Post-apocalyptic survival shooter, Areal, has been plagued with problems since its Kickstarter began. This culminated in Areal's suspension on Kickstarter yesterday afternoon.
Developer West Games released a statement explaining the situation last night, and it looks like the suspension is not temporary. The crowd-funding drive begins anew, this time on the Areal website.
West Games is unable to find out why Kickstarter suspended the project, and is also unable to contact backers due to the suspension. “Our Kickstarter was suspended without any warning,” wrote founder Eugene Kim. “As per Kickstarter's policy, we cannot contact them to find out why.”
However, elsewhere in the statement, Kim writes “After vice news wrote an article about us, people started contributing every minute, but Kickstarter was afraid of the controversy surrounding our project, so they suspended funding.” This might be speculation on his part.
The rest of the statement is a defence of the project. He reiterates that West Games is made up from ex-STALKER devs, but claims that as there are other developers from the series working on new projects, they felt threatened and attempted to stop the success of the crowd-funding effort. “The fact is that there are a lot of companies that make their livelihood on STALKER, so when we showed up on the scene, they saw us as a threat and did everything that they could to stop us.”
Kim also claims, again, that Areal has been the victim of an information war between Ukraine and Russia. “People also need to take into account that Ukrainians and Russians are in an information war right now, and as a Ukrainian developer, we were subject to constant hostility from Russian Kickstarter accounts (we even got death threats).”
It sounds like the plot of a pulpy spy novel, if spies cared about video game projects on Kickstarter. It’s unlikely that the truth will ever be clear, but it’s certainly been bizarre to follow.
If you were a backer and still have faith in the project, you can pledge money again on the official Areal site, using PayPal. As there’s no counter showing pledges there, it’s not clear how close Areal is to its target since the new campaign began last night.
Will you be chipping in, or has the controversy left a bad taste in your mouth?