Love Series Regenerate seems to have produced some serious drama – and not the kind it was presumably intending to. Pitched as a visual novel from AKI SEKAI Studio, the project’s Kickstarter page is currently inaccessible, displaying only the following message:
‘Love Series REGENERATE – Visual Novel (Canceled) is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and is currently unavailable.‘
Juicy. So, what the hell happened here?
The finer details remain uncertain, but there’s enough evidence on Twitter to suggest that the developer screwed over an artist who had worked on the project. It all started with this tweet by Twitter user @EccoPink:
Alerting everyone that has backed the VN Project: Love Series REGENERATE by AKISEKAI Please refrain from supporting this project.
— Nijiiru (@EccoPink) August 19, 2015
This was followed up by another tweet:
Love Series REGENERATE by AKISEKAI is built on lies and Stolen Property, please do not support this kind of behavior — Nijiiru (@EccoPink) August 19, 2015
Users spotting claims of copyright infringement were quick to jump on the case, guiding @EccoPink through the necessary legal processes that needed to be undertaken in order for Kickstarter to take action. One user later directed a question towards @EccoPink’s tweet that led to the revelation of further details:
@EccoPink Could you elaborate? (didn’t back, just curious)
— kanin (@snowdiaries) August 19, 2015
@snowdiaries Hes Using some of the character concepts I drew for reference in his game without including me in anything, like I had been cut — Nijiiru (@EccoPink) August 19, 2015
@EccoPink Hello! I was unfortunately involved with Aki Sekai and I am so, so sorry that they have treated you badly as well. — aerie (@afezelia) August 22, 2015
The next day, @EccoPink posted an update on the situation:
Well I got some credit, but now I’m ashamed to be on this project. Im opting out. I shouldnt have to go through all this just to be credited
— Nijiiru (@EccoPink) August 19, 2015
From here, it’s easy enough to fill in the gaps. Love Series REGENERATE’s Kickstarter page was soon updated to reveal that the project was cancelled, shortly before Kickstarter itself intervened and took the page down.
What a hot mess. What can be learned from this? Well, for a start, don’t ever, ever back a project from AKI SEKAI. Not unless the studio somehow manages to redeem itself from this carnage. Is that even possible, by this point? I don’t know. We’ve seen enough evidence to suggest that at least two individuals were mistreated by the studio, which is hardly going to do them any favours in the long run. They were just the ones who publicly spoke out, too. Who knows how many others have been faced with similar problems?
The most simple lesson we can take from this is to be very careful when it comes to backing a project. Always do your research, first.
A recent update on AKI SEKAI’s Facebook page reads:
‘It had been a month since our last update.
Although discussion is still in progress, we might have new director(s) to take over the studio and projects. Please stay on tune as we continue to bring more updates to this page. Thank you!‘
While it’s reassuring to see some redemptive action being taken by the studio itself, it may very well be too little, too late. A single comment wisely suggests that a total rebranding might be in order. That could work, I guess. Who knows? Would that be enough to change the studio’s public perception? It’s certainly telling that the studio’s Twitter account no longer exists (there’s evidence it once did on the team’s Facebook page).
Another option for the team would be to disband completely and find work elsewhere. Start again with a clean slate. If that ends up being the case, AKI SEKAI employees, you might not want to include any of this on your resumes.
Interested in for more Kickstarted related DMCA drama? We’ve got you covered. For more on the Love Series REGENERATE situation check out VNs Now! coverage.