A new playable race, fossils, and starter pets will be added to the game on release due the team reaching all 3 of its crowdfunding stretch goals.
Starbound, the space-themed spiritual successor to 2D pixel-art sandbox RPG Terraria, opened pre-orders earlier this year, in a crowdfunding-style fundraiser. A modest stretch goal of $500,000 was posted, promising the inclusion of the Novakids, a brand new playable race, if the funds were raised. They raised the half a million and then some, recently hitting $1 million mark in total pre-orders and reaching the Novakid stretch goal, as well as two additional goals at $750,000 and $1 million: fossils and starter pets.
The Novakids are described as "interstellar gas-bag people", having no real home planet or point of origin. The race is styled after old-west style gunslingers, and they will be added to the base game and be playable upon release. They will also be fully integrated into the game's lore. "Since the Novakids have a short memory (and attention span), diplomatic relations can be strained at times; because of their completely different composition to other lifeforms, Novakids are sometimes unable to grasp the nuances of interracial social interactions, and have thus attained a slightly dubious reputation amongst other races."
Fossils are the remains of long dead creatures scattered throughout Starbound's universe. They're extremely valuable, very rare and very difficult to dig up. You'll need special tools to clear the dirt and unearth a fossil. Removing the wrong piece of dirt could cause the fossil to crumble into dust. Successfully removed fossils can be placed as trophies. Some of them will offer "special properties" and the developer hints that the it may be possible to revive the long-dead creatures.
Starter pets are small, non-playable, non-combat companion pets that players can choose to start the game with. They will be available in addition to to the alien creatures you can capture and have fight alongside you as you travel through space. Each race will have its own unique, fully customizable pets that can accompany players on their journey through the stars.
If you're worried about these stretch goals hindering the game's development, developer Chucklefish has stated that "We'll be using the extra money to pay for additional artists to create their assets, so their creation won't delay development at all." The game is currently slated for a 2013 release date.