It’s starting to become a regular thing to see AJ Tilley in some form running a campaign on Kickstarter under some name or another. I’m not even sure how many accounts he and Dharker Studio have used over the past few years, but it certainly makes anything they run look shady as hell. Anyway, just when I thought I’ve heard the last of him and his company I found out that Echo Tokyo has returned to secure the remaining funding needed to finish the game.

Echo Tokyo

Now, I’m not a huge fan of seeing campaigns return for supplemental funding as the double dipping makes the developers look desperate but in the case of Echo Tokyo we’ve seen it land on a crowdfunding site too many times for me to count. I’m pretty sure this is the fifth or sixth one to launch for just this game alone. That said, I do have to give them a couple cookie points for at least having a somewhat professional pitch. Which is more than I can say about some.

This latest campaign for Echo Tokyo is essentially for getting the remaining money needed to finish off CGs and music and whatnot.  The plan release is still May 2017, so we’ll probably see it finally release next year after a couple in development. Here’s the thing, though. AJ Tilley and company has had a history of either releasing subpar games or keeping them in development limbo. There have been so many different games and campaigns that I’ve honestly lost count of what all has been announced, released, and still being worked on due to the multitude of Kickstarter accounts they use.

Echo Tokyo

I will have to say that at this point anything that Dharker Studio launches is a joke. At least to me. I know there are people who still have faith in them and their projects as evidenced by the crowdfunding campaigns getting funding very early in the cycle. But, the more we see the shadier things start to look. I don’t have anything against the company as a whole but being essentially a serial Kickstarter using it for every little idea that they come up with does send up a lot of red flags my way.

I don’t want to keep bashing on Echo Tokyo or any of the other AJTilley.com/Dharker Studio visual novel projects but it is becoming exasperating every time I see a new project launch. Still, he is far from being the worst offender when it comes to Kickstarter but he is also one of the most visible ones that aren’t a big name like Keiji Inafune.

Echo Tokyo

I have no doubt that this, hopefully, final attempt to get money for Echo Tokyo will be successful and I do hope that this is one of the better titles to come out of the company but I’ll certainly not be backing it. Here’s the kicker, though. If I didn’t know of AJ Tilley’s past I’d actually consider giving money to this project. It does look good but the history surrounding everything leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

At least Adam does discuss the history of the project in a short video so I’ve got to give him a few points for at least trying to be transparent.

Serena Nelson
Serena has been a gamer since an early age and was brought up with the classic adventure games by Sierra On-Line, LucasArts, and Infocom. She's been an active member on Kickstarter since early 2012 and has backed a large number of crowdfunded games, mostly adventures. You can also find her writing for Kickstart Ventures and evn.moe.
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