In September 2012, Studio Nasu managed to raise $33,643 USD through Kickstarter for their game Crisis Heart Brawlers: Clash at Otakon. It was billed as a “classic arcade style side scrolling beat ‘em up” in the style of other fighters like Castle Crashers and the TMNT Arcade game. Studio Nasu described the 2-D brawler as simple to learn and “fun to play”, rife with anime innuendos and “internet memes”—essentially a mindless anime punch-and-kick-everyone-in-sight kind-of game. Studio Nasu had struck a deal earlier that year with Otakon to promote CHB, which turned out to play a major factor in their campaign’s success.
Being funded with well over 150% of their initial goal of $20,000 was obviously a milestone for Studio Nasu, and as with any milestone, you’ve got to have a party! Unfortunately, that party turned out to be just the beginning of a downward spiral for CHB and Studio Nasu. According to commenter “cards344” on Kickscammed, he/she pledged over $400 to CHB for the Assist Striker reward, which would put a backer’s original character into the game. “Cards344” also attended the release party, which was nothing more than “playing the demo that was shown the Kickstarter first started a year prior” and “empty promises he [Studio Nasu founder Dave Lister] would have it finished in 6 more months”.
A month later, CHB’s Facebook page and website disappeared into thin air. Studio Nasu posted a “big last minute update” for their backers in August 2013, but that turned out to be their very last update on Kickstarter. They haven’t posted on Twitter either since October 2013. However, after eight months of silence, Dave Lister insisted via Twitter to otakujournalist that a new demo of the game was slated for release at Otakon 2014. Dave also claimed that the suspensions of the Studio Nasu and CHB webistes were due to heavy traffic.
But despite all his claims that CHB was still up-and-kicking, on June 30th, 2014, Otakorp officially terminated its agreement with Studio Nasu, including all use of its intellectual property. Since then, Dave and Studio Nasu have not made any attempt to reach out to its backers.
In fact, Dave Lister has made a concerted effort to block backers who have reached out to him for comment. Both his personal and public twitter accounts are now private, and several commenters on KickScammed and Kickstarter have had more than a few choice words to say: “azuritereaction” and “Michael Camacho” claim to have been blocked by Dave after inquiring about the game, while “Cranemann” is hoping for a lawsuit against the “piece of s***” that is Studio Nasu and Dave Lister. Another disgruntled backer, having invested $70 in the project, reached out to Dave and a mutual friend on Facebook, to no avail. Two years have passed since we’ve heard anything from Studio Nasu or Dave Lister, and it’s probably going to stay that way for a long while. “Cards344”, who likely echoes the sentiments of many other of CHB’s backers, claims they’ll “never forgive or forget” Studio Nasu and Dave Lister for what they’ve done.
Author’s note : I reached out to Dave Lister and Studio Nasu and will update this post if and when I hear back from them.