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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.

Hold on to your butts

Posted by CIA, Inc. (Creator)
107 likes
https://youtu.be/-W6as8oVcuM

Hi folks, here is what I have so far. I will continue to procure info and assets as I can.

Please take your time to assimilate all of the info here into a cohesive whole. If you have questions, finish the article, and if still not sated then hit up the comments and I will do my best to answer. It’s going to be a wall of text so bear with me until the end. 

Here’s the story so far... 

Hiro posted about the state of the game and our troubles with programming back in July: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent/posts/1266538

I introduced myself and hope to communicate more often and more better than previously: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent/posts/1326086 

 Then we talked about how a lot of people are upset about a few things: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent/posts/1328809 

 And then I posted test videos from March 2015 on the Unreal 4 engine: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent/posts/1329068 

Now let’s dive into some of the more detailed info for the state of the game and where everything sits today as well as the future direction and timeline for the game development. GO! 

State of the Game 

  • 100% Scenarios (Main battles and story elements for Acts 1-5) 
  • 90% Game Design (combat mechanics are designed and programmed with the exception of the threat system)
  • 80% Overall models (all base models are done which includes characters and environment - variant models are left to do)
  • 70% Overall animations (90% humanoid animations are done)
  • 0% Textures
  • 0% Script (text for the game)
  • 0% Unreal 4 executable (sandbox used to create the game) - this is the main thing we need a programmer for
  • 0% Level Design (“physically” building the world, placement of objects and characters, lighting, and scripting) - obviously this cannot happen until we have the executable
  • 0% Particle Effects
  • 5% Sound Effects
  • 0% VO (dependent on script and casting)
  • 0% Localization (mostly dependent on script)
  • ?% Music - 80 minutes of unlooped music is composed (JRPGs usually have 90 minutes) - still needs to go through post production/arrangement and recording 

We have made progress but still have a lot of work to do. A lot of the groundwork has been laid (i.e. base models) which is a majority of the work, time-wise. Once this is done, theoretically the rest of the work will go smoothly and quickly.

0% is kind of harsh to say on some of those things but I would rather be conservative at this point until we see some results. Yes, after 2 years there should be more to show but I will go into the reason below... 

So what happened? What’s going on? Why the delay? Why such a long delay? 

The short answer is: Programming. Programming was listed on the KS page as one of our major risks to the project and we got hit by it. We were holding off for a specific person and ultimately they could not join us. Now we have to get a replacement(s). 

The long answer is: the Project Phoenix development was hinging on one major programmer to bring the project to a point where others could begin their in-game work. Obviously, that did not work out. The programmer’s involvement got delayed and therefore the game was delayed respectively. Now he has been removed from the project altogether and we are working to get a replacement(s) in as soon as possible. The replacement programmer(s) will be paid to do the work until the game is done, unlike the original staff’s arrangement which is based on royalties (i.e. they don’t get paid until the game is done and starts selling - and no, this is not the same as volunteering) but this will be paid out of CIA’s company account and not the KS funds. 

Unfortunately, we are not able to solidify the replacement programmer(s) contract until the end of October 2015 which means that there will be not much to show in terms of in-game assets until closer to the end of the year. 

Why rely so heavily on one programmer? 

It’s not unheard of and happens more often than you might think. Especially for Indie projects like this one. The other game he was working on, Ori and the Blind Forest, was also mostly programmed by him and there was no reason to suspect he could not do the same for Project Phoenix. David Clark is a very talented programmer and any team would be lucky to have him involved. 

Why wait so long? 

This was a production decision and it should have been better and/or more explicitly communicated. We wanted him to be able to be involved but, at this point, we have had to move on. We hope to be more communicative going forward. If we are waiting on things, we will let you know. I will put out an update every so often and address development status. 

After all of that, why switch game engines? Doesn’t that set you back even further?

The decision to switch game engines was made for two reasons. 1) The programmer we had been hoping to work with was very well versed with Unity but once we lost him we had no particular reason to stick with it and 2) Unreal 4 natively offers much more robust tools for development than Unity and it would have actually been more time consuming to stick with Unity sans our original programmer than to switch and have a plethora of tools immediately at our disposal. 

Budget & Funds

It was stated on the KS page that “all funds raised through Kickstarter will go towards making the 3D models and making sure they’re as polished as possible” which not only tells us what the original purpose of the KS was but also where most of the budget comes into play. Granted, once you have a KS, you then have to consider funding production and shipping all of the rewards which is now the most sizable item in the budget. Once the KS reached above its goal then we started putting other items in the budget. 

Here is the money we pulled in from the KS campaign (approximated): 

Approximated Available Funds
Approximated Available Funds

and its rough allocation in the budget:

Original Budget
Original Budget

Note: <$200,000 of what we have pulled in has been spent so we still have a majority of the funds left for finishing the game and producing the rewards. A lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the team is working under a royalty contract and are not being paid with the KS funds. 

