy of $800,000—in pledges, 7.5 times its original goal and enough to cover the cost of some nice bonuses, including variant covers, new short stories, a "premium quality cover," and a Witcher: Ronin bestiary. A black-and-white "classic manga version" of the main story will also be included with all pledges.
The Kickstarter campaign for The Witcher: Ronin — A Hard Copy Collector’s Edition Manga has ended!Thanks to your support not only did we fund the project in 2 hours and 16 minutes, but we reached 750% of our original goal!Thank you! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/jKFidMgfgXSeptember 27, 2021
The Witcher: Ronin will be available for purchase via conventional retail channels, but it won't be quite as swanky as the editions offered through Kickstarter. The basic "Standard Wanderer" edition will include the hardcover edition of the book, plus all applicable unlocked content, while the "Deluxe Wanderer" will also include a poster. That's why CD Projekt elected to go with a crowdfunding campaign for the book, despite being a multi-billion-dollar company.
"We wanted to see if this new concept for The Witcher would be something that fans would be interested in—and if so, to see just how special we can make this collector’s edition," the campaign says. "The more support for the comic, the more amazing new artists we can enlist to create stunning variant artwork—all showing off unique takes on this Japanese-inspired Witcher story."
"Kickstarter is an amazing channel that puts us in touch directly with fans and gives you the opportunity to inspire the project itself! We believe that Kickstarter will help The Witcher: Ronin reach its full potential, and give this concept the justice it deserves. We hope you agree, and are as excited as we are to see this project grow!"
Maybe I'm naively clinging to a vision of Kickstarter as a fundraising platform for scrappy upstarts who actually need the money, but I feel like similar results could have been achieved through a simple survey, or that CD Projekt could have done a second run for a collectors edition based on the response to the first. The Witcher: Ronin looks like an interesting take on the character and clearly there's a lot of desire for it, but the necessity of a Kickstarter campaign in this instance eludes me.
The variant cover art is very cool, though:
The Witcher: Ronin "pledge manager," which will enable backers to pay for shipping and purchase further add-ons, is expected to open in a few weeks. Deliveries of the book are expected to begin in January 2022.