After a long, drawn out Kickstarter campaign that involved multiple reports of fraudulent activity and even a fake letter from Russian President Putin, Areal's journey can to an end. Actually, it's come to multiple ends and that's actually just the start. The first end was when Areal's Kickstarter was successfully funded, making $62,928 after a number of surprise, suspect huge donations in its closing days. The second end, which came this morning, was Kickstarter suspending the the crowdfunding project due to rules violations.
The new beginning was just revealed moments ago by West Games, the developers of Areal. They've rebuked Kickstarter's suspension and announced that they'll be starting their own, independent crowdfunding initiative on their own website. Any money they might make in this venture would go directly into their own pockets and there'd be no safety net like how Kickstarter canceled the project.
Kickstarter does not speak publically on the specifics for why projects are suspended, but they did provide this guide on how a suspended project might be breaking the rules. Any of the four potential rules being broken is rather damning:
This is a message from Kickstarter’s Trust & Safety team. We’re writing to notify you that the Areal (Suspended) project has been suspended, and your $x.00 USD pledge has been canceled. A review of the project uncovered evidence that it broke Kickstarter's rules. We may suspend projects when they demonstrate one or more of the following:
- A related party posing as an independent, supportive party in project comments or elsewhere
- Misrepresenting support by pledging to your own project
- Misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator
- Providing inaccurate or incomplete user information to Kickstarter or one of our partners
- Accordingly, all funding has been stopped and backers will not be charged for their pledges. No further action is required on your part.
We take the integrity of the Kickstarter system very seriously. We only suspend projects when we find strong evidence that they are misrepresenting themselves or otherwise violating the letter or spirit of Kickstarter's rules. As a policy, we do not offer comment on project suspensions beyond what is stated in this message.
Kickstarter Trust & Safety
It must be said that all signs continue to point to Areal being a scam. Anyone can create a Kickstarter project, use assets taken from other projects, and claim they have something in the works with no evidence. Until West Games is able to provide concrete evidence that they have a game in the works, that they have a studio working on it and that they have the employees working on the project that they say they do, then I wouldn't recommend putting a penny towards the project.
Hell, considering the borderline insane reaction they've had to criticisms of their project, I don't think I'd recommend supporting them even if they did have a game to show. They provided a letter of support from Vladamir Putin as proof of legitimacy, for goodness' sake.
Even as their Kickstarter was closed, West Games statement once again adamantly proclaimed that they are the creators of STALKER. Yet again they failed to provide any evidence showing them as such. This likely isn't the end of this story.