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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.


Posted by CIA, Inc. (Creator)

Hi Folks,

Apologies for the downtime. Between deployments and holidays I have been swamped.

Here are things where they stand now on our programmer front:

  • I have been asked to clarify that we CURRENTLY have a programmer. He has done some work and much consulting for Project Phoenix already. The problem is that his current work is delaying his full commitment here by about 2 months.
  • Current estimates place dev at about 2.5 years out from completion. This is 2.5 years from the time we get our full-time programmer on board. That means we are expecting early 2018 for a finalized build and 6 months for testing after that.
  • We put out the notice that we are looking for programmers to supplement the work our main programmer will be doing, as well as simply getting things started as soon as possible.
  • On this note, we are reviewing the people who identified themselves to us and we will move forward to interview relevant applicants soon.
In other news:


One Uematsu theme from the game has been arranged and is pending approval. We hope to include a short video with Nobuo Uematsu in a future update and, in preparation for this, we would like to ask you for any music related questions you would like to ask. We will compile this list, possibly modify the wording, and translate a limited number of questions. Please either sound off in the comments here or message us on KS.


We know a lot of people are disappointed with the delays and organization of Project Phoenix. We are not considering refunds at this time. To initiate refunds is to give up on the project since there would be no money left to complete it. If we make the decision to call it quits then we will work out some kind of remediation with backers at that time. Until then we are pressing on.

Rory Starks, Ian Howell, and 49 more people like this update.


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    1. Kuragari on

      I love Nobuo Uematsu's composition and I'm looking forward to hearing the main theme of the game. I hope that this project can get off the ground and flying like a phoenix toward its release. This is the largest level I've ever backed on a KS, because this is the kind of game I want to play on PS4, a legit JRPG with current gen quality. So I'm hoping all goes well and eventually I'll see a game I can enjoy with the storylines that evoked the feelings of the SNES and PS1 days of RPGs.

    2. Noppadol Mututanon on

      Hi there

      I understand that what happen from past update and you have my sympathy. I'm Programmer too (but work in website industry) I'm well aware when delay or some shit happen it' ALWAYS look very ugly to us , the dev team. it's doesn't matter is technical problem or human error , more delay we cause more credit we lose.

      as backer I 'm disappoint in this project since 2 year has pass and just have little bit progress.
      But again I still have faith and trust that Project phoenix still alive (as it's name) I wait for almost 3 years now and I also can wait for another 2 years.

      'waiting' is also our duty as backer.

      BUT please keep in mind that if (yes , if...) 2018 is coming and it's still have only little progress and full game not coming out yet , you should considered refund to us.

      promise is a promise.


    3. Missing avatar

      kickstartsomestuff1 on


      I am writing to you to request a full refund on my pledge. While I understand Kickstarter is more investment than pre-order, I do not want to be an investor for "Project Phoenix" any longer.

      This project has shown time and time again to be a failure to me. The game play looks like a crummy ios free-to-play-game, the idea is uninspired, and then there's the obvious release delays.

      As a content creator you should want 100% support from your backers. Well you have zero from me. I do not believe in this project, I do not believe in the creators, and I do not believe there will ever be a product worth paying attention to.

      I pledged $120 for a top quality JRPG. There is also the expectation of my reward tier: DVD physical copy, game guide, cloth map, soundtrack, and back exclusive digital content.

      A two and a half year delay after many other delays does not instill confidence. As far as I'm concerned this campaign is fraudulent.

      To ask one more time: please provide me a refund of $120 as I do not want to be associated with "Project Phoenix."

      Thank you

    4. RachelEvans on

      Hit "Post comment" a little too early...

      I strongly suggest you start offering refunds, before you are forced to do so. I am generally content to wait, but the fact is you do not have a developer. I'm staring in openmouthed shock at this update: you have been on this for over two years, and you don't have a developer.

      Backers have options - we can issue chargebacks, we can report this to Kickstarter, and we can bring lawsuits to bear. One way or another, you will be issuing refunds at some point soon. Doing it on your own terms would go a long way towards restoring some of that "faith" and "trust" you claim to value so highly.

    5. RachelEvans on

      I strongly suggest you start offering refunds.

