The Areal Kickstarter was pushed over and then well past its goal a few days ago thanks to a very sudden spike in support, but the saga has now taken an unexpected (or perhaps not) twist, as funding for the project has been suspended.
The Kicktraq graphs tell the tale: After a strong start, the Areal Kickstarter bogged down amid accusations of shady dealings and dubious claims . There were questions about the development team's provenance, its heavy use of Stalker materials in its pitch video and even how it could possibly make such an expansive game, well beyond the scope of the ambitious Stalker series, with such a small budget.
Despite that, the project hit its goal on July 20, thanks to a surge that took it from under $40,000 to nearly $65,000 in just two days. The spike followed the receipt of a letter purportedly from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and while it's extremely unlikely that Putin actually sent the letter (or that he is, as it claims, a big fan of videogames), the studio ran an update about it anyway, expressing doubt but also hope that the project might actually have the support of the Russian President. It was also accompanied by a flood of bizarre, persistent spam from a new Kickstarter account that effectively killed user comments with its warnings against "trolls."
But earlier this morning, Kickstarter suspended funding for the Areal project. No reason is given for the suspension but the FAQ says projects may be suspended if the "Trust and Safety Team" finds evidence of foul play. Foremost among those rules is "misrepresentation of support, through self-pledging," and given that funding tapered off to its previous level almost immediately after Areal hit its goal, that may well be where the trouble lies.
We've reached out to the West Games team for more information and will update when we can.