Areal Kickstarter controversy is a media fabrication, claims West Games developer
Posted: 02.07.2014 12:14 by nickhorth1 Comments: 16
The Areal Kickstarter story continues to rumble on like an unpleasant stomach ailment, with West Games’ Igor Buryak now dismissing the controversy as "nonsense that many media outlets published without doing any research".

Buryak made the comment in an interview with Games-tv, while also responding to accusations of stolen concept art and false claims about having former S.T.A.L.K.E.R developers on the West Games team.

The developer is referring to the ongoing dispute regarding the legitimacy of the Areal Kickstarter, which has been accused by mod team Misery and Vostok Games of representing footage and assets of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series as their own without right, and exaggerating (or outright lying) about the presence of key GSC World (original developers of S.T.A.L.K.E.R) figures within their team.

“As a matter of fact, this scandal between Vostok Games and West Games is not a scandal at all, but some nonsense that many media outlets published without doing any research," claims Buryak. "thus becoming the victims of this deceit.”

Which, given the very public reaction to the Areal project by Vostok Games, is clearly not true. Along with modder Misery's claims, subsequently withdrawn for legal reasons, there were definite accusations flying around.

“Oleg Yavorsky says we have no former GSC employees," continues Buryak. "He points out high staff turnover in GSC. Well, this wasn’t addressed to West Games. He cant make such a statement because it would simply be a lie. Since we’re at the very beginning of our work we can’t (and should not) make our whole team public, because as soon as we do that they’ll get caught up in gossip and accusations made by our competitors.”

Finally, the developer responds to claims of unauthorized use of S.T.A.L.K.E.R assets. "I would also like to mention that we're not going and do not want to use any resources of S.T.A.L.K.E.R as a brand. We published that concept art on Kickstarter to demonstrate our previous work, the level of quality and traditions we are pursuing."

Whether or not the project is legitimate, West Games haven't handled the controversy particularly deftly. They've largely ignored key concerns, apparently thinking that simply repeating the names of their staff would reassure backers. According to their blog they've just hired lead designer of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Alexey Sytyanov as a consultant. It will be interesting to see if he makes some kind of statement in the studio's defence.


By The_Tingler (SI Core) on Jul 02, 2014
So now they can't blame Vostok, GSC, or Misery for the entire internet calling them scammers they blame the media?

At this point they've handled things so badly and made themselves look so incompetent and suspicious even a video of the new game running won't be enough to turn the suspicions around. Which they still don't have, or any assets or anything to prove their game exists.
By baszermaszer (SI Veteran Member) on Jul 02, 2014
+1 on vapourware, they appear to have no maps to show.

The Kickstarter trailer depicts a not appealing game at all: the sensationalist blockbusting opportunity of Stalker passed long ago.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jul 02, 2014
That part about not wanting to reveal the rest of the staff for fear of hurt feelings is quite weird too.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 02, 2014
It's pretty obvious that something is fishy, it's too easy a mess to fix if it wasn't.
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 03, 2014
"Since we’re at the very beginning of our work we can’t (and should not) make our whole team public."

This is in no way true, especially when your claiming to have "core" staff from the game you're tributing.

At best they've launched their kickstarter too early before they have anything to show of their work. Any earlier and the campaign may as well be trying to raise funds for "A PC game. idk, probably a shooter? Definitely some kind of game tho, and totally not a scam."
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 03, 2014
Always knew Kickstarter would turn ugly at some point. Greed, pure and simple. Just as Apps have become a financial rort, with upgrades being instantly applied and the initial buyer being charged without notice, so now is KS. First these guys are starting to use KS, then they approach Valve when they've made a substantial sum and go for Greenlight and Early Access to make more dough. Healthy profit many unscrupulous types.
By baszermaszer (SI Veteran Member) on Jul 03, 2014
"Healthy profit many unscrupulous types." So true for Wasteland 2 and Double Fine as well, albeit these teams managed to cough up a playable.
By ApathyCurve (SI Newbie) on Jul 03, 2014
Sorry, EYE-gor: the Jedi mind trick doesn't work on people with functional brains.
By The_Tingler (SI Core) on Jul 03, 2014
@herodotus: To be fair, while you have to watch out for both Kickstarter and Early Access any scams or dodgy dealings are usually called out fast - Areal's wasn't even one day old before people started questioning it.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 03, 2014
Internet is pretty good at spotting a bullshit story like that. Wish they were as good at it with all the other crap x3
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 04, 2014
Spot internet scams using this weird old trick. Find out why big business is trying to shut this grandma down. Doctors hate this!
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jul 04, 2014
You could go pro with a lineup like that :P.
By The_Tingler (SI Core) on Jul 04, 2014
It's also enlightening to have a look at the Kickstarter updates - they've had 11 updates and none of them even mention the game.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 05, 2014
I was thinking of "Planetary Annihilation", which after making over 2 million on KS (where the game cost over $100) is now in EA (for $50) on Steam still cranking out enough cash to waste, and I do say waste on releasing a boxed retail version of the game in EA (fooling many to think it is a special release of a full game). If they're making that much money, they ought to be brought to account for not finishing it. Same with the Devs of "StarDrive" which took the money, released the beta as a finished product and ran on into "StarDrive 2" leaving those of us with the original game lingering. Can't remember when the last update for it was.
These guys have never been called out, along with many others on Steam's EA. It really is the Wild West with few laws it seems. Of course you have the exception, as with "Ultimate General: Gettysburg" but many hands have been burnt by EA and many dollars have been squandered on KS.
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 05, 2014
Planetary Annihilation had a bizarre funding model from the get go though. They were quite upfront that it will get cheaper the further along the dev gets. Their spin was "so get in now and get access before everyone else". My interpretation was "so whatever you do, don't buy it now".
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 06, 2014
But many did, and it still takes my breath away that the guys who plumped for $100 to get in at the start have no regrets (at least that's what they say). Dropped to $17 in the latest Steam Sales but with the constantly online requirement for SP (which Uber say will be removed on released) many shied away. To me it's just "Sup Com 2" (has simpler graphics, but still closer to the second than the first) on a bigger scale and should be priced accordingly.