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Troubled Areal Kickstarter suspended after funding goal reached

Tuesday, 22nd July 2014 19:42 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

The Areal Kickstarter, which reached its goal few days ago, has been suspended.

stalker_successor_areal

Kickstarter suspended funding on the Areal project, and while a reason was not provided as of press time, the firm can suspend projects should the “Trust and Safety Team” find sketchy goings on.

The notice on the project’s funding page states:”Funding for this project was suspended about 2 hours ago.” Usually if the developer cancels the project, it says cancelled, not suspended.

One of these is “self-pledging,” which could be on of the reason for the suspension: the project hit its goal on July 20 when funds went from $40,000 to almost $65,000 in two days after pledges virtually ceased over accusations of using Stalker materials in the pitch video. Questions were also raised over the scope of West Games’ project on such a minuscule budget. There was even a back and forth between West Games and Survarium developer Vostok Games.

You can look over the funding progress here.

The pledge surge came after a report that Russian President Vladimir Putin had sent the Ukrainian developers a letter discussing how his daughter had backed the Areal campaign, and that he himself was not interested in the game. Even though West Games agreed at one point the letter was likely someone “trolling”, the funding surge happened not long after despite the lack of new backers.

UPDATE: West Games has opened direct crowdfunding for Areal on its website, and has issued the statement below:

Our Kickstarter was suspended without any warning. As per Kickstarter’s policy, we cannot contact them to find out why. Areal is the spiritual successor to STALKER, in terms of our vision for it and in terms of the team that we have (which includes Alexey Sytyanov, the lead game designer and screenwriter for STALKER). You can find out more about us and our team on our website.

From the very beginning, we showed what we have accomplished, and showed the atmosphere for what we want to accomplish.

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.

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). There are over 16,000 comments on our Kickstarter, which is unprecedented for the amount of supporters that we have, and a lot of our comments are hate filled. Some sites, in light of this, chose to report based on sources from direct competitors or from the myriad of comments based on lies. Others chose a neutral ground, because of the confusing situation around us, and still others wrote positively about us. All in all, more than a 1,000 news results come up when you type in “Areal Kickstarter” on Google.

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. We set our base goal at 50K; even with 2 days left, we raised more than 64 thousand dollars, and our competitors were doing everything that they could to stop that. Kickstarter is a business, and that was their decision. We were not warned, we do not have a say in the matter, we cannot notify our backers, we cannot message our backers, and we can’t post updates anymore. That is how Kickstarter chose to act.

We are the creators of STALKER, and we know that we can make Areal even better than that series, because of advances in technology, gameplay mechanics, and story. We need your support to make that happen, so we have opened up a website wherein we will continue to raise funds. We ask all supporters of Areal who read this, to please head over to our site and contribute there. PayPal is used for safe checkout, but you do not need a PayPal account to donate. Thank you for your understanding.

You’ll have to make up your own mind on the legitimacy of West Games’ endeavours; catch up on the long, troubled Areal saga.

Thanks, PC Gamer

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13 Comments

  1. salarta

    Uhh, Steph, the article cuts off mid-sentence in what is currently the second to last paragraph.

    Other than that, strange activity. The project looks promising from a glance at the page, but that’s if it was all legitimate.

    #1 5 months ago
  2. mamu-ti

    West games say that if Kickstarter will not be suscesful that they will made the game now we will see if they are been fraud or it is real.

    #2 5 months ago
  3. Tormenter

    “…and while it’s extremely unlikely that P…”

    Is this a new game? Readers have to complete the sentence?

    #3 5 months ago
  4. Stephany Nunneley

    GAh. The backend reset on me. Give me a minute please. :/

    #4 5 months ago
  5. Patrick Garratt

    *says nothing*

    #5 5 months ago
  6. thegrimmling

    Can we have a kickstarter to revamp the frontpage?

    #6 5 months ago
  7. salarta

    @Patrick Garratt *sees nothing*

    #7 5 months ago
  8. wicktus

    Why did they do that ? bunch of morons those kickstarter, stopping a game because of “selfpledging” while someone else is making a potato salad…

    #8 5 months ago
  9. salarta

    @wicktus A potato salad kickstarter is merely a ridiculous idea, and the people involved are fully aware of what they’re backing yet choosing to throw it at something ridiculous.

    Self-backing is essentially deception and fraud. It’s giving potential backers a picture of a project with a lot of financial interest behind it, implying plenty of other people think it’s going to turn out to be a great thing well worth any money they spend. There’s also the inherent concept of trust in many people believing in a company that has a history of work.

    I’m not saying the charges are true. They may not be. I’m saying that if they are true, self-backing is worse than “lol potato salad,” and why.

    #9 5 months ago
  10. The_Red

    Finally KS does something right. After the Yogventures debacle, the last thing we needed was for this scam project to pass with the help of last minute pledge from the devs (Or perhaps Putin!).

    #10 5 months ago
  11. Hcw87

    ”and that he himself was not interested in the game.”

    ”Now” instead of ”not”.

    Still fake though. Presidents don’t have time for these things.

    #11 5 months ago
  12. wicktus

    @salarta
    1090 backers, that’s quite a lot for 50000 ! self backing is one thing,

    putting in front your product and funding it entirely with the help of a community before being bought by an evil antiprivacy company for 2 Billion USD don’t you think it should be ‘suspended’ ? Oculus rift gave us the biggest palmface ever.
    How about all the games being cancelled after being funded ?
    How about the crappy ones ? (that counter strike game)

    You can’t judge Areal for promoting weirdly their game when other always deceive others.

    How can you know if areal is bad or not ?

    #12 5 months ago
  13. pslee00

    West Games have restarted Areal funding directly on their website (http://areal.west-games.com/).
    West Games seem to hide some comments on their Facebook page too, which only show “good” comments…

    #13 5 months ago

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