Update 3: A post in the Survariam forums by Vostok Games PR Manager Joe Willburn claims that the Areal Kickstarter's claim of employing ex-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro Last Light developers is fraudulent. Willburn states that:
"We have contacted GSC's lawyers regarding this fraudulent claim of being the developers of Stalker and Metro Last Light. Please do all you can do ensure people know these claims are false."
Vostok Games rose from the ashes of GSC Game World after the cancellation of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, after GSC's dissolution in 2011.
Source: Survarium Forums
Update: Despite our reservations about the project, Areal's Kickstarter has now gone live. Check out the Kickstarter for yourself and make sure you're aware of the state of the game before you donate!
Update 2: As pointed out by kin333x in the comments, the goal has since been raised to $50,000, which still seems insanely low giving the scope and size of the project. Still, it's a change, which shows that the team is at least listening. I think the small adjustment shows more that the Kickstarter creators either have little faith in their project to succeed, or fear to request too much money should the project ultimately fail for one reason or another.
What happens when you take a group of the core developers behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise and put them into a new studio with headquarters in Las Vegas? How about big ideas? West Games has been formed, and West Games' first title revealed. Introducing Areal, an post-apocalyptic, open world, horror and survival shooter. West Games is hoping that pitch line alone is enough for folk to crowdfund their game. And lets be honest, it's going to work.
The premise of the pre-production title should make gamers wary, however. Very little, if any, gameplay from Areal was shown during the Kickstarter pitch. Rather, the pitch includes a ton of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. footage, but without sourcing or referencing the game itself as the footage is played. Then the real crux, that West Games is asking only $30,000 to make Areal. How any team of developers could make a so-called AAA game when there appears to be very little finished with only $30,000 is a huge mystery. It's all quite suspicious.
Obviously, considering the pedigree of the developers and the sort of game they're pitching it's unlikely that the title will make $30,000 or less. Maybe the developers just want to ensure that they don't reach for a larger goal and fall short. Maybe the want it all. That seems like an exploitation of the system, and dishonesty towards consumers, but that's their choice I suppose.
All the potential controversy aside, who wouldn't want another S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game from the original developers? They've got GSC Game World's head designer for every game in the series, Yuriy Negrobov, the gameplay designer from Metro Last Light and several of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles, Peter Dushynskyi, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2's engine developer. They have the pieces for an indie success story, but as always it's about deliverables and not promises.
Stay tuned for more information on Areal, including the start of the game's Kickstarter, on June 26. Until now, keep those wallet's stowed and those minds questioning. The title is planned for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.