Now, Areal has been floating around for months now and I'm gonna give my two rifle cartridges about it.
What is it? It's supposedly going to be a spiritual successor to the STALKER series, to be developed by West Games. It is also supposedly being developed by a team comprised of core STALKER and Metro LL developers (Later proven to be largely exaggerated as barely a handful even worked on the STALKER series' development.). It is supposedly also using their own propriety game engine capable of working on PCs AND consoles from the PS4 to the WiiU (Yes, West Games have done what many bigtime developers like EA, Infinity Ward, and Capcom has failed to do in decades.). The caveat to everything? They only require $50,000 to get started up (Yes, you heard me right, a multi-platform game only needs a meager $50,000 to get started. I'm not gonna bore you with economic flubdubbery, but the average cost to make a multi-platform game today around is $20,000,000 and this can go much higher. I have no idea what they're gonna do with $50,000.). According to them, the team "pooled all their money to make Areal". Now, majority of the team members are not exactly millionaires. A single veteran developer, a CEO who's most note-worthy achivement is creating a single web-browser game for Facebook, and a couple more people people are highly unlikely to have come up with $19,950,000.
I'm sure you've heard some news about it, mostly bad. From their hilarious teaser video that literally uses nothing but STALKER gameplay assets and claiming it as their own, to being found out as fakes and getting their kickstarter closed down for a few reasons (namely misleading their customers and backing their own kickstarter to fool people into thinking its being supported). All the way down faking their own in-game art using the Unity Engine. Including Vostok Games, a company comprised of former GSC employees, calling them out as fakes.
This is even made worse by West Games themselves. They have yet to release an alpha build of their program (and personally, the absurdity of trying to gain support for a concept, without even releasing a prototype is just laughable) and have released literally next-to-nothing about their own game. Apart from concept art, they have yet to even give backers a glimpse of what their game even is. Ohh, and they're still asking you to donate to them, BTW. While their kickstarter got shot down, their website now allows you to directly donate to West Games.
With so much controversy surrounding them. What does West Games do? Nothing. I'm not kidding. West Games refuse to answer the controversy aimed at them. From "How can you develop a multi-platform game with a studio less than 50 people" and "how can you even afford the capital to support a multi-platform venture, despite only coming into the industry" to "why are you using STALKER assets and claiming it as your own" (infact if I were to direct your attention to these two pages on their website, you'd notice how they're using several STALKER assets without crediting them.), and "why can't you release an Alpha Build of the program you are trying to market to us" and finally "why are you using the Unity Engine to attempt to release in-game footage, instead of using your own proprietary game engine?".
All these hard questions remain unanswered. Instead, West Games attempts to play victim by claiming they're "in an information war with Russia", somewhat hilarious in the middle given that they supposedly received an E-mail from Russian President Vladimir Putin (With Putin busy covering his tracks due to the MH17 and separatist incident, along with trying to find a way to get the Russian economy back on track again after the Western sanctions; I'm suuuuuuure he has the time in the world to support a game personally. Not to mention the logic of why would Russian hackers attack a new game studio with literally zero influence on the Ukrainian public?). They refuse to break out from this mentality and continually defends itself as the victim, all the while the controversy around it is rife and unanswered. This type of behavior is very immature and unprofessional for a "veteran development team" of all people, mirroring just what kind of people are actually behind this thing.
Their failure to deliver any content relating to their game, plus their reluctance to give any details about their game, only points to one conclusion: Areal is a scam. They've built up their reputation through exaggeration, have reached for skies that would be insane for an new company to reach, they show little to no form of professionalism, and leave the details of their game, shrouded in so much mystery that you'd think that they're under the protection of the Pentagon or something.
I urge everyone, STALKER fans of the world, to not support West Games and spread thetruth about their lies. They're scam artists preying on people desperate for a reboot of the STALKER series and deserve to be branded as such for what they are. They're deluded if they think they can get away with this and we, and the rest of the STALKER fandom should show them this. Spread the word, do not let them use our beloved, buggy game as a tool for extorting money from fans.
- West Games' website - That donation counter you see, BTW? That's hard-coded into the webpage, meaning that its not updated in realtime and a static number that anyone in West Games can edit. Also notice the lack of any videos pertaining to their actual game.