Troubled Areal Kickstarter suspended after funding goal reached

By Stephany Nunneley
22 July 2014 19:42 GMT

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


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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