West Games, a studio staffed by former developers of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series, has launched a fresh crowdfunding drive to finance what it hopes will be a spiritual successor to the FPS franchise.
The developer courted controversy earlier this year with an appeal for Areal, a game that claimed to continue the spirit of S.T.A.L.K.E.R, that was suspended from Kickstarter, according to GameSpot.
The appeal was suspended after accusations over missing assets, false claims to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and a forged letter from Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.
Unperturbed, West Games launched a new crowdfunding appeal last week for STALKER Apocalypse, a new project that looks extremely similar to Areal.
The company claims to have ensured that it is legally allowed to use this title.
"We were formerly developing a game called Areal, but after raising funds on our website and listening to our fans, we decided to re-focus our vision, and develop what is now STALKER Apocalypse (trademarked)," the studio said.
"We have registered a trademark for Stalker Apocalypse, and have every right to use it as our title," it said. "Stalker by itself is a common word, and anyone can use it."
Jas Purewal, legal expert at Purewal & Partners and author of the GamerLaw blog, observes that the trademark and product is still potentially similar enough to confuse consumers about the two STALKER/S.T.A.L.K.E.R brands, inviting legal trouble for the studio.
Interestingly, STALKER Apocalypse is being finance through little-known crowdfunding site World Wide Funder. Unlike Kickstarter, this site allows creators to keep any money they raise, even if they fail to reach their goal.
Areal was originally asking for $50,000. STALKER Apocalypse is asking for $600,000.