    6. Fish on

      Sean Hull seems to think we have a case. I would rather not do that because I don't want them to be completely broke. I would like to see this project complete but in their own time.
      Considering they haven't used a lot of the money (or so they say) they should have easily made enough on interest over the few years to keep going- and not everyone is wanting a refund. Besides, originally this was a weekend project they did on the side. Even without money it will get done if they really want it to.
      I just don't want to wait around another decade for them to finish. I don't want to take legal action because I know if everyone did that it would ruin them, but if they don't offer refunds within a reasonable period of time, or show me something to change my mind, I will see what I can do about it myself.

    7. Leo on

      @Fish , how can we get CIA to issue us refunds though? i mean , sure majority backers can demand it, but in the end "issuing refunds means we give up" and CIA are still convinced they are going to see this through?
      I know it's written in kickstarter rules that creators must find a way to remedy / reimburse backers if they are unable to deliver...but with the CIA logic they can then announce another 5 year delay and still claim "refunds aren't being considered because we haven't given up yet".

      What can we really do? I'm curious

    8. Fish on

      Yes- but if they all stop making noise then CIA will just sweep it under the rug and ignore our requests.

    9. Mark Dorney on

      It's fair to say people have been perfectly vocal there.

    10. Fish on

      Maybe not- but it will make the devs realise how pissed off a lot of their backers are. If nobody says anything they will never know.

    11. Mark Dorney on

      I think other Mark in the comments section has made a pretty fair case on why screaming for refunds is currently premature. We're all frustrated I am sure, but making things harder for the dev isn't going to make it come any faster.

    12. Fish on

      Don't stop asking for refunds if you want them guys. Its not acceptable and just being silent is what's letting them get away with it. Demand more.

    13. Ludovico on

      It's a shame!
      Also no refund, really?
      I wasted my money.

    14. Josh on

      @CIA, Inc
      My apologies, I must have missed or forgotten that update.

    15. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Nothing shared in that article was new. It is the same update we had given in a previously:

      @ People thinking we will run out of funds
      Hiring 1-3 programmers will not "bleed" our funds. Even at 2.5 years dev time. The rest of the staff are on royalty basis and do not require payments from our KS funds. We have also previously clarified where money has been spent, where it is budgeted for future, and how much remains:

    16. Spielosoph on

      "2.5 more years! What a debacle."
      IF all works out according to the plan, and not much in this project went according to plan.
      For starters the ONE (sorry cannot get over it, it is just so ridiculous) possible developer has to be on time. Which he won't. Who will bet against me?

    17. Missing avatar

      Michael on

      2.5 more years! What a debacle.

      And another Kickstarter project where other sites give out more information than the updates here. Where is the communication, exactly?

      Lesson for the future, never back anything when they won't even reveal who's working on it.

    18. Missing avatar

      Hunter Bateman on

      All this time & we're still pending approval for ANY new content? Wow..... this' feeling rude, so insulting, especially given that this' accompanied by such a ludicrous delay.

    19. Leo on

      @ Erik
      Continue being a sheep throughout 2016

    20. parpaing on

      @ Erik
      Except that Kickstarter is not an "investment", you don't get money out of it by backing a project, you just give them money for a service, and so far, no service has been provided. Some of the physical rewards for example could have been shipped ages ago since they were just slacking without a developper. I don't get why all the music isn't done as well for instance. I guess some of the team members themselves don't believe in the project...

    21. Mark Dorney on

      Apologists like Erik are beginning to get on my nerves.
      Please see this quote from the Accountability section of Kickstarter's FAQ.

      "If the problems are severe enough that the creator can't fulfill their project, creators need to find a resolution. Steps should include offering refunds, detailing exactly how funds were used, and other actions to satisfy backers."

    22. Missing avatar

      Erik Haydel on

      I am so happy they are not doing refunds. So many people treat kickstarter like a preorder site for video games when it is not that. It is an investment, you are investing in a project but you have freely decided to invest in a company to make a project. How that materializes is ultimately a risk but this is how investments in businesses work with every market venture.

      They have that investment money now which was freely given to them so they are going to decide if they should give on their project or not. if people don't want to take risks with their money they shouldn't be investing in businesses they do not know enough to trust. They have to keep doing what they are doing and can't be expected to give up on their business venture when they have already gained the investors. I am not happy with the way things were turning out but I knew the risk when I decided to invest my money.

