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Project Phoenix is a JRPG with a squad based RTS game design, brought to you by veteran developers and creators from the East and West.
Project Phoenix is a JRPG with a squad based RTS game design, brought to you by veteran developers and creators from the East and West.
15,802 backers pledged $1,014,600 to help bring this project to life.

Where there's a whip, there's a way

Posted by CIA, Inc. (Creator)

Hey folks, Stuart here. Seeing the comments, emotions, and general lack of faith pouring in from the update the other day, it is pretty obvious we have a lot of work in front of us. Not only to bring the project up to par but also to win back some trust in the abilities of the team.

This is going to take work and I will need your help in order to understand what needs to be done and how to get there.

Refunds are not being considered at this time. We are still working on the project, despite some heinous delays, and the goal is to still ship something to be proud of. Hang in there. As long as the dev team is still invested then there is hope.

I do want to validate the concern though. Lack of communication is never good. Delays are never good. You have right to question what is going on and I will work to answer your questions and get things back on track.

In light of all of the disappointment, I want people to honestly evaluate why they backed this project. What appealed to you and made you want to throw money at it? This is a rhetorical question but I do welcome feedback. I just reviewed the front page for the campaign along with the pitch video and I am not immediately seeing anything that should lead to such disappointment in the art direction or mechanics. I realize the delays are a huge factor but I want to evaluate if there is anything else in your minds.

Keep in mind, I am trying to come at this from a somewhat neutral 3rd party perspective to provide an objective look at where the project is, what's going wrong, and how to fix it. It seems in taking on PR, I am inevitably going to have to take on some PM work as well. Here goes.

I have a queue of test videos but it sounds like that is not interesting at this point. These were all created around March of this year in the Unreal engine. I will provide them all in a separate update just for posterity's sake.

Here is what I have prioritized in getting ASAP:  

  • New and detailed project timeline estimate for delivery including a timeline of events and efforts so far 
  • Developer build access for $400 and up backers and/or Alpha 
  • Resolve Paypal and account creation issue (this goes out to you, Ivan) 
  • Current status of game, assets, and efforts 
  • Get some developer diaries so you can hear from the dev team - what they have done, what they are doing, and what is to come 
  • A broad breakdown of fund usage since the KS campaign closed

chinaviola, Ivy Cassidy, and 52 more people like this update.


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    1. Cenk "Skysect" Aslan on

      Hi , I don't have any hope for this game now . It seems too late for a progress , So I want a refund . Thanks .

    2. Jak

      Well, I just hope for the best at this point. As long as you guys are hard at work and have and keep good communication amongst your whole development team, then everything should turn out as planned. We just hope you put out the game you had in your minds.

    3. Ryan on

      I was really impressed with the art style and the rough gameplay so far. I pretty much wanted detailed profiles with chibi-style models (like in Fire Emblem) and the demo showed exactly that! I will wait patiently for the game at this point, although maybe an option to get a console digital copy as opposed to a PC one would be cool.

    4. Missing avatar

      Jean-Marie La on

      I backed that project because JRPG on PC are very rare. I mean of course there's a lot of JRPG PC (falcom, doujin studios) but most of the time, these games they aren't released outside of Japan.
      So you gave us the opportunity to support a new licence. Besides, Phoenix Project has a lot of talented people. And all of these people are working on the game on their free time. Just for that you have all our respects.

    5. Missing avatar

      Alexander on

      Wow..some people need to chill and have a little faith in this project
      No one who contributes in a kickstarter should even consider a refund

      I put money down on this because I loved the idea and the music
      take your time on this guys(C.I.A) and don't let negativity get to you

    6. Missing avatar

      Jim on

      Completely agree with Hunter's sentiments below.

      "As long as the dev team is still invested then there is hope."

      Hope? Am I supposed to "hope" that the game is finished and released? I'm not sure what you mean by "hope" here. AAA talent indeed...

    7. Missing avatar

      Hunter Bateman on

      I backed the Project because it sounded like the fusion of JRPG gameplay with RTS gameplay... a hybrid genre if you will.

      Resurrection of the JRPG illustrated to me:

      1) strong character-focus & narrative
      2) fantastical aesthetics/environs
      3) rich, customizable gameplay

      Hiro's been very tight-chested about the planned mechanics for the game... mostly he keeps telling us they haven't been fleshed out... but I'm just like, have you not even storyboarded the gameplay? Did you not already have a vision in mind for how the game would play out?

      This' where most of my frustration lies. He wanted to make a real time, squad-based JRPG/RTS hybrid... from the sounds of it, he'd really honed in on how it would play... but in actuality, he had no vision beyond the bare-bones prepared.

      So it's really frustrating to come to this point & to keep hearing that essentially, gameplay is not figured out yet.

      I keep asking questions of control, customization, active-use abilities, squad dynamics. It seems he finally put a little thought into it, but I have no idea what I'm supporting still & it's frustrating to hell.

