Areal Kickstarter suspended over fraud concerns

July 23, 2014 | 11:20

Tags: #crowd-funding #stalker

Companies: #areal #kickstarter #west-games

The Kickstarter campaign for the STALKER-inspired Areal has been cancelled with just two days left on the clock following accusations of impropriety levelled against its founders.

Launched back in June, Areal was claimed to be a true spiritual successor to the cult classic STALKER series, with its creator West Games claiming to house many of the staff who worked on the original title. This claim was brought into question when others who had worked on STALKER suggested that West Games had only a single former STALKER designer on staff, while others proclaimed the whole project a fraud when it was discovered that the trailer was made up almost exclusively of STALKER footage and concept art.

As the project, which had raised more than its modest $50,000 goal, entered its final days, the claims from its creators became increasing bizarre. A $10,000 pledge appeared, which was claimed to be from West Games itself, followed by what was purported to be a signed letter from Russian president Vladimir Putin - who presumably has nothing more pressing to occupy his time right now - pledging interest in the Ukrainian company's game.

That, it appears, was the final straw for Kickstarter, which has now cancelled the funding run. The crowd-funding site does not provide reasons for doing so, but typically only takes the measure if there is clear evidence of fraud.

West Games has, as is to be expected, denied any wrongdoing, and has started accepting what it describes as 'pledges' through its own website to support Areal's continued development.
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