Development Clarifications 

AAA? $1,000,000? 

AAA refers to the staff involved and the collective resume they bring to the table. Final Fantasy titles, Dragon Quest titles, Halo, etc. etc. AAA does not refer to the budget or perceived look of the game in any way. Nor does it exclude the development team from setbacks and delays. 

$1,000,000 is a small game budget by today’s standards. Especially one which features fully modeled 3D characters and ~60 hours worth of gameplay (Acts 1-5) along with a renowned music composer. Also, keep in mind only about half of that is being used for the game development (some is taken as fees from the facilitating agencies) and a good portion (almost half) is used for rewards and shipping.

Development Time

It was stated on the KS page that the development team “have taken time out of their personal schedule to contribute their expertise towards Project Phoenix's success” along with a line from the FAQ stating, “each of our members are professionals in their own field, they do not require a salary right now, and so, are donating their time and effort into developing Project Phoenix” which communicates that these developers are working “in their spare time” to produce this game. 

They have day jobs they need to attend to but ultimately want to create this project on their own time and will see it through, even with delays and budgetary constraints. This in turn means though, that we are not dependent on additional funding outside of paying for the 3D modeling. Development will roll on until we are done; delays and all. 

Game mechanics 

It was stated on the KS page that this game would be “a SQUAD-BASED, REAL-TIME STRATEGY GAME combined with strong Japanese RPG design influences”. Let’s break that down based on the intentions of the team.

Squad based:

  • Small group(s) of characters with specialized roles
  • Primary Influence: Many RPG classics with class assignments and small party of characters

Real-time strategy: 

  • Not turn based (i.e. everything moves/acts at the same time) and requiring some amount of micromanagement 
  • Primary Influence: Warcraft 3 

JRPG influences: 

  • Strong story and characters, great boss battles, itemization and skill progression, grinding for xp, items, etc. 
  • Primary Influence: Final Fantasy 

In regard to all of this, I think the game is progressing along these lines. It could have been communicated better but here we are. Let’s work together to make it the best we can. 

It was also stated that players will “experience the strategic options without being bogged down by overwhelming archaic battle systems” which communicates an effort to eschew traditional JRPG game mechanics and systems. There is character progression in skills, items, talents, and stats but these systems are relatively simple. The pitch video also asks “wasn’t there more to JRPGs than just flashy graphics and ever-changing battle systems?”. Project Phoenix set out to do something different from the onset. 

Art Direction

It was stated on the KS page “Art that balances Western functionality with Japanese aesthetics” and “A JRPG primarily built for a worldwide audience, not just Japan“ which communicates that, although based on those things, we are trying something new. The risk when doing so is that it may not resonate or be well received with everyone but, it *will* be our own. 

Also, under Staff, Asami Hagiwara is listed as SD artist. SD stands for “super deformed” aka “chibi” and, under the Art section, “In-game battle sequences will make use of super-deformed characters”. There are also examples of concepts of “in-game 3D model reference” in the chibi style. 

Staff 

Who’s on: 

All roles and responsibilities are accounted for by existing staff. 

  • Nobuo Uematsu - Music 
  • Yoko Enoki - Scenarios 
  • Gontaro - Lead artist, Art Supervisor, Art Director 
  • Take-B - Character/Monster Design 
  • Yoko Tsukamoto - Monster Design 
  • Koya Takahashi - Lead Cinematic Artist 
  • Koji Moriga - Concept Art Designer 
  • Asami Hagiwara - SD (super deformed) Character Design 
  • Steffen Unger - 3D Character Modeler 
  • Yumiko Sugihara - 3D Environment Modeler 
  • John Kurlander - Sound Engineer (interested but would need to hit stretch goal) 
  • Rene Paulesich - German Localization 
  • Phil - German Localization 
  • Yoshihiro Sakaguchi - Sound FX 
  • Yasutaka Matsubara - Animator 
  • Takaharu Matsuo - In-Game Art Direction 

Who’s gone: 

Those that have left have done so because they 1) became too busy, 2) Hiro bought out their share, or 3) there were creative differences in vision for the project. 

Any role left vacant by these individuals is being engaged by existing staff or we have people lined up that we cannot announce yet. 

  • Vaughan Smith - Game Design 
  • Bill Benfield - Script Editor 
  • Donna Burke - Casting, VO, Singing 
  • Kiyoshi Arai - Art Director 
  • Larry Oji - Community Team 
  • Cronus - Community Team 

So what about the staff “security breach”? 

This was not a “security breach” in the sense that data was hacked or compromised. Rather it had to do with breach of protocol and locking down the KS account from the CIA team. We had to contact KS to reclaim our account. Everything with regard to this is resolved now. 

Moving Forward and Next Steps 

As stated before, we need to move forward from here, be more communicative, and stress getting actual content in your hands. Development is still underway, although slow, but the main contributors are still very much involved and interested in bringing this game to the light of day.

I hope I have helped clarify some major questions but I will be happy to help answer any others.