      It keeps sounding like he's actually giving us a weak RTS with very JRPG-lite gameplay. Doesn't sound like a proper fusion or hybrid at all. Sounds like WC3. Sounds also from his responses that most of the selections will play out passively, predetermined outside of combat, which sounds... incredibly lame.

      So my frustration lies mostly in that I felt I was pitched a hybrid genre but really it's an RTS with weaksauce JRPG elements tacked onto the gameplay. Should've made it much more clear that the JRPG was really 90% in the character-driven plot & narrative.

      A lot of people did misconstrue the pitch but it was confusing at the same time & a lot of emphasis was put onto 'JRPG Rebirth...' so I don't really feel the Backers can be blamed that heavily.

      It pisses me off that gameplay seems like an afterthought. That's mostly where I'm out.

      But all of that doesn't really matter to why I'm angry at my core.

      I'm angry at my core because of a huge lack of respect for the Backers IMO. Severe lacks in communications, a lot of empty promises (imo), unprofessional conduct, sloppy handling/mismanagement, & utter secrecy with regards to development/team dynamics for the most part.

      A big piece of that has to do with the handling of finances... a million fucking dollars, a huge amount of time sitting on that large sum of money, and we've got work that looks to be done by a 12 year old in maybe a week's time worth of effort tops... then some promotional art from virtually day 1 which could've been commissioned for maybe $300.

      So what it appears like is that we've spent $300 & put in maybe 16 hours of work combined. That's where it feels like a huge "fuck you" to us Backers & fans who threw down over a million dollars.

    8. Darmin Hadzic on

      Thanks for this update. I tossed in what I was looking for in the previous update.
      As for what pulled me toward this kickstarter, I'm sure it was a combination of the SuperBestFriendcast plugging it, and myself being fresh off of the XCom games and wanting more top-down strategy.
      I understand, of course, that the combat in this game is real-time, but that does raise a small question:
      One of FTL's most useful features is to pause what is happening on the screen and issue orders to your crew from there. Would this be a difficult or unwelcome addition to Project Phoenix?

    9. Missing avatar

      Jeffrey Chun-Wai Li on

      My disappointment in the severe delays in the project hasn't gone anywhere (and may not anytime soon), but this is a very professional update in keeping with the efforts being made to bring back the backers into the fold. Informative, concise and to the point - just the thing we need right now.

      Great stuff.

    10. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Thanks for the feedback, everyone. There are certainly a lot of questions at this point and I hope to track down answers soon.

    11. Missing avatar

      Douglas Wang on

      As you requested (yes, I read my e-mails little late) I'm here do cleared why I put my money in this project. I see really long posts about that, and first Stuart welcome to the team I'm really happy about you join us in this dream.
      A time ago, one friend of mine come in my twitter and said, man look this project looks incredible I really want has money to help but I can't. And I said, I don't like the kickstart system but let me look it. I looked and liked what I see, and because of that I decide buy a dream that could or not go well. I have to say that I even remember how much I banked and didn't expect refund even that this project goes wrong, I buyed a dream in the past, and remember how I loved see it everytime that I recive an e-mail with games update. I go sometimes in forum, reads the content and see that the project is walking, slowly but is walking.
      I really cheers for project success, and I'll suport and wait any decision of you guys. =) Have a nice day. And Good luck Mr. Stuart

    12. Mikhail Aristov on

      My motivation to back the project was that I liked the character concepts. I still like them, in fact. That, and I was intrigued by the idea of a JRPG mixed with RTS - I am not sure it can be done well, but I am interested in what eventually results from the attempt.

      Also, Stuart, I really don't envy your position right now, but I do admire your courage for signing up to tackle this particular PR meltdown. I sincerely wish you good luck and a lot of psychological fortitude to see it through to the end. :-)

    13. Missing avatar

      Ricardo André Gomes Kislitsyn on

      "What appealed to you and made you want to throw money at it?"

      1- JRPG
      2- Nobuo Uematsu
      3 - It´s only the two above.

      It´s good to have news about the project, in my opinion: Take the necessary time to do a great game but keep us informed please. That´s all.

    14. Glen Proko on

      Thank you for the extra information. To answer your question "What appealed to you and made you want to throw money at it?"

      I was told about this Kickstarter project late by a friend I know from the Eminence days in Australia, but I backed it as a TREASURE HUNTER because of the project people originally involved. Knowing of Hiro's past work with music, the talented team being put together (especially Nobuo Uematsu) and the idea of an SRPG I could play on the PS Vita as well as my PC with a game proposal I really believed in, I had little holding me back from throwing whatever I could spare into this project as a backer for the highest tier I could afford.

      My faith was hurt when I read the July update that the development team was only working on this project in their spare time. But after being burnt really hard on some other Kickstarter projects (*cough* Japan Needs Heroes *cough*... what a train wreck that is) while others came through with the gold medal finish all the way (Wasteland 2), I'm much more patient with game Kickstarter projects than I am with anything other.

