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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.

Out of the frying pan...

Posted by CIA, Inc. (Creator)
90 likes

Sorry for the lack of updates. All updates had to be put on hold pending a legal dispute with a disgruntled former employee of my other company AREA 35, Inc., Tariq Lacy.

The dispute is now resolved and Mr Lacy has publicly admitted the following: He had unauthorized third-party access to this project's Facebook page He used said access to falsely accuse and lie about the funding for this Kickstarter being embezzled to fund the development of AREA 35's game, TINY METAL.

Being clear once again, that's not something I would do, or have done, and no Kickstarter funding was ever used for anything other than work on Project Phoenix.

After pursuing litigation to defend myself from these lies, Tariq admitted that his claims were completely untrue and had agreed to publicly denounce his claims. However, he chose to not fully disclose and publicise his admission on his Facebook account as he had agreed which forced further legal action so that he would be held to his false words and be forced to disclose his dishonesty.

It's not surprising that it's difficult to get publicity to correct the record on a false accusation when it was so shocking to begin with, but I will continue to move forward.

Tariq's public apology on Facebook

Because of the lies that were spread to damage AREA 35's reputation and hurt TINY METAL's release, many of those interested in TINY METAL and those introduced to it in the context of the fake funding claims chose not to support the game. Despite the negative coverage based on that lie, the sales of TINY METAL have been OK. While not a smash hit, it also hasn't been a bust, and we've got some good reviews and great experience & feedback that we can apply to our next game.

Because Sony Music Entertainment/Unties was the publisher for TINY METAL, we unfortunately couldn't get permission to give it to Project Phoenix backers. In the future, however, I hope to be able to provide future games to you as my thanks while still pursuing the ultimate goal of Project Phoenix and the originally offered rewards.

As I've stated in the past, my aspiration for Project Phoenix itself is to secure outside funding to move it forward and present something at the scope that I've intended. Right now, that has meant pursuing an indirect path through other separate game projects like TINY METAL both as a proving ground for outside funding of Project Phoenix and a means to provide for my staff and children. Through developing and shipping other completed projects like TINY METAL, I aim to create the stepping stones needed to resume Project Phoenix and begin to provide all of you something tangible for your support. Project Phoenix will always be a marathon rather than a sprint, but I do plan to get there one step at a time.

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Byron Williams, Reynis, and 88 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Khrys Johnson about 3 hours ago

      You have basically walked away with a lot of peoples money and you cannot do the simple act of giving anyone who supported you an explanation. I hate being negative towards anyone but if this is the way you develop games you need to find a different profession.

    2. Spielosoph on

      It's been 5 months.
      We ungenerous people who believed in you and gave you our hard earned money need another Mimimi update.
      So at least we get some comedy .

    3. Glen Proko on

      USD$120 I should have just taken to the casino.

    4. E. A. Bartholomew on

      On top of that, the money I gave isn't even going to be the primary source of the game's budget. So what is my money being used for? The supposed plan seems to be:

      1. Take people's money on Kickstarter.
      2. Put that money in a bank and accrue interest.
      3. Make other games nobody asked for.
      4. ???
      5. ???
      6. Get a major publisher to actually fund the game.
      7. Make the game.

      Can anyone fill in the blanks?

    5. E. A. Bartholomew on

      I gave this project money under the reasonable assumption that it would be worked on consistently from the time of funding through completion. Instead, it turns out I simply donated to some guy's bank account that he says will be used in several years to begin working on the game. That is fraud.

    6. Rodrigo Varela on

      ティニーメタルの創業者であり、「エリア35」会社のオーナーである由良弘明を信頼しないでください。彼は、CIA(CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE ARTS)と呼ばれる会社を使用してPROJECT PHOENIXというプロジェクトのために不正なKickstart.comキャンペーンを行っている多くの人を欺いた。

      彼は後援者に彼らのお金を返すことを拒否する。彼は泥棒だ

    7. Revilleza Lucky on

      And so much bullshit as usual. As per your Tiny Metal Steam update, the case was resolved in in July and yet we still hear nothing in November.

