Chances are, you've heard about Areal this year. If you've heard about it, then chances are you've heard nothing good surrounding the disbanded crowdfunded project that was on Kickstarter. For those of you who haven't, here is a quick rundown. West Games brought their project, Areal, to Kickstarter touting it as a successor to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. From the very start there was an air of suspicion around the project as accusations (and in many cases, evidence) of stock Unity engine assets, stolen intellectual properties and modified art and screenshots from around the web were abundant. Then, there was the strange money trail related to their investors, related to the biggest investments where some of them were traced back to questionable sources which caused many to accuse the company of feeding money into their own project to make it look like the donations were going better than it actually was.
The company was quick to lash out at any and every publication that were skeptical of what they were promising, even going as far as to discredit a news source based on the ethnic background of a company's owners. Then it culminated in a letter supposedly from Russian President Vladimir Putin showing support for the game on behalf of his daughter. If the other incidents weren't red flags, that certainly was. After all of these incidents, Kickstarter finally pulled the plug on Areal on July 22, 2014. West Games largely went dark for quite some time...
That is, until yesterday. West Games is back, trying to pitch a new game through crowd funding. STALKER Apocalypse, notice that that's not S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. They were careful not to use the same exact name to attempt to avoid legal issues, despite their logo looking to say S.T.A.L.K.E.R. due to the bolts conveniently placed in the name. Much like when they revealed Areal, there is almost nothing to actually show that the game exists or that development is underway. So what is the price tag they're asking for this mystery game? They have their hands outstretched for $600,000 on World Wide Funder. They even have a video with disabled comments and an unlisted status to try to sneak back into the crowd funding scene quietly without immediately setting of red flags left and right. A very bold move after all the controversy and claims to be a successor, made even bolder to use a name so similar to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. They say history often repeats itself, we'll see how this plays out in the coming months.