      If there were more updates and talk more about the game and the current work, that would be great. Information on delays and how they're being worked through would be fantastic. Developer diaries would cover this nicely, but I'm realistic.

      Regular updates with real information is what keeps my faith with a Kickstarter project. When there's no update of major substance for more than two months is when I get worried and if I see nothing for six months but apologies then I start reaching for the soapbox.

      JNH cracked the record at a year and that had me reaching for the phone for the lawyers.

    15. Ok Impala! on

      I backed this project because of the promises in the developer tier. In that specific tier the following things were promised:

      "Gain access to private Developer Discussions/Forums
      access to the most current developer build (build access will begin May 2014)
      and assist our team on game development choices."

      A really exciting promise. To be involved with a development team with such professionals. But...

      The first happened. But there was never a developer there to discuss anything. Only confused developer backers discussing things with each other.

      The second never happened. We only got an extremely limited VC in Unity once.

      The third never happened too. Not once in two years was anything about the game discussed with us, let alone were we "involved" on anything.

      Worse. All the times I tried to contact anyone of the staff, I never received a single reply from anyone of the development team, although explicitly asking for a reply of one of the development team members. (I did however receive answers sometimes from another backer who temporarily ran the KS message box, but he could never answer my questions).

      So, after promises of being involved, I didn't even succeed to get in touch once with one of the staff members for two years! Not through KS, not on the forum, not through e-mail.

      Even if the developer backers were to get any access to a build now, it would be way too late. As the Alpha is nearing, the developer tier is nothing more than an expensive Alpha tier.

      I request once more for a transfer to the Alpha tier, with the difference being refunded. The developer tier turned out to be a mistake. Something that couldn't be delivered on. People were tricked into this tier with empty promises. No hard feelings, but it's time to make it right by offering these backers a way to a tier that can be delivered on.

      And please... respond to my message. Thank you!

    16. mrfatso ~ Defender of The Goat on

      Err, stuart, is NOBUO UEMATSU still working on the soundtrack?

      Pretty much, the only reason why i back this campaign was to hear some lovely tunes from him. But, i dont recall seeing a scape of it after the campaign has ended.

      Like what the others have mentioned, so i am not gonna repeat myself.

    17. parpaing on

      In the backer only update from july.

    18. Oh Zhi Wei

      Where did they mention that Michael ?

    19. Missing avatar

      Michael on

      The moment you heard that the devs were no longer actually focusing on the game and were working the project on weekends was when you knew it was doomed.

      What game worth playing has ever been done in a TEAM of people's spare time?

    20. Starfire on

      I agree with most of the comments here.

      I supported this project because of the concept, the dream and the AAA team that was going to produce it. The art, the story, the characters and especially the music (knowing it will be good because Hiro has that background)!!

      I was so excited about this project that i ended up convincing a lot of my friends to support it. I feel dumb doing so now with the CURRENT state of this project (I am hoping and believing that this will change! :) ) .

      This was the same time as when Mighty No. 9 was doing their kickstarter too. I ended up throwing a lot of money onto this (Puppeteer) and only minimal on the other one... however comparison of the progress of these 2 projects is like night and day even though Mighty No. 9 is also experiencing delays!

      At first I was convinced it was a good idea when the updates involved different people from the team showcasing the different sides of the project - From the music to the storyline/plot to the art and the encouragement and videos from others that was going to come onto the project like Nobuo Uematsu. We need more of these.. updates from the art people from the music people from the story people etc to keep the dream alive!

    21. Jasae Bushae on

      I think it would go a long way if we had more information about how the project was doing. At first, we were getting a constant feed of information, but then it slowed to a trickle. I understand avoiding spoilers, but until that update a bit back, none of us even knew the programmer was the issue.

      And to be honest, it just went from a constant steady stream of details on the project to a vague account, which left some of us quite impatient for some solid information and a desire to know more about the game.

      Personally, im all for it however it goes. But some details would be nice.

    22. Missing avatar

      Monkcrab on

      I rarely comment on Kickstarter, but since you asked....

      I don't tend to be all that emotionally invested in a Kickstarter I backed. Yes, it's my money, but I start off accepting that it's a gamble which can go both ways, and in the worst case some dreams just don't come true. And I'm very, very, very laissez-faire with delays. It's done when it's done, as long as it's good. The main reason I backed THIS particular Kickstarer? At the time, Japanese RPGs in general was in a slump, with close to no titles anywhere, and there seems to be a prevalent image that the West doesn't care about them anymore and that there's no market here. Also, the medium-sized studios were struggling hard. Kickstarter seems like a good way to show Japanese devs that we still care, and that there are other market niches and revenue streams they can look at aside from the cell phone/galge/AAA triangle, and maybe get Japan itself interested in crowdfunding. And this Kickstarter, in particular, seemed like the closest thing to a message of 'we still want you, be confident in being you' for JRPGs at the time. For what it's worth, I am satisfied about THAT.