      Thief.

    8. Revilleza Lucky on

      I honestly couldn't give a shit about this game anymore. The damage is done and all I want is a closure. 2018 is almost over and you still couldn't provide anything.

      Next time an indie developer asked why he or she couldn't get a proper funding, I will show them you and your dishonorable thieving company!

    9. Panou on

      How can I get a full refund please? I don't want anything from you anymore, just give me my money back, kthxbye.

    10. Scott Paisley on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use:

      https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012

      "Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."

      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    11. Azreal on

      @Rui
      "Yes and after 5 years and never providing somthing consistant, working on others projects...
      Yes, IF they're is no game so it's a scam."
      - That doesn't prove they are a scam. What are you going on about? You claim you know the meaning of the word, but damn if everything you state proves otherwise. They won the freaking court case proving in a court of law that they did not use funds from Project Phoenix on the other project. They actually received outside funds specifically to work on the other project. I'm not going to reiterate them, go read the updates again.

      "A liar? We have many proofs of that."
      - What proof do you have they they are liars? And don't give me the "We don't have a game" thing. They have stated multiple times in their updates why we don't have a game, which is not showing any proof that they are lying.

      "Yea and It's why I say that IF they don't provide a game it's a scam. If they provide a shitty game they're not professionnal but not scammers."
      - So what you're saying is that if a business person starts up a business and it fails because of mismanagement and/or external factors, that makes the business a scam, and not a failed business venture?

      "Yeah and it's the problem... If they don't declare it dead Kickstarter would never do something. But if someone have the time, money to put it to court, I'm not sure that will fail."
      - I do agree with you that is a problem, but I'm not sure a court case would win.

      I do admit I got a bit carried away with word choice here or there, so my apologies. Everything we have seen does show the possibility of it being a scam. At the same time, through other things, and updates, it could very well not be a scam as well. We clearly disagree so we can leave it here if you want, but stop bringing the damn fallacies to me, I don't have the energy to deal with that.

      Also, if you do want to keep debating, for the love of god, please run your statements through a spell and grammar check. I'd take your rebuttals much more seriously if I didn't have to re-read them 5 times to make sure I understand what you're attempting to say. If English is not your first language, then I apologize slightly for the statement, but there are a lot of spelling and grammar check programs for a reason. Chrome inherently has a pretty great one that checks on most everything you type in the browser.

    12. Rui on

      @Azreal
      "but what I'm saying is that us getting no game does not "make" it a scam."
      Yes it make it a scam

      "Do you not know the meaning of the word?"
      Yes I do

      "It has the connotation that the person was being dishonest and tried to swindle us."
      Yes and after 5 years and never providing somthing consistant, working on others projects...
      Yes, IF they're is no game so it's a scam.

      "Everything we know and have seen shows the opposite."
      Heu no, everything we know seems like a scam

      "We have zero proof of the creators being liars."
      A liar? We have many proofs of that. That no game exist it's the only thing that we have no proof.

      "I'm not saying they aren't scamming us, but it doesn't automatically make them scammers that they haven't delivered."
      Yea and It's why I say that IF they don't provide a game it's a scam. If they provide a shitty game they're not professionnal but not scammers.

      "It just makes them bad businessmen. This is a failed business venture. The only thing we know from a Kickstarter standpoint is that it's not their problem. We would need to take this to court to prove it a scam, but we probably wouldn't be able to get traction legally unless they declare the project dead 100%."
      Yeah and it's the problem... If they don't declare it dead Kickstarter would never do something. But if someone have the time, money to put it to court, I'm not sure that will fail.

