Previously on the Areal saga, all this happened. To summarise: Areal turns up on Kickstarter, claiming to be a game "from the developers of the cult hit STALKER". People—including the ex-Stalker devs of Vostock Games—were unhappy that, in their pitch video, West Games used footage taken from Stalker and various off-the-shelf Unity assets, without clearly mentioning that neither are reflective of the product they're creating. The scepticism surrounding Areal hasn't dissipated—culminating most recently with a Reddit AMA in which many users accused West Games of avoiding their questions. Now, still short of their $50,000 goal, the team are instead trying the one thing that might help their PR problem: releasing game footage. It hasn't worked.
Enemy first came to my attention last year, when its Kickstarter campaign promised to deliver X-Com-a-like turn-based tactics with a retro game twist. Its items, abilities and, yes, enemies, are all drawn from gaming's 8-bit era, but the action takes place across fully destructible and randomly generated voxel environments. Enemy recently appeared on Steam Greenlight, and a new trailer shows how things have progressed.
The latest Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter update has the mighty Beck running, climbing and dashing through in-game environments as it explains some of his unique powers, including the ability to absorb the "Xel" of weakened enemies and turn it into power-ups. The second crowdfunding campaign, meanwhile, has been changed up a bit, and now promises both English and Japanese voice acting for another $200,000.
Obsidian's old-school RPG Pillars of Eternity is slowly but surely coming into the home stretch, and in fact the initial round of beta testing isn't much more than a month away—but only for those who backed the game on Kickstarter.
It's the final week of Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows' Kickstarter campaign, and things aren't looking great for the Tenchu-inspired third-person stealth-'em-up. So far, the game has raised just $25,000 of their $70,000—less than that given to the potato salad guy. Undeterred, the development team have released the first in a series of video updates, showing new footage of both the game and its level editor.
Early Access releases on Steam can be a bit dicey, the state of pre-release games always being something of a crapshoot, but there are sometimes big upsides, too. Wasteland 2 is one example of a game that was particularly well-served by its Early Access release late last year: In the most recent Kickstarter update, project lead Chris Keenan wrote that "every penny" earned through pre-release sales was put back into the game, which has helped double its initial Kickstarter budget.
The Kickstarter for the Stalker "spiritual successor" Areal looked like a sure-fire train wreck after it launched, as serious questions about its legitimacy and the bona fides of the team behind it seemed almost certain to bring it down. Yet it continues to persevere, and today the former lead designer of Vostok Games' Survarium, who also worked as a designer on the original Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl, posted a video message confirming that he's joined the Areal development team.
Keiji Inafune's Mega Man follow-up Mighty No. 9 was one of the most successful videogame Kickstarters ever, pulling in $3.85 million last year, more than four times its original goal. Combined with money earned through a separate PayPal campaign, the total funding amount broke $4 million, enough to nail every stretch goal the Comcept development team could cook up. But full English voice acting wasn't included among those goals, and so now a new crowdfunding campaign has been launched seeking another $100,000 to get it in there.
InSomnia's first go-around with Kickstarter came to an unhappy end in November 2013 when the developer, Studio Mono, pulled the plug after raising a little over $5000 toward a $70,000 goal. Now it's back, with a tweaked campaign, a playable demo and a clear message that it is not an MMO.
As previously announced, Dreamfall Chapters—the crowdfunded sequel to Dreamfall: The Longest Journey—is being split up into five parts. The newly episodic adventure's first episode, Reborn, will arrive this Autumn. In preparation, Red Thread have released a new teaser—one that offers a fresh look at returning characters Zoe and Kian. Of course, if you're a The Longest Journey fan, you'll probably be too busy searching for any hint as to the fate of April Ryan to notice.
The official Facebook page of GSC Game World, the now-defunct creator of the Stalker series, issued a statement over the weekend calling for an end to disparaging comments about Areal, the "definitive spiritual successor" to the Stalker games that's now on Kickstarter/a>. That led Misery Developments, one of the most prominent critics of Areal, to remove all such criticism from its Facebook page; yet now GSC has reversed course and removed all mention of Areal from its own Facebook page.
Dreamfall Chapters news was heralded this morning by the arrival of a talking crow. As an homage to the series' most enduring sidekick, it landed on my monitor, announced that, "Dreamfall Chapters will now be an episodic adventure," and spent the next ten minutes flapping wildly, unable to find an open window. It was still less eventful than the time Ubisoft sent us Far Cry 3 press releases written on the side of a live tiger.
The team behind the Stalker-inspired Areal said in a recent Kickstarter update that it has worked things out with Vostok Games and cleared up all the complaints against it. But a Vostok representative says that's not really what happened at all, and that it's been forced to let the matter drop because it can't actually do anything about it.
Areal is a post-apocalyptic, open-world shooter that claims to be the "definitive spiritual successor to the cult hit S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series". Another claim: that its creators, West Games, are a team mostly "composed of former senior GSC Game World staff members". It's currently on Kickstarter, and it's looking for $50,000.
That's the basic starting point, but things get a lot more complicated. Vostok Games—a band of former GSC Game World staff and creators of the STALKER-inspired MMO Survarium—have taken umbrage to these statements, saying that West Games are fraudulently promoting themselves as core STALKER developers.
Described as a mix of Tenchu, Mark of the Ninja and Dishonored, Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows is a third-person stealth action game in need of Kickstarter funding. You play as 'spirit of vengeance' Aragami, whose key pursuits in life are to “sneak past guards, teleport between shadows, create [--] areas of darkness and strategically assassinate targets.”
Tale of Tales is a two-person development team known for making some very unusual games—interactive screensavers about magical forest animals with human faces to peppy, or abstract arcade sex adventures. Calling the work "experimental" is putting it mildly, but it's also oddly compelling if you're into that sort of thing. I am, so I'm pretty excited about Sunset, a narrative-driven game set during a violent revolution in 1970s South America that hit Kickstarter today.
Ambitious exploration-based RPG Frontiers is celebrating its anniversary. A year has passed since it raised $150,000 on Kickstarter, and successfully became a game that will one day exist. Since then, the project has entered full scale development, and now, today, is... still a game that will one day exist. To mark the passing of this auspicious milestone, creator Lars Simkins has released a big update video, explaining where he's at with the game.
Catlateral Damage is a game about interior decoration, but also about the irreconcilable differences that separate cohabiting species. On the one side are humans, who largely believe that objects should be placed neatly on surfaces. On the other, cats: furry agents of destruction and chaos, who reject concepts of ownership, property and TVs that aren't lying smashed on the floor.
It's a big topic for a game, and as such, requires a lot of exploration. The free browser version is an admirable attempt to capture this maelstrom of violence, but there's more that can be done. Step forward a Kickstarter campaign, and an attempt to transform the game into a more complete simulation of the household pet experience.
2015 is currently plump with games, as upcoming releases abandon the frail and pallid 2014 in favour of fattening up next year's calendar. But even within the confines of that game-heavy year, release dates are subject to shift. Torment: Tides of Numenera—the highly-anticipated Planescape successor—is one such game. In light of InXile's success with Wasteland 2, the release schedule of the Kickstarted Torment has shifted to 2015's end.
Time to take a break from hyper-expensive, lavish games, and come back down to earth. No, further than that. We're going down under the earth, deep into a seemingly impenetrable nuclear bunker. Okay, we should be safe here. Except, do we have enough food? Are those air filtration systems on the blink? Oh gods, there's someone outside! Do we shoot them in the face?
These questions and more form the basis of Sheltered, a new project that combines FTL-like disaster management with a post-apocalyptic twist. It's on Kickstarter now.