    23. Missing avatar

      floorislava on

      What a shitshow this has been. :(

    24. Missing avatar

      Dean McCraw on

      I do find it funny he's talking about keeping trust. There's no left except from those who are delusional.

      If this ever gets released, great. But the most rational thing to do right now is to count your pledge as you would gambling - you lost, move on and find something to enjoy.

      Hiroaki - vague promises and words doesn't mean a thing. You should have released some of that content immediately, and studied a bit more about what people expect in terms of communications.

    25. Josh on

      Seriously, if you have this information why not share it with your backers in any form?

      "When I asked Yura what he and his team had been doing over the past two years, he sent over the following:

      Finished most character designs
      Created base models for all creatures
      Created all asset models (char and env) required for Act 1), 2 part of 4 and 5.
      Finished most of the required animation of the game. Outstanding animations are non-essential ones like emotes at this stage.
      Finished the scenario
      Finished the game design doc
      Finished core combat mechanics except the Threat System
      Finished itemizations and tools required to create any action and play w/ stats
      Finished around 5 minutes of cinematics, created by… a super veteran animator (we’re not ready to announce this till early next year)
      Wrote over 120 minutes of music - there will be more
      Basic SFX and VFX for now. The SFX is created by the dude who did the SFX to the original Street Fighter series! The man who said “Hadouken” himself! Amazing
      Not too bad for a weekend job over 2 years with less than 500k in dev cost eh? That’s because I’ve put my own money into this so we can get it out there!"

      This would have gone a long, long way towards helping people feel like this wasn't a total waste of our money. Why can't you people communicate anything like this to us?

    26. Inquisitioner on

      Delays are understandable considering everything, just keep up the communication.

    27. Glen Proko on

      Thank you for the update. I saw Hiroaki Yura's response to the comments before mine (RE: Sean Hull primarily) and given I'm in at Treasure Hunter level, two and a half years wait from this point is something I can live with.

      This isn't the first game I've backed. And unlike that hellish train wreck Japan Needs Heroes/Japan Needs Heroes 2, this project has a chance of success.

      If communication stays as frequent has it has been so far, that at least is still moving in the right direction. But I'll be watching closely.

      And hold off on the legal action backers; I don't think this project is at that point yet.

    28. Missing avatar

      Vitonofrio del Rosso

      this is a joke :)
      I'm not in the game development side, but in the sw development side (of.. let's say really large systems...) ..
      If I heard anyone with your level of budget, aiming to produce a DIGITAL content, committing that PITTANCE (compared to the whole pie) to the programming, I would laugh..
      But then on top of that you're committing ONE resource to programming?
      Considering that, given your comment, you're pretty much sitting on a pile of nothing (or close to nothing) you *should* be involving FULL TIME someone higly skilled for 4-5 months to lay down the law (aka all the core infrastructure of your project) and then compliment him with 3-4 other guys for an additional 6 months in order to delive a timely release by mid 2016 for testing, then keep just 1-2 developers and subsequently fix whatever has emerged and aim for EARLY 2017 production release...
      Instead no..
      your management is so poor that you WASTED an inhuman part of the budget on all other stuff (not the game) and now you want to pay a "fantastic programmer" for more than one year an embarassing sum (heck you want "yoda" and you want to pay him 100000 dollar OR EVEN LESS for one year? a good sw engineer can get that much money in a cali sw company without an hitch...)...
      Get a grip, you clearly may have valid people in their relevant fields, but your management of the funds and your project management in general is beyond embarassing :)

    29. Daniel Lucchesi on

      Another empty update, apologizing and promising future surprises. I'm out.

    30. KevinP on

      Happy to wait..not great news but hopefully the end product will be worth it. Either that or your reputations will be trashed at the end :p

    31. Tiso Spencer

      Is this update why Kotaku had that article recently about this game? I must've not read it because each update has been fluff promises at best. 2018 us just too long away and that isn't even the actual game being done, just something up and running from how I understand and another 6 months of testing.

      That is absurd. This could very well miss the current game system generation we are in right now.

    32. Sergio Gomes on

      I'm a huge fan of Kickstarter and I'm more than happy to contribute to an indie developer just getting started, but this strikes me as some fundamentally poor project planning.

