Ukrainian game immersed in controversy in the wake of political events.
The Kickstarter campaign for Areal has been funded, with the game passing its target in recent days, and now aiming for stretch goals with just a couple of days left to run. This is more noteworthy than the majority of successful Kickstarter campaigns that hit target because the goal was reached via a couple of sizeable pledges.
The campaign for the game - dubbed by its creators as the spiritual successor to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late, with claims and counter-claims regarding Areal's validity (more on that here and here).
In recent days the studio behind the campaign - West Games - have been proactive. First they called out journalists who questioned their campaign, presenting two sources that they felt were "unprofessional" and that showed "incredible personal bias" in the way that they reported on the game.
On top of that, the studio also sent us a copy of a letter that they say may have been sent to them by Russian president Vladimir Putin, a letter that claims his daughter has backed the game and that he is now interested in it. Indeed, has this letter, or the interest that has arisen in its wake, contributed to the game's recent push over the line in terms of funding?
It sounds like a wind up, indeed they told us that "it has been incredibly difficult, because we are a Ukrainian studio that has fallen into a situation wherein we are being attacked from all sides by Russian internet trolls."
It's hard to determine exactly what is going on with the Kickstarter for Areal, and this latest letter and the studio's aggressive stance towards journalists who've openly questioned the validity of the campaign only contributes to the murky waters surrounding the campaign. Are West Games taking advantage of political events in a tasteless manner, or are they merely victims of the situation unfolding around them?
Unfortunately we're in no position to offer definitive answers. All we can do now is wait and see whether after all of this a game comes out at the end. That, ultimately, is the only thing that West Games can do that will silence their critics. Time will tell whether that will happen.