      I was also interested in the game itself, of course, mostly in the setting and the characters, being a worldbuilding kind of person, and here I have to be honest with you. On the game front, it looks like it's floundering/is in trouble. Maybe it isn't, but you had serious communication issues. I'm not terribly upset about that, but I can see why people would lose faith. We rarely see talk about the world, side from a few concept arts. We rarely see anyone talking about what they're working on. We rarely see in-depth discussions about systems. And most importantly, there just isn't any feeling that any of the devs are EXCITED about making the game.

      That's a very important issue to me. In general, I back Kickstarter games because they tend to be passion projects for the creator. Those tend to be more interesting, and I love games where I can feel the love of the creators when I play. I've backed a few more troubled Kickstarters, but in nearly all of those I could feel the creators being really passionate about it. What with the recent communication being all about the community rather than about the game, I just don't feel your passion for the game anymore. I'm not here for us. I'm here for your game, and your desire to make it. Really, just some of your modelers talking about how they're designing the models would've helped.

      tl;dr - Talk more about the game. Make less small talk. Talk about your work. Talk about what works, talk about what didn't. Game talk is fun. Show us more fun. Developer diaries would go a long way towards this, yes.

      I'd like to add that I already feel a bit better that you're being open about this and showing a desire to fix your mistakes, so there's to that.

    23. Andrew Waitas on

      I just want to know where the project is at this point. I am not interested in a refund. If the game does not happen I would at least like the other physical rewards.

    24. Riddlewrong on

      A lot of things happened which caused unforeseen delays. Be patient.

      I work in a customer service job where people expect perfection 100% of the time, and if there's even a slight delay or some sort of hiccup, responses range from polite understanding to NUCLEAR MELTDOWN. Much of the anger and concern a customer feels is due to acute misunderstanding, jumping to incorrect conclusions, and severe impatience.

      This is one of those situations. So...

      Are you going to be the chill dude who takes a setback in stride and lets everyone do their jobs?


      Are you going to be that enraged soccer mom who screams at everyone in earshot and demands instant resolution to a problem while her three kids scream "I WANT IT NOW!" in shrill unison as everyone looks on shaking their heads and wondering how it really came to this?

    25. Geoffrey Lee Shaw-Cullen on

      The general feeling is that there were broken promises. Personally, I have been hesitant to back games on Kickstarter due to the horror stories of buggy, unfinished, broken projects. But when you see big names on big projects, it makes you think there is more dedication.

      An issue I have is that for all the talent we were supposed to get, the art-style was misleading and ultimately a little upsetting. Was it the tone of the game was changed to try and managed expectations of the product?

      Reading the comments, it looks like quite a few people believe the project has the opportunity to be something great. As for the huge delays, I would be happy having stretch-goals unlocked and shipped as part of the product. It would really leave a bad taste in the mouth to find out after all these letdowns that we're only barely getting what was promised.

    26. Tiso Spencer

      For me originally, I backed the game because I was starting out on Kickstarter, getting used to and excited to help fund a project and bring it to life. Plus, the talent assembled had me really excited, along with the music, game concept, reward tier ($400 Developer). Now as of 2015, I haven't had any confidence in the game.

      It doesn't exist to me. The creator has dipped into his own funds (which already should be a red flag) just to make the game better. This doesn't seem like a dedicated front either, but some kind of weekend project. It makes no sense when 1 million+ was raised. We still have no definite visual representation of the game about 2 years from campaign fund date.

      As a developer tier ($400) I haven't had any kind of input, feedback, etc about the process. Whatever vertical slice wasn't even an appetizer. There was just too much money, too much excitement, too many promises made and nothing has been delivered.

    27. Michael St. George Matatics

      Thanks for keeping us posted, Stuart! Great choices for YT videos by the way. I had forgotten how oddly catchy that "Where There's A Whip, There Is A Way" song is. Gosh, it's probably been over 15 years since I last saw that version of The Return of the King.

      While I don't really like delays, I don't dislike them either. As long as it's not due to laziness or apathy, I'm fairly fine devs taking a little more time than expected. I'd rather a delayed yet perfect (or at least incredibly good) game than a punctual yet rushed and botched one. But please do continue to keep us posted so we will know where the team is at in the development process.

    28. Rednal on

      In my case, I backed this project because it sounded like professional people were seriously committed to making it work - and honestly, it just sounded flat-out fun.

