Published on May 7th, 2012 | by Stephen Crane2
Attempted Kickstarter Game Scam Draws Attention to Potential Problems
By: Stephen Crane (Photo: Mythic: Story of Gods and Men Kickstarter)
The scam many feared would appear on the popular crowd-funding source, Kickstarter has finally started to make headlines. To be accurate, it's an attempted game that is riddled with and stolen artwork and false allegations. More after the jump!
The first, and perhaps biggest Kickstarter controversy starts off with the attempted game, Mythic: The Story of Gods and Men. This story broke pretty fast, and can be found all over the internet by now. The Kickstarter campaign promised "an open world concept that will allow you to choose where you want to go even if it does not coincide with the story line and current missions list. The gameplay characteristics will be similar to that of World of Warcraft and the graphics should be up there with Skyrim." The project creator, Seth Westphal, only asked for $80,000 to create this ambitious project.
Unfortunately for him, the internet is more savvy at sniffing out a lie than he thought. He claimed animations would be done by "some friends at Disney/Pixar" and his game was a custom engine based off Unity3D. Neither of those were true. In fact, many of the concept designs were ripped from other games including The Banner Saga.
Popular tech website, BetaBeat took the investigation even further and looked into the project creator's alleged employment past to uncover if the man is even a game developer. According to an alleged former employer of Seth Westphal for a little bit more information. It turns out that not only was Westphal only an office manager (not a game developer), but he was fired "for non compliance". It turns out plenty of the art concepts were ripped from that employer's indie game producer, Burton Design Group.
Westphal, and his employees at Little Monsters Productions claims Mythic: the Story of Gods and Men is not a scam, however the evidence is against them. They raised nearly $5,000 in pledges before cancelling the project. Check out the video embedded below to see Westphal's request for funding.
The story of Mythic: The Story of Gods and Men is one worth telling. It's a project that was obviously not going to pan out if for no other reason than the developer asking for too little money. As the Star Command team found out, Kickstarter is expensive. While Star Command had to deal with the expenses of just t-shirts and posters, Mythic was promising book bags, art books, real life character models, and swords. Even more telling was how little of the game we could see. Anyone pledging to fund the game was funding an idea that was little more than "This is going to be like Skyrim and World of Warcraft because those are both popular games."
Potential backers need to use discretion when looking at games. Where is the artwork coming from? How far is the game in development? Does the developer have any past history, or any skin in the game? The Penny Arcade Report has a fantastic feature to look at regarding risk assessment and Kickstarter. It's worth checking out, and perhaps we will wee better campaigns in the future because of backer discretion.
Remember: All money put into Kickstarter projects is money that may never result in the product you were hoping. Backer beware.