I would like to thank and appreciate all of the positive feedback we have received as well. We aim to complete this game with our vision intact and we hope you all enjoy it as well. It will take a bit of time but we will get there.

I will focus on getting more content in-hand but obviously I cannot get much until we resolve the programmer issue and get an executable and begin importing game assets and "physically" building the world.

I also have plans for some dev diaries which I need to line up. I really liked how Harebrained Schemes did some of theirs for Shadowrun: Hong Kong so I will see if I can get some people to talk about their work.

See you in the comments!

Ian Howell, Hayden Yi, and 105 more people like this update.

Comments

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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. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Thanks for the breakdown, Steffen!

    3. Steffen Unger on

      @Yosharian: not sure if you still read this, but here is a quick explanation about 2d graphics vs 3d graphics and why it makes sense to use 3d over 2d in a small production.
      having done art for a 2d only game like Ori and the blind forest, and many many 3d games (about 50 by now) i guess i can give you some insight.

      So even on Ori and the Blind Forest, a straight up 2d sidescroller, we opted for 3d characteres, rendered onto 2d sprites, for almost the same reason as with project phoenix, Animations.
      While one 2d character is in fact faster drawn than a 3d character is modelled, and textured. This time gets easily eaten by animation. A 3d model you can show from any angle once it was created, for Ori this meant we could rotate him fluidly without having to recreate him for each frame of animation. It gave us a lot more freedom in way less time.
      And thats a game you see from only one angle only, now in case of project phoenix you would need at least 8 angles. say you have a character animation of 12 frames this would be 12*8=96 unique images, in 3d you create a bunch of keyframes, not 12 unique poses, the rest can be interpolated. Now do the math for 30 fps or 60 fps this would be 360 or 720 unique images in 2d. For One character alone, for phoenix we created dozens of characters + variations. in 2d at 60 fps with say one dozen of characters you would have to create 8640 unique frames. while in 3d, once you have a unified rig, you can reuse any animation on almost any character.

      3d needs more time in the beginning but pays off very quickly

      sorry for typos, i didn't have a proper keyboard around.

    4. Michael Matzat on

      I am still looking forward to this, but i have to admit that the "State of the game" deal kinda looks like "the fun part is don" deal. Whenever i work kreative having ideas is the fun part, getting stuff don is the hard work... and the getting stuff don part seems very "dident even start yet" to say it harshly... so you came up with a world, a base story... but you dident write the game yet? build the world yet?

      Like i said, i am still looking forward to this, take as much time as you need to get it don. I was just surprised how "little" progress it seems to have made... i would be surprised if this dident take another 3-5 years.

    5. Liam Allen-Miller on

      Great update. I'm just glad to see you guys have tons of money left and development is continuing.

    6. Revilleza Lucky on

      At least we have your update unlike majority of the kickstarter games out there. Honestly though, I'd rather you take your time and make this game what it truly could be. A masterpiece is not going to be created in a day.

      Thank you.

    7. Missing avatar

      Jenny Vuong on

      Thank you for such a clear update. I'm a little surprised of how behind the game is, but how you portrayed the state of the game really reassured me. (Percentages and numbers make me happy.) It also helps knowing what the exact problem is. I hope the replacement programmer(s) work out well. Here's for seeing what October brings us.

    8. Missing avatar

      Rink on

      Thanks a lot for keeping us posted and keeping it so transparent and open.

      to follow up on the question about the musicians Kevin Penkin and Tomoki Miyoshi by Christopher Porter: they were never mentioned as permanent staff, but they are mentionned in the soundcloud and I would also like to know if Kevin Penkin (and his excellent work) is still a part of the game :)

    9. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Shawn Mongillo
      Not something I have insight into, I would have to research. Hiro may be better able to answer but it is not a high priority nor is it comparative to our development given the differences in resources and methodology.
      @Carthuun
      Thanks, and we are too. =)
      @parpaing, @Trong
      I agree this was not clear on the page which is why I hoped to explicate. 2 things however, 1) Hiro stated that "spare time" is not entirely fair since the devs are working on it as needed, not as they can, and 2) this has not been the source for any delays on the project thus far.
      @Sam, @Glen Proko, @Darmin Hadzic, @Otoshigami No. 40723
      Thank you!
      @Ben Snyder
      Indeed! I would say that the story elements are there. We know where things will go and how to get there. The script will flesh out the dialogue and such.
      @Kane
      Thank you! Transparency is the goal. I know I tend toward sharing more than is maybe deemed reasonable but I would rather throw it all out there an argue about it then leave things (and people) in the dark.
      @Vash
      Totally understood. I wanted to clear up the intention of the phrasing since it was a source of misguided expectations. Hiro based the "essence of JRPG" on a quotation from Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy creator) which stated (paraphrased, since I don't have the actual quotation) that the essence was the story and characters. I can maybe have him elaborate more at some point but that is the gist.

