I’ve already dedicated too many words to this project as is, so I’ll keep it brief: PC Gamer has reported that the Areal Kickstarter, which promised an ambitious follow-up to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, had its Kickstarter drive suspended two days before completion after a storm of legitimate concerns and allegations besieged the project.
You can read some of my own qualms about the project in this article here. Kickstarter’s FAQ specifically forbids self-funding, and while there’s no indication as to what specifically set off concerns at Kickstarter HQ, the sudden surge in contributions may have triggered their involvement.
Kicktraq, which tracks contributions to Kickstarter projects, shows Areal almost flat-lined after a bit of initial interest. Strangely, that changed once the concerns as to its legitimacy were raised, whereupon it rather miraculously received some $25,000 in a mere two days. According to Forbes, this coincided with a massive increase in comments — some 30 times more than was previously tracked — despite only a handful of new backers. According to PC Gamer, the spike supposedly occurred after the project received a letter of support from none other than Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Despite the surreal nature of all these events, West Games claims to be the victim of a coordinated smear campaign and sensational reporting and have sworn to continue with the game. It’s still not entirely certain that the project is, in fact, a scam — but it has been handled so poorly at this point that I’m not sure they’d be able to convince anyone otherwise. They’ve since moved their funding efforts to their own website. You’re welcome to a gamble, but I’d get out of there, stalker.