      As far as communication goes, my personal advice is to have updates at LEAST once a month - every two weeks if you can manage it. Be honest about what's going on, and consider keeping a running total of the game's progress at the bottom, showing roughly what's been done (percentage-wise) and what the team is currently working on. Regular updates on the project, even if it's as simple as "We're continuing to work on X, and expect it to be done around Y Time, after which we'll move on to Z" will probably keep the huge majority of backers happy and satisfied. The project timeline sounds like a very good start to that - just don't post things once and then be silent for an extended period of time. ^^ Generally speaking, the more you communicate with backers, the more tolerant they'll be of any problems.

    29. Oh Zhi Wei

      I was just curious as to why the game's art style went chibi, as it was mentioned before the main Page's chibi art was to show how the game would be played. And somehow it's now the main look of the game...

      I've no problems with chibi if its done extremely well, since we're looking at a legendary game..

      Reason I backed this game, The person behind each legendary FF music that's known to so many. All the great Devs that worked on so many epic games before. It just seems like this would really be legendary.

      Now I hope it lives up to the Phoenix moniker and rise up from the ashes(this current state of things)

      I'm on one of the higher tiers, I've no problem giving this project more time to make something legendary. We already have plenty of companies like EA or Ubisoft as of late giving rushed jobs and buggy games. We don't need another EA.

      Just do something that you all will be extremely proud of having your name and reputation tagged to it.

    30. Missing avatar


      Thanks for the update, Stuart! I'm sorry to see the poor response that you got for attempting to ease people's minds about this project. I'm glad you're staying dedicated to that goal, but I hope you'll keep in mind that you'll never please everyone, and that the most vocal people don't represent everyone.

      I'd make my suggestions as to what I'd like to see in future updates, but you've already covered them with your mentioned plans. Definitely looking forward to them!

    31. Missing avatar

      Laurier-Joseph Burelle on


      I just want to start by saying a big thank you for your honesty; it's rare for a company to acknowledge mistakes these days, and it's even rarer for the company to call it mistakes. So again, thank you.

      With that said, I backed the project, originally, because of the pedigree of the team involved. This has been, in every kickstarter project I've backed, a key concern: does the team look like they have the expertise and experience to deliver this project? Mind you, I'm aware that this doesn't guarantee anything, but it minimizes risks.

      Prior to your coming in, I'll be frank: I was getting worried about this project. I can't speak for everyone else, but the added transparency that you seem to have in mind will go a long way towards earning my trust. Best of luck.

    32. Missing avatar


      I personally don't obsess over the few KS campaigns I contribute to very much. I accept that it is a gamble, so when I find something I like, I donate an amount I can part with and go on with my life. Maybe things would be different if the amount I donated were unusually substantial, but that wouldn't really be a logical thing to do on Kickstarter from my point of view. It's pretty well documented that a lot of backers across various Kickstarter campaigns view their pledge as more of a future purchase than a gamble, so it's not really a mystery why they're concerned or angry about the end product--for whatever reason--differing from what was expected.

      I guess that is what ultimately brought me here to make this comment. I don't really mind the wait or even feel particularly upset about the potential loss on an "investment", but I am nonetheless disappointed because the project doesn't appear to be on a trajectory to become what I was expecting based on the Kickstarter campaign. Further, what does exist currently doesn't instill much confidence that it will eventually.

      While I don't want to suggest that the team release less information at this stage, I think it is probably important to be very careful about what you do release if your intention is to build positive momentum. The gameplay videos would probably have been received better if presented alongside some developer commentary that described the vision for what they were implementing. Likewise, I think a lot of backers were disappointed by the in-game art due to the very high quality of the concept art. If there is something that could be released which would give us confidence that we're going to see better in-game art as development continues, that would help mitigate these concerns. Finally, of course, are the SFX and music, which are especially important in the JRPG genre. So far we haven't heard much, why is that? The (relative) silence is deafening in the videos release thus far...

      Best of luck pulling it together. I'd like for this project to succeed, because I really liked the idea of what was promised way back when I made my pledge.

    33. Missing avatar

      Johannes G. on

      *concept - consept.... -.-
      I'm really sorry for my typo-riddled post......

    34. Missing avatar

      Johannes G. on


      First of all, refunds: I don't know why some people seem to ask for them now but for me at least any money put into any kickstarter-projekt is lost money, which is probably why I don't back for high amounts......

      Now why did I back th game:

      1. The Art: The Artdesign is/was very appealing to me and my hope is that the "feel" of the conceptar could be translated into th game

      2 Genre/game-consept: I like the sound of the ideas and am very interested what the developers make with that(considering that I have seen some games that have very similar consepts to one-another but were very different in the end)

      3. Story: I just wanted something a little bit different to my normal style that is done well. (After all, most good Storys aren't good because they're "innovative" or "different" but because they're told well, and I just don't have much experience with eastern Vidoe-game-storytelling)

      What caused me to loose some faith:

      The update-structure: After the first few updates most updates seemed to be very rarely directly related to the game and more about... stuff... (I confess I didn't bother to read most of those that even seemed like they were in that style.... I'm really not interested in the personel lives of the project-staff). I would be surprised if even half the kickstarter-updates are about the project itself.