    10. Maxime on

      @vash
      Although I tend to agree it might not have been the ideal way to formulate it, it was mentioned time and again that "traditional RPG" had nothing to do with the combat system.

    11. Michele "Wise Monkey" on

      Story progression, exploration and character management, there are enough elements to call it an rpg, combat is a squad based RTS, and there is no mentions of FF XII and Total War so I don't think to understand your point of view.

    12. Vash on

      >It was stated on the KS page that this game would be “a SQUAD-BASED, REAL-TIME STRATEGY GAME combined with strong Japanese RPG design influences.

      Well, IDK since the tilte is "【Project Phoenix】 Japan's indie RPG feat. AAA talent! " also "Project Phoenix is a JRPG with a squad based RTS game design" and the start of the video says again and again "RPG" with things like "returning to the basics", "the way of the old school" or "the true essence of the JRPG". That's a JRPG with RTS and not a RTS with "strong Japanese RPG design influences".

      When I saw that I thought about something like Final Fantasy 12 gameplay . You know like Total War, FF12 is real time, let's you pause the game, give orders and move freely around enemies so, I thought it was that kind of gameplay but more strategic using the enviroment to ambush enemies and other kind of things.

    13. Otoshigami No. 40723
      Superbacker
      on

      after reading the latest comments. Hiro hasn't giving up the project so that's good. for those who hate delays, you all should know that not everyone is PERFECT in video game industry, hiro is no EXCEPTION or any famous game developer. people have their own HICCUPS that causes the delay along the way, happens ALL THE TIME. the point is you shouldn't judge them too quickly when their update is very honest in a HUGE DETAIL of whats going on. that said, I'm glad they told us about their BAD situation because that means they are human just like us, otherwise they fail with "everything is alright" mentality if they choose to go that route(which I doubt it).

    14. Darmin Hadzic on

      This is a very good update and clarifies a good amount of things. This was the second project I ever backed (the first being Shovel Knight) and I hope this project progresses well.
      Just don't rush the project when the ball gets rolling, I can wait.

    15. Trong on

      I have to agree with Kevin Lee and Parpaing. The development time section quotes gave no such inference at the time of the Kickstarter. I was under the impression that there was time between their games to work full time and money wasn't an issue because they have some saved up, and this was a passion project.

      With that said, I like seeing actual updates and hope they keep on going strong.

    16. Missing avatar

      Kane on

      @CIA
      I have always understood that backing a KS is a risk, that you may not get the final product as stated or even at all. With all the problems you have had I am just glad that the project is still going on, and I for one I'm happy to wait for however long you need to get the game to a completed state. Thank-you for being 100% transparent with your progress.

    17. Kuragari on

      I'm glad Nobuo Uematsu is still on the team. His music is what made FF games for me. And the fact that he's still on the project gives me hope. I think there was definitely some overly optimistic planning for this game. I can wait for the game, as long as I know the game will be released and it will actually be a good game. It bothers me that there's no script yet, because an RPG hinges on story.

    18. Glen Proko on

      Hiro and Stuart, thank you very much for the update and detailed information you have been able to provide. Having already been through a similar case once with Wasteland 2 and seen the occassional troubles that can cause a game project to stumble into delays, I have absolutely faith that this will be resolved with time and lead to a successful end with the final product we were all promised.

      I will be watching, but for now please continue with the plan and I hope for the best for the programming to be sorted out as soon as possible to allow for the rest of the project work to progress onwards.

    19. Sam on

      I think I really don't have anything much to say but I still trust you guys to deliver a great game, there have been delays and problems but that is part of the risk of backing a project. I still believe that the team you have can do something great and it will just take a bit longer than expected

    20. parpaing on

      as Kevin Lee pointed out (and it hasn't been adressed):
      “each of our members are professionals in their own field, they do not require a salary right now, and so, are donating their time and effort into developing Project Phoenix” which communicates that these developers are working “in their spare time” to produce this game."

      That was absolutely not clear on the page. To me, it meant that you could afford to work for free for a while because the team members were well off. Giving an estimated delivery date so short back then, while knowing that this wouldn't be a project that would be worked on on a full time basis was very misleading to say the least, since most KS games already suffer long delays, with a full team of people working on the game pretty much every single day...

    21. Carthuun on

      I'd like to say I appreciate getting all these recent updates has been very nice. I look forward to the day I get access to test out the alpha build.

    22. Missing avatar

      Shawn Mongillo on

      @CIA

      Out of curiosity (and I'm not trying to intimate anything, in any way with this question,) what is the typical development time for a game of this genre? I mean, we go years without seeing sequels in major titles, and I'm sure some of that is as much not wanting to over-saturate their niche, but at the same time... one wonders (or I do, at least) how long devs tend to work on a project like this.

      Because, honestly... it's been two years, and I'm thinking... it's a lot further along than I expected when I bought in.

    23. Maxime on

      @Shapard
      Do you just back projects in order to give them a bad time in their comments section?