    13. Azreal on

      @Pratchet
      Why does everyone assume that Uematsu-san's contributions haven't already been contributed? As far as I remember based on past communications, a number of assets, art-wise and music-wise, were completed. As far as we know, and we honestly don't know that much, the contribution from Uematsu-san could already be in with them, and your complaints could be moot. The main problem here is we don't know 100% about what has gone down or where everything was at when they stopped fully. I mean I even have tried to entreat CIA and Hiroaki Yura to give us an update with 100% transparency as to what happened and where things are at.
      @ Rui
      I get what you're saying, but what I'm saying is that us getting no game does not "make" it a scam. Do you not know the meaning of the word? It has the connotation that the person was being dishonest and tried to swindle us. That isn't necessarily the case here. Everything we know and have seen shows the opposite. We have zero proof of the creators being liars. I'm not saying they aren't scamming us, but it doesn't automatically make them scammers that they haven't delivered. It just makes them bad businessmen. This is a failed business venture. The only thing we know from a Kickstarter standpoint is that it's not their problem. We would need to take this to court to prove it a scam, but we probably wouldn't be able to get traction legally unless they declare the project dead 100%.
      @parpaing
      They could very well be doing that, I don't know, but neither do you. Unless you've somehow gotten some CIA, Inc. insider info?
      @David Green
      Maybe it will rise from the ashes to be greater than we could imagine. Shut up, I can dream dammit.

      To reiterate myself again, it would be awesome to get a refund. I would like one very much just to get away from this disaster, but we don't have grounds at this time. It has been so long honestly that I backed this in a time when I used to like JRPGs. I kind of hate them in general now, with a few exceptions, so I probably won't enjoy this even if it does release. Maybe we could open dialogue with Kickstarter directly to talk about "reasonable" delivery? This has to be one of the biggest, "hold on guys, we're totally working towards it" type of things on the site.

    14. David Green on

      I should have known better than to back a project named after a mythical bird that kills itself...

    15. parpaing on

      @Azreal
      And that's why they don't cancel the game: cancelling it would mean they should offer refunds. Putting it on the backburner is a safe way to get away with it, at not cost on their side.

    16. Rui on

      @Azreal don't see how you answer can apply to my response. I didn't say we gonna see the money back, it was not what I'm saying. I was just pointing out that legaly the gamble is not that the money is gone but on the quality of the delivery.

      "normaly" we should have a game. Bad or good it's not the point, if we get it the kickstart is meet. If we have no game it's a scam.

    17. Missing avatar

      Pratchet on

      @Azreal

      I think the term quoted only works for those who have backer rewards that aren't/can/t be met, If you only backed at the lower levels to get the game then the quote does nothing to cover you. The health of Uematsu san and the lack of any physical rewards or higher backer rewards like NPCs and personal music are the only things going for those requesting a refund on the grounds of the old KS terms.

    18. Azreal on

      I looked at the wrong terms of service for this project and see why people are quoting it, but they are still not fully quoting it. It's definitely murkier in terms of backer right, I'm guessing that's why there is a new one, but we still technically can't invoke it right now since he is still working towards completing it.
      Like I said, really murky in the older terms, but this part applies, and is conveniently omitted by commenters:
      "Kickstarter does not offer refunds. A Project Creator is not required to grant a Backer’s request for a refund unless the Project Creator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the reward."
      That part about being "unable" is not clearly defined and would probably take a court case, one I sure as hell don't have the money for, to prove and get refunds.

    19. Azreal on

      @Rui
      If the developers do not have the money anymore, i.e. spent it developing, but then something unexpected happens, then they're not going to pay you back. It doesn't even matter if you have the grounds for a legal fight if they don't have the capital to pay everyone back. A lot of people in the main comments are invoking backer right for a refund, but they're only quoting part of the terms of service. Since he has said he is still trying everything he can to deliver the project, he is not bound yet to refund people asking. Their might be a certain time period by which this becomes unreasonable, and he needs to return whatever he can to us, but that is not clearly defined. Anyone confused, please read section 4 of the Terms of Use - In Its Entirety. He is still good by those terms since he is trying with the remaining funds to continue the project in alternate ways, via outside backers that he is schmoozing.
      As an aside, I'm really tired of people skimming comments I post, not just here, and picking one sentence in my entire four paragraph comment to get irked about. There was a hell of a lot of nuance I put around that sentence, but go ahead and put me out of context. I know I shouldn't expect better on the internet, but ehh. Figured I would at least drop some context into the discussion around the terms of service.
      See my second to last sentence please:
      "You can either listen to me, or not, I don't really care either way."

