Areal surpasses funding goal, is suspended by Kickstarter
The Areal Kickstarter project, a spiritual successor to the cult hit S.T.A.L.K.E.R., has been suspended just two days after it hit its funding goal of $50,000. The official Kickstarter page for the game now states that a review of the funding campaign has “uncovered evidence that it broke Kickstarter’s rules” and so the company has seen fit to suspend it. The service has refunded all pledges made by backers. Kickstarter has not revealed exactly why Areal has been suspended but did say:
“We take the integrity of the Kickstarter system very seriously. We only suspend projects when we find strong evidence that they are misrepresenting themselves or otherwise violating the letter or spirit of Kickstarter’s rules. As a policy, we do not offer comment on project suspensions beyond what is stated in this message.”
There are a number of possible explanations for the suspension. Kickstarter prohibits self-pledges or fake backers supporting the project along with providing inaccurate or false information in their campaign. It certainly seems possible that developer West Games has fallen foul of some of the rules. They faced a number of controversial claims soon after their launch on Kickstarter. Many centred on others believing that the team was not made up of past S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers and that there was doubt over assets used in the launch video. Another major point of contention was that the campaign was only looking to raise $50,000, a tiny sum for such a large project.
Various updates from West Games on the Areal Kickstarter page set about trying to calm fears that the crowdfunding project was a scam. They also signed up a lead designer from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. as executive producer and released a video showing actual prototype gameplay footage. However, still remained among those who had backed Areal, with many dropping their pledges to just $1. Following the suspension, it is unknown whether Areal will continue development. West Games have yet to release a statement.