      In the updates which were describing the delays and comings and leaving of staff there was, for me at least, a generall vibe off pour planning aka planning on the level of a bigger mod-team and not professional people. (key-example: waiting for months for a key-programmer and than having to replace him anyways because he didn't have time/had other commitments................ )

      What I would like to see:

      A roadmap. Not something very detailed but something in which is stated:
      - this is what we want to achieve,
      - this is where we are and
      - we THINK that is how much work is still needed in key areas to move foreward

      The summary of the current state should be the biggest part. The Background-lore should be pretty fleshed out at this point and at least I would like to know more about the world of the game.

      A demonstration of how the look and feel of the concept-art will be translated into the videogame would be nice since as I've stated that was the biggest draw for me.

    35. zkylon on

      Thanks for the effort in providing us much needed insight into the project. Clearly a lot of things went wrong, and that can happen in a project and that's fine, even, but the secretiveness and uncertainty needed (and still needs, until your next update at least) to stop.

      Everyone wants to see the game happen, so there was never any need to hide from the community, it's all the opposite, really

    36. Timotheus on

      First off, thanks for accepting the PR role, and note what I'm writing is being relayed to you, NOT directed towards you. :)

      I backed this because of the top level talent, the lead composer, and the gameplay sounded exciting.

      The biggest things I want to see are:

      1) A broad breakdown of fund usage since the KS campaign closed. I cannot stress this enough. If there is a warchest of ~$800K still sitting there? Awesome. If it was "distributed" to certain people and now it's mostly all gone? That is bad.

      2) A list of all the contributors listed from the project page, with lists of what each of them have contributed so far.

      3) The number of developers you have working on this. Even on the project page I just saw a slot for "Lead Developer". A game of this scope is going to need a large team to get it finished in time

    37. Jayme Dale on

      I backed it because I was curious about what this team would make. I thought that premise of a game that combined "East and West" was pretty fascinating, mostly because I was interested in what the developers considered "East" versus "West". Also, the concept art was beautiful and so was the narrative. I'm still curious and look forward to seeing what the new-ish team comes up with! Thanks for all the PR stuff. It seems like the role is going to be a bit all consuming. Your honesty and forthrightness has been really pleasant. I look forward to seeing more updates!

    38. Missing avatar

      Nicholas Brooker-Henk on

      Hi Stuart,

      My name is Nik. I am a $155 backer who has been considering backing more for awhile now because I believed so strongly that this project was going to be a success. I was willing to wait for the project, they flew past their original goal so obviously they would need more time. Seeing two years of work resulting in placeholder sound effects and no animation though...

      I thank you. You have given us a real taste of the stage of this project. It is incredibly painful, but it is something we needed. I don't know if you have reviewed the past 2 years of updates, but they have been made up almost entirely of concept art. I knew the direction they were trying to take. Now that you show us the gameplay though, it looks like they spent the last 2 years daydreaming about a game and paying artists to draw what the game would look like without actually working on the game.

      I understand that changing engines is a huge speed bump, but I am wondering if maybe the decision to change engines was made without actually looking at the budget. I want to know WHY they changed engines. I want to know how much backer money was lost because of this engine change. We need to decide whether or not this was a worthwhile decision, we can't just have the director telling us it was worthwhile.

      Here is the thing, most of the people listed on the main page as employees should be done with their job. Why are we hearing placeholder sound effects if there has been a sound engineer on the payroll for 2 years? Are those effects even there? Do we have the 3D modelers that were promised, have they stayed with the company? We need to have a list of people who are still part of the company. Those that quit need to be held accountable, those that are still there need to be held accountable.

      Updates aren't enough anymore. We need something tangible coming out every few months. This might be a demo that can be played, preferably with some unlockables to make us feel like the developer cares. Maybe this is a music EP from Nobuo giving us a taste of the soundtrack. A live-stream of the studio so we can watch the office work? Art time lapses? How about polls on the direction of the game? There are dozens of things you could do to restore faith in the project, I came up with those in 2 minutes, I think someone versed in marketing and PR like you can do even better. What I am saying is that updates aren't enough anymore, the last PR guy botched that chance for you, and the development team has put you into PR emergency mode. Help us help you.

      You need to let your development team know this. If they don't finish this project, they're time in the game industry is over. You screw up on Kickstarter and everyone knows. It is a black mark that can never be erased. Even big names like Nobuo Uematsu will have their reputations tarnished by this project if it doesn't work out.

      PS: If you have any questions feel free to message me. I don't want to see this project fail and right now it looks like it is on the edge of a knife.

