Stalker Apocalypse Update. North Korea, Spying, and Expulsion.
by Ahmad Khan
West Games is back to their same old tricks again, but this time they are aggravating more than just Stalker fans and crowdfunding enthusiasts. Here’s a quick recap of what the fine folks at West Games have been doing while the rest of us are getting ready for the winter holidays.[divider]
Spying on Areal Backers :
You read right, Leonid Kovtun aka West Games (no surprise there) logged in to their Kickstarter account December 20th to, presumably, have a little peak at the discussion going on between disgruntled Areal backers who gather there to leave update one another on new developments.
Backers have already been alerted to this and all ”sensitive” communications are being conducted elsewhere.
Ousted by GSC Gameworld :
GSC Gameworld, a studio in Ukraine founded and owned by one Sergiy Grygorovych, developed three Stalker games and then, for reasons which still aren’t completely clear, went under in acrimonious circumstances. Thankfully GSC Gameworld is being reactivated. Valentine Yeltyshev, part of the original GSC team and spokesperson for the studio, said the following to Gameindustry.biz about West Games:
I don’t really know enough about them, but the story is quite funny. These guys were basically promoting themselves as being the STALKER team, that they were working on STALKER, but that’s not true. When we were working on STALKER 2, we were also planning on releasing a browser game based on STALKER so we could keep the audience engaged until released.
That project was never finished. There were mistakes. But the guys at West Games, that was the STALKER project they were working on – a flash game. So when they promoted themselves as having worked on STALKER, I was quite surprised. We would definitely win the legal action against them, but we won’t start it. They used a lot of the ideas from STALKER… I don’t know what they were thinking, starting that. I haven’t heard from them for quite a while.
That, folks, is all she wrote. If there were any doubts concerning West Games’ legitimacy then they’ve definitely been addressed now.[divider]
Tussle with Unreal Fans :
Unreal fans aren’t exactly happy that a scam project is being advertised as using Unreal Engine 4 to make a non-existent game. The moderator over at the Unreal Engine Forums summarized the general feeling:
“… wfunder.com is a Kickstarter-like website created by the guy who runs West Games, except you don’t get your money back if they don’t reach their goal!!! You only get it back if the project is cancelled before the end of the campaign… Seriously do some research on these guys if you have any plans to to pledge, that goes for any crowdfunding project of course but this one is in a class of it’s own….”
Defying North Korea :
West Games has shown themselves to be a well connected and influential studio, if you thought the fake letter from president Putin was enough to impress you then you should read the article they wrote about North Korean hackers, which will quite possibly be hacking their latest shady campaign, just as soon as they finish with Sony Entertainment:
“As part of our newly announced Stalker Community initiative, we planned on doing a series of stories about how Stalkers survived around the world, and one of those episodes was set in North Korea. Now, since looking at the current situation of Sony mistakenly pulling “the Interview” from theaters because of North Korean hackers, we have decided to publish our story about the apocalypse in North Korea ahead of schedule,”
“The fact that Sony succumbed to the demands of these hackers sets a very dangerous precedent for the film industry and the entertainment industry as a whole,” continues the statement. “We refuse to let North Korean hackers think that they can get away with these types of things, so we are standing up and publishing this story right now. The fact is that Stalker Apocalypse as a game is already controversial, and we’ve had our fair share of people trying to hack our websites, but we aren’t afraid of them, and the entertainment industry shouldn’t be either.”
If you’re going to have everyone in the gaming community angry at you, why not invite North Korea to join the fun as well?[divider]
Stay tuned for more, I have a feeling there will be more soon. In the mean-time, be sure to check out our previous coverage.
Finally, an acknowledgement: I want to thank all the S.T.A.L.K.E.R fans that have keep updated on this ongoing drama. I’d especially like to thank long time Stalker fan and Modder “d4v33edz” for keeping me posted on craziness that is West Games.[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ahmad.jpg” ]Ahmad Khan grew up playing video games. A fan of RPGs and Post-Apocalypse games, Khan instantly fell in love with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGogo that made games like Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity a reality. He also ended up being sort of a whistle blower for suspicious crowd funding project, believing that the venue of crowdfunding should be reserved for the honest and the passionate, not for the dishonest and dubious. You can stalk Ahmad on both Twitter and Facebook if you feel so inclined.[/author]