      How is is possible that a project can wait this long for a programmer, resting solely on promises and good will? Were there no binding contracts or strict deadlines? No fall-back options or contingency plans? Is there even a work schedule that lists the various dependencies and estimated times for every task?

      So now there is a programmer, but he's not working full-time on the project for another two months. Fair enough, people have commitments, I can accept that. But what happens if his current commitments get extended, or he decides he no longer wants to / can contribute?

      All in all, it seems that the plan we're getting is resting on very shaky ground, where any missing piece or an unexpected event can lead to another multi-year delay. You've shared the "best scenario going forward" with us, but what I'd really like to see is a proper development plan that takes risk into account, and tries to find ways of mitigating it. Given the level of funding and number of contributors involved, this really should be treated as more than a side project to be done when there's time.

      My advice would be to look for a proven, dependable project manager from the industry that can help with formulating a robust development plan, which is even more important than the missing development work.

      Good luck, and I do hope things go a bit more smoothly from now on!

    33. Michael Abi Daoud on

      I don't believe this to be a scam at all - but it now being pushed back by 2.5 years? I can understand projects can get pushed back, and I didn't drop any small amount of coin on the project as well. I was hoping maybe a year but given that like myself, many others have put in a little over $100.00+ only to see it come down to this.

      I'll wait - not like I have any kind of choice. But from here on out, with the exception of Koji Igarashi's Bloodstained, I am officially done with Kickstarters. I've already been burned on two of them already.

    34. Missing avatar

      Greg Reader on

      As many noted, this project is a complete train wreck, though we all should have seen it coming from the original campaign. A refund would be the best case scenario for this project right now but my guess is that the funds are being spent on 'consulting'. Too bad you didn't spend the money to send a few people to programming school - then you could actually have a game by 2019.
      I have no expectation of getting a game out of this project - the only reason I come back is for the comments. So thank you, commenters, for providing the only enjoyment I'll get out Project Phoenix.

    35. Spielosoph on

      Sorry.... got agitated because some people still think that this will work out fine.

    36. Spielosoph on

      Do not get me wrong...
      i can wait too...
      But of all the KS games i backed this one is the most suspicious.
      Come on you "KS games are bound to be late" guys....
      We know that.... But seriously?
      Nothing has changed (We are looking for ONE (LOL!!!!) programmer) in one year...
      I am a programmer (C#, ASP.Net, WPF) myself and i somehow know how software developement works.
      It is NOT this way....
      This is just plain ridiculous...
      --> See last commenmts from me...
      Shame for you for scam.

    37. Missing avatar

      Neo on

      I can wait. I have too much games. :)

    38. Missing avatar

      Azure on

      Show me a build playable from start to finish, and maybe then I'll regain some faith. You really dropped the ball. Stop squandering my money.

    39. Missing avatar

      Jeremy Steimel on

      Apologies for adding on to the negative feedback, but please do not say you have a developer -- the project has essentially been spinning its wheels in the same place for the past two years. We've been through the phases of "We have a developer, but s/he cannot start for a few months..." and that hasn't worked out so far.

      In the end, it's still the poor communication that has me feeling incredibly frustrated. After years of stalled progress due to the developer cluster, I find it pretty asinine that the last two months of updates have been "We're working to get approval to show you the progress made in art and music." Pardon my language, but seriously what the hell?

      I understand that game projects are prone to delay, and while the lack of a developer makes me worry about the project management, this ongoing reluctance to show the progress that HAS been made is far more frustrating. You have fans that you collectively got $1mil+ in funding from, directly from the fans to the studio. What exactly is this pipeline / approval system that is continuing to prevent you from releasing art, music, etc to show some progress and reinvigorate backer confidence?

      I would honestly ask that you do not post any more ridiculous promises of "Maybe we'll show you new art in the next month"; either show some art of music, or just stop with the unfulfilled promises.

      I backed at the Treasure Hunter level because of a lifelong appreciation for some of the artists and musicians on this project. The reality is, I can accept the delay until 2018. But this notion that 2 years later there is still no approval to show us some of the art and music that has progressed just feels like a kick in the shins.

    40. Missing avatar

      Shawn Mongillo on

      Refunds not being given? Excellent! Project isn't dead.