    39. Gregory Morris on

      I am quite troubled by some of your comments, Otoshigami, because when I heard them talk about "squad-based real time strategy mechanics" in the context of an RPG which fused east and west, I... apparently foolishly made the assumption that we were talking about comparing like and like, and that the Project Phoenix team were looking at some of the classic squad-based RPGs of Western gaming, such as Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment, Neverwinter Nights - real role-playing with multiple character-defining choices in each interaction, party development including squad-level combat informed by tabletop RPGs, and a world without random "popup" encounters, to reward planning, preparation, and strategy.

      To hear that the goal may have, in fact, been Warcraft III is very, very disappointing but might explain much about the videos we've seen. If that's truly the goal then I for one want to know right now. First, because in no way do I want to support that concept or receive that product. Second, because that's probably the source of their problems - Warcraft III is not an RPG and trying to shoehorn that terrible mistake into the genre is bound to lead to design setbacks. So, I guess I have to take back what I said earlier and support the idea of dev diaries, if only to try and get answers about what they really mean by squad-based real time strategy gameplay.

    40. LZRFACE on

      I appreciate that more emphasis has been put on communication, and that resources have been allocated to improve in this area.

      That said, I find find this update at best hopefully naive and at worst insulting. If you cannot understand the disappointment surrounding the updates and the project to this point, then I would say you are aloof regarding the project in general.

      Why did we choose to support this game? Because for many people it appealed their strong sense of nostalgia for games that they loved and treasured, and that this project involved a team of people that were major factors in bringing those games into creation.

      At the end of the day it doesn't matter why we chose the back the game. What matters is why has a project that raised 10x its original goal have very little to show after two years of development?

      It is beyond me how anyone involved in this project cannot clearly articulate the "current status of game, assets, and efforts." I understand you are new to the project, but that fact this was not reviewed with you prior to you addressing the public is a sign of poor management and is alarming (perhaps the project leads don't know these things themselves).

      Based on the comments from previous updates, most backers really do not mind waiting. In fact, the common line has been "I don't mind waiting, just make a great game." The problem is we get all of the waiting and nothing to assure us that it will be worth it.

      To end on a more positive note, it sounds like we will be getting more regular updates going forward, and I thank you for taking this on. Hopefully these updates will go a long way in reassuring us backers that the game we were pitched can still be a reality.

    41. David De Ost on

      Otoshigami No. 40723, was your message directed at me? Because I'm not sure why you're telling me this? At any rate, like I said, I don't mind the delays, I don't mind devs struggling with a new format, it's the lack of transparency and the lack of progress that are causing backers to lose faith. Let's hope that, with the addition of Stuart, this gets turned around.

    42. Otoshigami No. 40723

      that's the thing, this project for RTS JRPG is Very new to the Japanese who never done this before. the only game RTS JRPG I heard was FF12 revenant wings on Nintendo DS and it failed miserably on GAMEPLAY. I'm worried if the Japanese don't know the basics of RTS as Western has such as Blizzards Entertainment at all.

    43. Sterling Treadwell

      Why did I back it. Well I didn't back this project for much, as funds were tight at the time, so I am not as INVESTED as many others may be. But that being said, I was under the assumption that the tram building the game were passionate, professional, and driven. It felt like they were being given a shot at restoring our faith in odl school gaming and would make a game the big publishers wouldn't spend the money on. Kind of grassroots effort to restore our love of the genre and spark a new age of modern retro gaming.

      Because of this I am not totally averse to the art style and what has been shown, but I am not entirely blown away by it either. I've already posted a series of screenshots to voice my concerns and suggestions. I think what may help would be to get a running list or artwork/images of:

      bestiary (all we see now is green orc looking guys as enemies)
      Armory (how many weapons and armors will we have access to that are complete or concieved?)
      Geography (how big is th game? Ho wmany continuents or islands or geographic regions will we traverse?)
      Spellbook/SkillBook (how many will there be, how will they look? what effects or combinations might we get?)
      Character classes/Customisation (are there onyl a few base classes and we customize/specialize based on skill tree's? or arre there many classes but only a few distinct skills for each?
      AI or advanced scripting (some of this has been shown, but nothing really complex. WIll we have Dragon Age Origins levels of customisation to behavior? )
      Weather effects/filters/added visual perks (what kinds of rendering will we see? bloom, ambient occlusion, texture filters, etc etc in play? COmparisons of old and new to show off?)
      Sound design: what new bits of soundtrack or speech have been done in SOME state? How immersive will the audio layering be? Is there already a strong theme or vibe to the music?
      Controls: is it primarily point and click mouse/keyboard or are you working with gamepad implementation as well? Will it be twitch based with some fast reflexes or will the game have a "pause" feature to strategise?
      Ui: what does the inventory and character screens look like? Will it be adjustable?
      Online: are there going to be any online/network elements? Leaderboards or multiplayer aspects? How are you planning to implement it?
      Testing: who are your current alpha/beta testers and how long are they working on the assets? how many bugs and reported issues have you seen?
      Intro/cut scenes: have you contracted with an animation group to render scenes? How is that coming along?

