Yesterday, Kickstarter suspended West Games' crowd-funding campaign for Areal, a first-person sci-fi themed shooter billed as a spiritual successor to GSC Gameworld's S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. The crowd-funding campaign has been mired in controversy since it launched, with former employees of the original and now dissolved S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developer GSC Gameworld who formed another company called Vostok Games claiming that West Games overstated its involvement in the series and that it was using materials from the series in its Kickstarter campaign that it did not have the right to use.
But Kickstarter did not give a specific reason for why – despite the project being fully funded – it decided to suspend the campaign in the eleventh hour (see this Reddit thread featuring a message from Kickstarter to backers – thanks Sleaker for the tip on that).
The suspension means that all of the people who backed the project will not be charged.
But in a lengthy statement to Polygon, West Games said that it would simply move its crowd-funding campaign to its web site, allowing those who want to back Areal an opportunity to do so:
"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," West Games told Polygon. "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."
In other parts of the statement West Games blamed a cocktail of jealous competitors (also making S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles), hostility from Russian Kickstarter accounts (because the company is in Ukraine), and some biased reports on the validity of the project.
At the end of the day West Games seems to be saying that it will not give up on funding this game, despite the questions about the project's validity or about the qualifications of those who are developing it.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.
To read the full statement from West Games, check out this Polygon report.