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Weta Workshop’s kickstarter goes off with a bang

23 Feb 17

Weta Workshop has created its first ever tabletop game, launching a campaign on Kickstarter that saw the game reaching its funding goal in just over four hours.

The game, GKR: Heavy Hitters, had a funding goal of US$100,000, and currently sits at $168,175 in funding with more than 1300 backers.

The game is set in the satirical, sports-mad world of Giant Killer Robots – GKR for short. Corporate-sponsored factions of GKRs battle in Earth’s abandoned cities for fame, fortune, and salvage rights.

It’s the brainchild of senior Weta Workshop concept designers Leri Greer, Christian Pearce and Paul Tobin. 

“This is a near-future Earth where the corporations rule. Most of humanity has been wiped out during an apocalyptic contagion event. The question we asked ourselves is: who had the resources and self-interest to survive? The answer was giant corporations. And what better way to keep your new consumers happy? Turn the greatest salvage operation in history into the biggest sport spectacle on the planet,” explains Paul Tobin, senior concept designer, Weta Workshop.

“In this world, consumerism is king…it’s not that different from our world today. That’s what we wanted to make fun of.”

Backers can choose how much they want to contribute to the Kickstarter, starting at just $US5. Pledge $US99, and backers will receive the complete game. Pledge more, and they’ll receive pilot minis and even model kits, allowing them to build and paint their own version of Weta Workshop’s Heavy Hitters. Those higher rewards are exclusive to Kickstarter in extremely limited numbers.

In June 2016, the Weta Workshop crew demoed the game for tested.com and Adam Savage, co-creator Mythbusters. The video, posted in January, has garnered over 140,000 views from board game enthusiasts and collectors.

Weta Workshop worked with American game developer Cryptozoic Entertainment. With lead game designer Matt Hyra at the helm, Cryptozoic oversaw the design of the gameplay, working collaboratively with the GKR team.

“Weta Workshop has more than 20 years’ experience making film collectibles, but we’ve never made a board game – so working with Cryptozoic has been amazing,” says Nicola Booth, production manager, Weta Workshop.

“Matt created a game which, at its core, was a lot of fun, and then worked with us to integrate the GKR world. We ended up with the perfect introduction to GKR: the humour, the story…it’s all there in the game, just as we had hoped,” she says.

“You know that you have created something truly special when every time you pass by the latest playtest, people are just cracking up laughing.”

The GKR: Heavy Hitters Kickstarter also marks Weta Workshop’s first foray into the world of crowd-funding.

“Kickstarter is home to an incredibly dedicated, enthusiastic community of board gamers, so for us it was a no-brainer,” adds Tobin.

“We’re stoked to bring this game to Kickstarter and can’t thank the community enough for all the support we’ve received so far.”

The Kickstarter runs for 30 days. Those keen to throw their hat in the ring can do so here

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