    24. Missing avatar

      Alexander on

      Project Phoenix all the way!! Lets do this!*flips over table* YAAAAHHH!!
      Do the best you can do Hiro and Good luck to everyone in the team!

    25. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Shepard
      And that's ok! Hopefully you will feel differently once it ships.

    26. Shepard on

      I think this project will end up being a lemon... Good bye, money.

    27. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @sdfleischaker
      One of the many items on my list. Thanks for the comments.
      @Kevin Lee
      You are correct. It should have been more clearly stated and that is what I was trying to do by restating the comments that were meant to communicate that aspect and then elaborating on the intention of the statement. I think the very fact that there were so many people who did not realize that aspect is a testament that it was not clear.
      @Jim
      I have reviewed everything I could get my hands on so far and I have not seen anything that has led me to believe the team intentionally misled anyone in their pitch. There were things that could have been more clear/explicit but they were present in some form or another. As far as backing on KS goes, I personally have backed 3 projects, all have been completed to my satisfaction. KS emphasizes to do your research, support something you like, and all with the understanding things might not work out. KS absolves themselves from responsibility of the end result.
      @Hiro
      Get off my lawn! But seriously, thanks for the details of the programmer situation.
      @Ryan Bell
      Thanks for the comments. Let me know if I can address anything specifically or if you have any questions.
      @Michele "Wise Monkey"
      I think you are correct.
      @Rodrigo Varela
      While I admit communication has not been the best, it also has not been non-existent. He didn't say it but I believe Hiro can still be proud of this project. Failing in one area does not mean the whole thing is wasted. You can often see the true quality of a person by how they respond to failure and deal with it. To let it all go would be truly disappointing.
      @Maxime
      Truth.
      @Jesse S
      Awesome! Thank you!
      @Matthew Redding
      Haha, I traditionally avoid forums and comment sections but this job kind of requires it. XD

    28. Missing avatar

      Matthew Redding on

      Thanks for the update. Good luck and best wishes to all involved. Please take care of yourselves and maintain your health and don't get worn down. I actually don't care about the delays at all. I'm sure eventually a really great game will come together. But, I bet a lot of other people are very irate and may even be attacking you. In comparison myself I never bother reading forums and I hardly read updates, so I just wanted to chime in that everything's ok in my book!

    29. Jesse S on

      AAA*
      at work and tried to get this out quickly so you had some positive feedback haha.

    30. Jesse S on

      This is the update I have been waiting for in the last year. Thank you very much for it. This alone makes me feel better about the game and gives me more of an understanding of what happened in the "breach" and missing staff. I actually read the KS page so I knew exactly what this game would look like and that the AA talent was staff, not game aspects. Hence the reason I backed for this project.
      All the questions I had were answered thoroughly and I greatly appreciate it. That being said, I have more faith that this game will do fine, even though I am going to wait longer to get it. I have other games to play, I was just waiting on an update like this to bring my hope back.

      Thanks again!

    31. Maxime on

      @michele wise monkey
      Except the "teacher" said they don't know anything about the issue themselves.

      Seriously, though, I'm tired of reading posts from people who sound like they just recently decided to read about the project.
      It was so clear from the beginning that this was not a turn by turn game. They never mentioned it was going to be. Just get over it, guys.

      Games take a long time to craft, and most often than not, you don't hear about a game until it's well underway.
      Now, you get to see the very early stages when stuff fails, mistakes are made, and people learn.

    32. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Rodrigo >>

      You clearly haven't read or understood the updates, so I'm not going to argue with you there.

      That been said, I've failed in some aspects and succeeded in others. If I quit now, I'd have truly failed.

      Take a step back and look at the situation. Even if I really did quit now, the chances that you'd receive a refund is pretty slim now that much of it has been contracted out or paid outright already.

      I'm not going to ask for your faith when you have obviously lost it. You can be the judge to regain it when I deliver the game which would be valued way more than the 1m (or rather about 500k development money) we received.

      Till then, let's agree to disagree. If I can do anything else for you, please let me know.

      Director / Producer of Project Phoenix
      Hiroaki Yura

    33. Michele "Wise Monkey" on

      This is reaching a whole new level of idiocy, can you imaging a teacher saying a child who made a mistake he is not skilled enough and should stop trying? The only way PP can fail is by stop trying, I will not judge someone leadership by it's mistakes but by his skill to overcome them.

      "Errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum"

    34. Rodrigo Varela on

      Hiro, are you proud of the project as of now? In its current status? Is this how you envisioned Project Phoenix? If your answer is yes, then you are blind and lying to yourself. 100k USD was never enough to deliver the project that you were trying to sell, and even after you got nine times that number, your poor skills for management or to keep a solid interested team caused this game to be destined to failure. I don't want to sound mean, or disrespectful in any way, but let me take a fragment of the campaign text:

      "We chose Kickstarter because this is where we will be able to make all this happen. There are various exciting rewards ready for you depending on the amount of money pledged. What will the fate of Project Phoenix be? You, who invest in Project Phoenix, will be a true team member. So let's create an amazing game together!"