      Keep my money... keep working... make the game I know you can make. Some of us are still happy to wait.

    41. Christian Gay on

      Do you know in this last 2 years i've found a job, started to live with my girlfriend and in the next weeks i'm having a baby? What i mean is... What have you done except for models and gameplay prototypes in the last two years?

    42. Missing avatar

      Matt on

      Kickstarters not hitting their stated release date doesn't surprise me. It's something I was expecting from the start, and most of the projects I've backed have overshot their original goal, usually quite significantly. I'm fine with waiting, better to get a quality product than a rushed one after all, but...

      Well, even I find it a little incredulous. Over two and a half years since the Kickstarter before a full time programmer will actually be attached to the project? Assuming that one doesn't get delayed further still or otherwise unavailable as well. It's just not very reassuring, particularly given the current track record.

      I want the project to be as good as it can possibly be, so the time it needs should be dedicated to it. But at the same time, I'm really starting to feel like the project has been given too much leeway already, and we're at the stage of 'Just get it done.' Let's face it, how many publishers would be happy with a studio's progress that looked remotely like this?

      September next year. I want to see something to restore my faith in the project by then. Not simply character models, music or sounds, something to show that the game itself is progressing beyond the clips we've been shown in the past. For a project just starting I'd say that might be overly ambitious, but this one will have reached its third anniversary of being funded. Evidence of good progress will be the least CIA can do.

    43. Missing avatar

      Hyowon on

      That is a bit ridiculous.... 2018 and that's the estimate. There's a very good chance this time frame will get pushed back even more years.

      It was already a personal downer on so many levels that need not be mentioned, but now you're saying that you will not consider refunds? All those delays and setbacks and excuses with very little to show for it...

      For a project that was going to be developped on the side as a 'hobby' or on 'free time', this project literally shouldn't cost you anything technically (I believe this was the initial belief from the project's debut many years ago). However now all that hobby/free time costs money?

      By the time you make your decision to call it quits there will be no money to offer any kind of remediation to your backers.

      If you must bleed and use money, you might as well grab a lot of youthful gamer programmers who just entered the industry with the burning desire to create something great and get cracking on this until your main programmer shows up. You claim hopefully 2 months. We do not know if this one will bounce too or have even more delays. You are relying too much on one main programmer. What happens if he gets into an accident or has a burn out or simply just can't complete it on his own?

      Some words from the actual creator would be the nice, not his confidante.

    44. e314

      I can't believe how angry people are when they see delays... If you don't want delays, wait for preorders. Backing a project comes with a risk. Some projects just fail and you don't get any refund. That's life.
      Personally, I'm glad this one is still running, although I'd like to see more updates, even extremely small ones, on any kind of progress, even if it's seems technical. The "finding a programmer" issue is important, but it shouldn't be the only subject of half the updates.

      (And don't give us an half-finished game when it launches, it's Ubisofts way of destroying trust, and they might have trademarked it)

      Anyway, keep up the good work!

    45. Trong on

      @Cia - I would love to see any form of real game development update. May it be art, dialogue, music, or anything. If you want, feel free to use the word "SPOILERS", so people can decide if they want to look at it or not..

    46. Glenn H. on

      I wish I had known before I backed this that is was going to be a hobby for the developers, rather than their focus. I am glad I only backed this for $20.

    47. Eol Void on

      It's been too long already. How can anyone expect a quality product from a group of people who with 10 times the budget for something have wasted 24 months and are asking for another 24? Waiting 5 years for a game is insane. Just do the refunds, give us a steam key to some other jrpg or something and be done with this.

    48. Olivier Lebeau-Paradis on

      I'm not sure what's worse, the new estimate or reading the comments here.

      It's not really an acceptable situation but at least they are trying to give us a game someday. People expect to back a project and get the product always on time and exactly how they want. It's an estimated delivery, most project end up at least a few months later, with the scope of talent suposed to work on this one it could be expected to take a bit longer. It's not the same thing working in a big game company and working on a Kickstarter, having experience in one does not mean they know how to work the other.

      They messed up and I think they know at this point, adding more negativity won't help them.

    49. Pavior on

      Highly unprofessional management. I expected better from industry veterans. I'll never put a cent into a Kickstarter that shows nothing from the start.