Whatever happens with the Areal Kickstarter, it’ll serve as a useful case study in how not to present your crowd-funding project to the public. West Games has been beset by accusations of misrepresentation, obfuscation and outright lying right from the beginning of the campaign and seem ill-equipped to deal with it.
The newest update presents a video of ‘prototype footage’ in which a chap wanders through a forest for a bit, shoots at some thermal-imaged animal shapes and then falls over from radiation poisoning. According to West Games, the footage was “made in two weeks” and, of course, is not representative of final quality.
Beneath the update, the comments are quick to point out that many of the prototype assets share quite a lot in common with the ‘Autumnal Nature Pack’ available for the Unity game engine. There’s nothing wrong with Unity as a game engine; many titles have adapted it to decent effect. The issue is, West Games has claimed from the start that Areal uses an original, in-house engine and never really manage to address the curious similarities with Unity that keep cropping up.
Here’s a comparative image posted by backer Hampe Faldarn in the comments (click to enlarge and actually see what’s going on):
Areal has currently raised around $37,000 USD of a $50,000 USD target. There are five days remaining on the Kickstarter campaign. You can see the prototype trailer for the game below and judge for yourself what might actually be going on here.