      Some or much of this MAY have been addressed at some point in past updates but getting a updated running list of a lot of this, NOW, to show how far along or advanced the project is would be a good idea. I think it would make everyone understand what the status is, feel confident again in what is being done, and possibly hype us up when we see some of whats completed and kicking ass. :)

    44. Yohann Denis on

      bonjour ! (from France, so excuse my poor english)

      I think that 2 years and 1 014 600 $ to see these videos in the last update even if it's a WIP is a joke...

      I don't ask for refund and have the patience to wait ! (I gave money for the first edition of pier solar on sega megadrive / genesis ! )
      I spent 155 $ on project phoenix (I love artbooks and the art seem great in this project) and of course I love a lot of video-games :)

      I just hope for this game to be at least finished and good if not excellent

    45. Missing avatar

      kickstartsomestuff1 on

      Also, I want to downgrade my pledge from Treasure Hunter, to a more basic level. Please consider that.

    46. sdfleischaker on


      It’s encouraging you were brought in, however, full stop, you should be posting updates in abbreviated form here and linking to full-length updates on the your official site ( Your official site is in disarray. it gives the appearance of a project which has been abandoned by its development team. Your main page promises the project will be delivered in June of 2015. Your News section was last updated five months ago, in March of 2015.

      These updates reach a fraction of your backers. Your project site states you have 17,418 backers. Your Kickstarter page lists 15,802 backers. Updates here will miss 1,616 of your backers, assuming that count is accurate.

      I am genuinely hopeful that the team delivers on this project. I want to see a small, talented group succeed realize their dream of producing a AAA product which would not normally be funded. I’m an Artisan II on this project and I have no interest in a refund.

      However, if you want to give us something, put some wallpapers on your site (up to 3440x, please). Give us something cute, something that shows the spirit you had when you were running the Kickstarter campaign. These posts expressing regret are, in the end, words. I can get words from any one. A set of wallpapers, however, needs artists and developers who are attached to and working on a real project. The former tells me you feel bad about the situation. The latter shows me you’re still serious about producing the project. Also, it doubles as an investment in marketing, which adds to your project (two birds, one stone).

      Thank you. Good luck. Work hard.

    47. David De Ost on

      Going to add my voice to the people who are saying the biggest problem is the lack of updates. It's not the delays, Hell, video games get delayed all the time, it happens and it hardly fazes anyone anymore, especially when it concerns a new studio. The biggest problem is that people are losing faith because the developers simply don't look like they're producing anything at all. We haven't seen any gameplay demos or anything that would convince us that progress is actually being made. That causes people to doubt, it's only natural.

      I'm 100% convinced this isn't a "take the money and run"-scheme like our dear friend Maksym Pashalik perpetrated with Confederate Express (damn his eyes! damn his britches! damn his duckpond!) but I am also convinced that the leader(s) of this project bit off more than he/they could chew. I'm certain the idea was to create a good and special video game, and that the intentions were honest, but it seems now that the devs are in over their heads. It's sad to see they underestimated the challenge, but I hope they remember their promise to us and do everything they can to get this game back on the rails.

      Also, I think a lot of people are expecting an update concerning the dev team itself: who is still on board? Who jumped ship? I think hope for Uematsu-san is all but lost, and because a lot of the backers consider this paramount, I humbly think it's best to admit it now rather than keep it hidden if that's the case. I don't care about the art style, or the engine, or anything like that, I'm just hoping for a good JRPG - I suppose that's also my answer to why I backed this project: I'm just a guy who likes good video games!

      All that said, thank you Stuart, for taking the PR-bull by the horns. I'm sincerely hoping people aren't taking their doubts and frustrations out on you personally, because your communication has been much clearer and much more comprehensive than anything we've seen from CIA so far. I think your updates will inspire more confidence in us backers as time goes on. It's great to see someone step in and start kicking some order into this chaos. Cheers, man!

    48. Otoshigami No. 40723

      actually, it's both. think of it as Warcraft 3 inspiration with Japanese-ish.

    49. Otoshigami No. 40723

      okay I agree with some comments below about the delays(3 years at best, that's where I lose the hype for the game), but the only thing that's disappointing are the Alpha footage that's doesn't go anywhere over the pass 1 year. it doesn't feel the HYPE nor feels reassuring improvements of gameplay that's fresh. I'm not sure if Hiro's family and his newborn baby got in the way of his progress but if it does, then he needs to find a way to get around it so the game wont suffer due to schedule conflicts. Lastly, the reason I backed the project for ONE REASON, Japanese. I want them to go FULL POTENTIAL without being interfere from the publishers who always makes creative freedom decision. that said, I hope you guys can DO BETTER THAN THAT other than just showing pre alpha footage shows no progress.

    50. Missing avatar

      kickstartsomestuff1 on

      Here's a note: I backed an RPG, and it looks like we're getting an RTS...