      I don't think anyone can feel like a team member after these silent two years. How dramatically bad can you be at team management that even when losing programmers and all those excuses you and your team were not able to find any suitable person to take this job. How in a project where Nobuo Uematsu was going to work, you couldn't find anyone working for royalties, on top of that something trustful that wouldn't leave saying "lol sorry i gotta study see ya losers!" like your previous guy did.

      I'm not a game designer, I'm not a team leader, I'm just a person, an outsider, seeing that you lack the skills to make a videogame in your current status, Hiro. You just failed. You tried to hold in your hand more than what you could. I know this, because, I personally lived something similar. You are not ready. You are not good. You can become good, though, but now it's not the time. If you still have any decency, please go back to the project videos and rethink the idea of refunds. Even if you don't refund, there's another way to get over it: cancel the game. It's not going to work. It's been a bomb since the day you decided to make it. Let it go, Hiro. Project Phoenix is dead. Don't try to prove us wrong, prove that you are a man and accept your failure.

    35. Michele "Wise Monkey" on

      @Jim
      The front page also states "The gameplay eschews micromanagement in favour of a focused Real Time Strategy system enhanced by JRPG elements." and RTS comes first.
      There are also these videos:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch…
      Last updates seems in line with what is stated in these, am I wrong?

    36. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Ryan >>

      The policy on Kickstarter doesn't state we are obligated to give refund in this situation. If you'd like to take it to the media, please, do so. We live in a country of free speech and democracy so no one is stopping you.

      I apologise if we were running on all fours looking for a solution and couldn't update backers in a timely manner. We just didn't want to tell you something bad happened without any means for a solution. Not to mention, whilst the programming had stopped, other teams were still hard at work in their field.

      I hope to prove you wrong when the game comes out, but I do understand the frustration you are feeling, for that I will apologise. I am sorry.

      Director / Producer of Project Phoenix
      Hiroaki Yura

    37. Ryan Bell on

      @CIA... I don't care about your policy for not refunding. You signed a policy with KS.... And have failed to deliver far beyond the EDD... So I want my money back. Rest assured I will never support another CIA project, glad I never backed Under the Dog or whatever it was called since you guys also mishandled that one. We should have seen that as a warning sign for this game. Bottom line you messed up big and although you may want to make this game, this transparency is long overdue (yes I read and watched all the videos) again this news is long overdue and you have no excuses, being told shit when it happens makes people understand better, but you kept quiet. The handling of this KS and your posts for clarity are no longer appreciated...hell they were a day late and a dollar short. I want my money, if not be prepared for the media blitz that will condemn this game to the hell it now resides in that forever tarnish it if it ever sees the light of day. Project Phoenix more like Project Ashes... except this is one even a Phoenix can't rise from. I understand the passion but can't forgive the delay in transparency and the posts that highlight risks in an effort to justify not delivering.

    38. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      The policy for not being able to refund on the grounds of delay, is the very fact that once we do dish out refunds, it will have to come out of my personal money.

      Contracts are drawn out, and some payments are already made via CIA.

      Therefore, I'll have to take personally responsibility. However, I personally do not have enough money myself to refund everyone if everyone asks for a refund.

      This is why we have to take the position of not giving out refunds at all, otherwise it will not be fair for everyone.

      Otherwise, from reading all the comments below, a lot of people still haven't read all the updates or reviewed all the videos. Many people are basing the status of the project from a single update, I implore you to backtrack to our previous dozen updates to get yourself acquainted so you get a full picture of where we're at, namely in regards to programming, what kind of measures we took and where in the development process we're at.

      To make matters simple, here's a somewhat simplified version:

      1) When we were developing in Unity, I had a feeling we may lose David, so we asked Pascal Krabbe to start working on our builds.
      2) Pascal, David and other section chiefs convened to come to a decision that UE4 would make development easier for us.
      3) Pascal moved onto UE4 and started working on several core gameplay aspects earlier this year. Things include pathfinding, mapping, environments, traps, stealth mechanics, mounts, itemization and character status, spell and skill mechanics. That's almost everything important... we're just missing threat system. Otherwise GUI just takes time but is straight forward, and the creation of a sandbox for level design.
      4) Pascal had to leave the project around April for his ongoing studies, we were notified from David that he will not be able to come back.
      5) In July, I sourced a company who will help us finish Phoenix. Pascal and David has thus far helped us with the transition and will continue to support us until the new programmers are happy.

      There are a lot of details missing, but that's about the gist of things in regards to programming.

      Sure, some people are worried about other aspects, but the best I can do now is to explain faithfully to everyone everytime people have a question.

      My appreciation goes out to all the backers and Stuart for helping us with this project, I understand there are a lot of frustration going about. Thank you to many of you who are sending us supportive messages and believing in our work. We'll continue to do our personal best for this project and not letting any more backers down.