    20. Darth Chocobo on

      I'm not even gonna bother supporting this game if it does ever come out! If you'd like, I can show you where to shove that tiny metal! sincerely, a no longer loyal backer!

    21. Missing avatar

      Shangz on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use:

      https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012

      "Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."

      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    22. Greg Adkins
      Superbacker
      on

      Vaporware

    23. Chris Harvey on

      "Ah, now eventually you do plan to have actual development updates on your, on your update page, right? Hello?"

    24. Eric Poole on

      Seven mentions of TINY METAL and seven mentions of Project Phoenix in this update... Please, do not mention this other game again in future updates (should they ever be forthcoming). All future content should be devoted to the project development, not the past. It would be nice to see what type of projected timeline and goals you need in order to finally resurrect this Phoenix from the ashes, i.e. secure funding (amount needed), hiring of staff, beta releases, etc. If this is ever going to go anywhere, after this debacle, I think we, the backers, deserve more than just the public forced apology by Tariq.

    25. Missing avatar

      Shangz on

      LOL everyone who thinks that there is progress being made on the project. Sorry the whole point of this post was just to clear Hiroaki Yura's name so that he can continue doing whatever the hell he wants in his own personal life.

      If you seriously think any progress is being made on this game think again. He can't even create a multiplayer component for his crap Tiny Metal game after announcing it would be out in May. It's already September and still no news. I follow Tiny Metal's discord channel and its hilarious to see the comments made by his programmer.

    26. Missing avatar

      Pratchet on

      It's been said by @Keith McCoy and @Sterling Treadwell, just make the original $100 000 vision. Just make the originally planed, smaller version of the game, the squad based real time fantasy rpg. Hell if you're having trouble like you were with the vertical slice I'm fine with dropping the "real time" or the "squad based" or both! If you're having even more trouble why not build it off of what you've already done with Tiny Metal, make the combat be turn based combat on a grid with environmental hazards and fog of war. Just make the game that you can competently with what you have now. Don't be ashamed to make a paired down version as long as it's well put together.

    27. Missing avatar

      Ray Naula on

      Wow, didn't even notice this update. Well keep on keeping on! Get it out when you can and all that!

    28. Rui on

      @Azreal

      "A reminder as well, kickstarter is a gamble with any project you back"
      It's a gamble on the quality of the project you get not a gamble to lose totaly the money you put.

      If we get nothing it's a scam and It's not normal. After 5 years with not even an Alpha provided and 10x the initial goal what do you call it?

      If the project was chaotic and we have many version that radicaly change each time for the purpose of developpement change (new dev, change in design, team chang etc...) Okay. But we never had a physical evolution since the first video showing a lazy gameplay 3 years ago.

      It's sad that kickstarter do nothing about this :(

    29. Missing avatar

      Mark LeMire on

      I would still like it if we could see or help out more. I recall lots of people signed up for alpha/beta access but we only got the vertical slice

    30. Azreal on

      Hello @CIA, Inc. and @Hiroaki Yura,

      Would you be willing to give a detailed history/timeline on Project Phoenix? For legal reasons, you obviously can't disclose everything, but I think a good rundown of everything: from the start, to where troubles started to creep in, to the loss of your first programmer, to where things went ultimately went into suspended animation, to the unfortunate incident with Tariq Lacy (I would use suffixes with his name but everything I have read on the man shows he deserves no such formality or respect), and to where we sit now.

      I know personally, I would like to see this, but I really think this could go a long way to cooling some of the tension down a little bit. There will of course be a lot of people that will leave their rage blinders on and constantly berate you, but I have seen enough comments here that I think it may serve to better inform those in the middle on their opinions of the project.

