Kickstarted Project Phoenix accused of being a scam

Ben Parfitt
Kickstarted Project Phoenix accused of being a scam

Big-money Kickstarter title Project Phoenix has been engulfed by accusations of foul play.

The game, which brings together some of the biggest names in the world of Japanese RPGs including Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy illustrator Kiyoshi Arai and Diablo III and Valkyria Chronicles veteran Hiroaki Yura, smashed its $100k target on its first day back in 2013.

Having gone on to raise over $1m, in 2015 it was delayed to 2018, and now fears are growing that it will never materialise at all.

Kotaku reports that director Yura said earlier this year that he would release another game first. His explanation was that if said title was successful, other investors would be willing to jump on board to further fund Project Phoenix.

Ahead of the release of this ‘other’ game – Area 35’s Tiny Metal, which launches on December 21st – game developer and former Tiny Metal marketing and PR manager Tariq Lacy penned an accusatory post on the Project Phoenix Kickstarter page, which has since been removed.

“Two months after I was hired at Area 35, I had learned that the company funded this project by running a scam through Kickstarter,” he said. “After they received the Kickstarter money for Project Phoenix, they subsequently shut down their original company (Creative Intelligence Arts, or ‘CIA’), then used that same money to establish Area 35 and pay for staff, equipment, and an office to make Tiny Metal.”

Lacy also alleges that there was never any intention to release Project Phoenix, that crowdsourced money was only sourced as it would not require the developers to be held accountable to investors, and that Yura ordered him to deflect questions about financing – an order he refused, hence his split from the company.

Yura has denied all of the allegations.

“The post was posted by a staff whose contract has been bought out due to him being a toxic employee who has sexually harassed our female staff amongst many other problems,” he told Kotaku. “The post is factually incorrect and thus was deleted from our account. That’s all we have to say for now, we’re looking into releasing legal documents and other proofs after discussing this with our lawyer.”

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