      Last thing I'd like to mention is "spare time". It sounds discouraging... but some people aren't working on their "spare time". I myself isn't working full time on this project for two reasons
      1) I'm not required full time under the circumstances (like we had a missing programmer) and many of the pre-production that required my full attention (like the scenario) is finished.
      2) Working on different project allows me to feed myself without using Phoenix's funds, meet new people with great skills that wants to help and also give enough profit to the company (CIA) so that we can put in extra content that requires money (without adding to more delays... or even shorten the delay!)

      My apologies for my poorly constructed reply, but I hope this helps a little.

      Director / Producer of Project Phoenix
      Hiroaki Yura

    39. Missing avatar

      Jim on

      @Ben I have already requested a refund as well, but I think they don't want to give them for fear of getting hit with a massive amount of requests and lose even more money.

      "It was stated on the KS page that this game would be “a SQUAD-BASED, REAL-TIME STRATEGY GAME combined with strong Japanese RPG design influences”."

      The very TITLE of this KS calls the game an "indie RPG". "Project Phoenix is a JRPG, with a squad based RTS game design." By listing JRPG/RPG as your first selling point, with RTS design coming second, I think that this may have misled some people. I still think that given the circumstances, length of delay, confusion on the project status, etc. that asking for a refund would not be unreasonable.

      Seriously, this Kickstarter has made me NOT want to back future Kickstarters. The risk is far outweighing the reward for me...I guess when you think about it, you guys may have saved me some money in the long run from backing projects that turn out to be failures, or not what I thought they would be...

    40. Missing avatar

      Kevin Lee on

      Development Time

      It was stated on the KS page that the development team “have taken time out of their personal schedule to contribute their expertise towards Project Phoenix's success” along with a line from the FAQ stating, “each of our members are professionals in their own field, they do not require a salary right now, and so, are donating their time and effort into developing Project Phoenix” which communicates that these developers are working “in their spare time” to produce this game.

      Let's get something straight here. In no way, shape, or form should we have to "infer" something as important as the level of developer commitment. You have got to be kidding yourself if you think this project would have pulled in a million dollars if we were all explicitly told that development was going to occur on a "spare time" basis.

    41. sdfleischaker on

      Thanks for the time you spent putting this together.
      Please remember to update your site front page.
      It is safe to say that it is no longer true that "the game’s planned release date is set for June 2015," as it states on http://projectphoenix.info/.
      When I added hardwood floors to my house, the contractor -- who was highly recommended -- did the stairway twice, without my seeing it, without my asking him to do so, without his asking for additional payment, because he wasn't happy with how it came out the first time.
      Please work hard and take your time to deliver a quality product.
      Having an opportunity to work on this game was a dream of many of your developers. It sounds as though, bruising experience aside, that dream is still possible.
      The developer not being available is sad, and it set you back, but there is still an enormous opportunity here for your team to recover and deliver a product that was worth the wait.
      So please take the time not just to finish the game but to redo those things that don't work, to polish the rough edges and add those small touches that distinguish the great from the good.
      Thanks again.

    42. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Maxime
      Good clarification.
      @Ben
      I understand the skepticism and I will let you know if/when we consider refunds. For now, the team is plodding along the original vision for the game even with a delayed timeline.

    43. Missing avatar

      Jeff Dishman on

      @Maxime, thanks! I had apparently missed that. Much appreciated.

    44. Ben on

      I'd like to preface this by saying that I've been a software engineer in the game industry for over ten years. I've got shipped AAA titles on the both the current and last generation of console hardware as well as the PC. I've worked for indies and huge publishers.

      I would like to request a refund. It's been six months past the release date and I have been patient, but I don't believe you will be able to deliver the product within anything resembling a reasonable time frame. You don't have an engineer to create the environment to actually build assets or content, or who can even tell you how much more effort it will take to actually build the game.

      You claim that the game scenarios are 100% complete, but I can't see how you can legitimately claim this without any in-game assets or content. Do you think that the designs and documents will be perfectly translated from document to game without any trouble whatsoever?

      You claim the game design is 90% done and programmed already, but you have no programmer. Do you really think that old Unity code can simply be dropped into Unreal 4 and just work?

      You claim that the animations are 70% done, but you haven't actually put them into the game yet. Do you think you won't need any animation programming to be done, or do you simply expect that Unreal 4 will make everything work right out of the box? Do you honestly think that there won't be a lot of work required to make the assets work with the new engine?

      I've worked on projects that changed engines mid-cycle. It's never been clean or easy, and always taken months of work simply to get to where we were before the switch happened because there are always a ton of little issues that need fixing and handling.

      From what it sounds like, you've got a lot of assets that you don't know how to get running. You have an engine that is a black box - you don't know what you don't know. Even if you get an incredibly savvy and experienced Unreal technology expert to work on this, I think that your estimates are way too optimistic. I've worked on engine changes in the past, and they are rarely painless. I've given you the benefit of the doubt for two years, but I don't think I can do it any more. I think that you might be able to do something... sometime. Somehow. But not any time soon.

      Because of these factors, I would like a refund.

    45. Otoshigami No. 40723
      Superbacker
      on

      @CIA
      thanks for the reply. I hope you can Hire a New programmer who is dedicated himself to make this game complete and not wasting your time. guess it's time to start over and release at 2017 perhaps? :)

    46. Maxime on

      @jeff
      Unless they changed their vision on this, they said you didn't need to grind in all but the hardest difficulty levels.

    47. Missing avatar

      Jeff Dishman on

      Really bummed to hear mention of grinding for xp :( Is that something people really want in a game?

      Other than that I'm totally on board

    48. Andrew Elston on

      BRAVO! Consider this post nailed. I had worried you might have gotten tossed into a mess that would prove too much for anyone to handle, but you hit the ground running, came up swinging, and several other metaphors for doing a great job. Straight out of the gate with such an appropriate post title, I applaud your efforts. And it seems from everyone else's comments that you've put the backers' faith back into this project. I like the cut of your jib, Stuart. Excellent work.

    49. David Ryu on

      Can't wait to play the game, and by that I mean I will very patiently wait until I can play the game. The game is worth waiting for, and it is clear that the passion and dedication is still alive within the CIA team. They just faced some unfortunate circumstances, which were, at least in part, expected. Thank you guys for being transparent, and I hope everyone involved in this project the very best of luck.

    50. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Replying in order of appearance:
      @Michael Herring
      The decision was made to switch engines by consulting with David Clark, the originally slated programmer, and Pascal Krabbe, the temporary stand-in programmer. This was their advice and assessment.
      @Christopher Porter
      I did not realize they were mentioned somewhere. I will follow-up on their involvement.
      @edzieba
      Thank you! And I agree.
      @Gregor Lešnik, @P Korwin, @Łukasz Błaszkiewicz, @Samu Voutilainen, @Jay Arr, @Thijs Houtenbos, @Ben Hockley, @Zsolt Torok, @Jean-Eudes Dacre-Wright, @Ariel Vildósola, @parpaing, @Inquisitioner, @Zombra, @Robert West, @Mark Dorney, @Giana Tondolo Bonilla, @HaikenEdge, @Daniel Kuwahara, @xbluelinex, @Sleet, @Bradley Harris, @Nathan Sanchez, @Mika, @zkylon, @mrfatso ~ Defender of The Goat, @Zerotown, @Samidare Miyuki, @St. McDuck, @Andrew Hsieh
      Thank you! We are dedicated to fulfilling our vision in this game. It may take a while but we will get there!
      @Dunkare
      Quite possibly. I would like to think things will roll along once we resolve the main issue of having a build but I will wait to see how we do.
      @Otoshigami No. 40723
      Hey, a friend from UTD! I wouldn't blame him too harshly. We should have made the decision to move on, even if it would have been hard at the time.
      @Micky
      I will check and get back to you.
      @Yosharian
      This is a production and art direction decision. It was also stated that that's what the KS budget would be used for.
      @Neo
      As far as I know but I will follow-up.
      @Jeffrey Chun-Wai Li
      I am known for being quite candid, blunt, honest, to the point. Can't shake it. Darn American upbringing.
      @Lisa Goulet
      Casting in this manner would seem unlikely but feel free to send it along. You never know.
      @Balmung
      Haha, I am not sure what you mean exactly but I will take it.
      @Tiso Spencer
      I would agree to a certain extent. Spare time development is not exactly ideal but the team is dedicated. Obviously, I can't really tout the efficiency when results have yet to be seen. I am hoping once we get the build and sandbox underway then we can see some real progress. Stay tuned until then.
      @Olivier Lebeau-Paradis
      Yep. A lot of people seemed concerned about his continuing involvement so I made sure to address it.
      @Joshua Grand
      Haha, well, they have not approached me for help! But honestly, I am terribly busy. I do 50-60 hours a week for the day job right now and then I give what I can to help Hiro with a few projects. This has been more time intensive than I thought it might be but it just means Hiro's other projects are not getting my attention right now. Shhhh! Don't tell him.
      @Mikhail Aristov
      Something I am working on and, if Hiro will let me, I hope to post that too once it is done.
      @Keith McCoy
      I agree and am trying to get what I can. Once I get clearance, I will share them.
      @Timotheus
      With the exception of 3D modeling, the original devs agreed to work on the project on a royalty (profit %) basis. This would not take effect until the game is complete and sold outside of KS in avenues such as Steam, GoG, etc.
      @Lumiere
      Oh there are those still asking for refunds but I did already state we were not considering them so that squelches it a little bit.
      @Sterling Treadwell
      Right you are!
      @DUN
      I want to get to that point too but that will take quite a few more meetings and to resolve the programming issue.
      @kangarooguitaroo
      I understand your position but have to decline the request. If it ever comes to it, we will look at options for remediation.