      A lot of the knowledge I know of things that have happened come from other sources scoured from the internet. An update like what I suggested would go a long way as to updating the kickstarter contributors as to what happened overall, and where things are at now. It would especially be good since it looks like it might be awhile before you can post an update again?

      And FYI, I used to be angry at this project and even requested a refund at one point, but for me at least, I decided to calm myself and just let the anger go. It has helped me overall as to looking at this from a cooler head and rationally analyzing the situation here. It's also never healthy to seethe in anger and just fester over things. A reminder as well, kickstarter is a gamble with any project you back. You could have the most amazing team in the world, and things could still go south. It happens all the time, even at AAA game dev studios. Not saying you should feel one way or another, but just some things to think about. You can either listen to me, or not, I don't really care either way.

      Have a good one!

    31. Missing avatar

      Sean Engel on

      I've always looked at kickstarter as supporting an idea, not purchasing a product... so while I am upset with the status of the project, I don't have any hard feelings.

      Hopefully someday it'll come out.

    32. Ahmed on

      I hope you are sincere. And if you are sincere, I hope this project sees the light of day.

    33. Missing avatar

      Jenny Vuong on

      Sounds rough. Glad it's over. Here's hoping you can now focus on PP's game development. Godspeed, truly.

    34. Missing avatar

      crow00 on

      あなたがたの信頼は地に落ちてるし、今更こんなもの出されてもどうでもいいので早くProject Phoenixを完成させてくれ。
      TINY METALも実装予定のマルチプレイ放り出してるし、あなたがたがまともに完遂できたものは何一つ無い。

    35. Ehren on

      Keep chugging along Hiro.
      Something about the tortoise and the hare.

    36. Bobby D on

      Great talk Hiro! Wow so much info about PP! Thanks for responding to the 106 comments 7 days after you posted this update! ...Useless

    37. Daniel Henry on

      Yeah i agree with the majority of the backers. you can get a public apology from your ex-employee all you like, your past behaviour speaks for itself.
      Taking our money to fund a kickstarter you had no intention of completing at the time was disingenuous to say at the least.
      I have no faith you will complete the game we funded and even if it does miraculously release one day it will be a far cry short of what you promised.
      You speak of Mister Lacy's actions hurting the gaming industry, when its actually actions like yours that does the most lasting damage as it affects Kickstarter aswell as the gaming community negatively.

    38. Ferry Mulia on

      Marc Tautschnig worded it so well. please provide more real update, 2018 is going to be over soon, and this game is not even close be decent/done.

    39. Missing avatar

      Marc Tautschnig on

      It's such a hardship, that I even misspelled the project name. I meant "Project Phoenix" of course.

    40. Missing avatar

      Marc Tautschnig on

      Hello Hiroyaki,

      I'm sorry, but I have to admit, that I've lost faith in this project. So it's really hard to trust in anything you say. I'm certain, that many backers feel the same way.

      You might change my mind (and maybe also theirs) if you could provide something indicating any progress towards a finished game.

      As from my point of view, this update solely consists of empty promises and we'll hear next to nothing in terms of progress for another very lengthy period of time. Maybe you will state some excuses here and there, but for me it would be a miracle if ProjectPhonix would ever be finished and become a decent game.

      Thank you for reading,
      a very disappointed backer

      ---

      こんにちは、

      申し訳ありませんが、私はこのプロジェクトの信念を失ったことを認めなければなりません。 あなたが言うことを信じるのは本当に難しいです。 私は確信している、多くの後援者が同じように感じる。

      完成したゲームへの進歩を示す何かを提供できるなら、あなたは私の心を変えるかもしれません。

      私の見解では、このアップデートは空の約束だけで構成されており、非常に長い時間が経過しても進歩については何も聞かないでしょう。 ProjectPhonixがこれまでに完成し、まともなゲームになれば、私にとっては奇跡になるかもしれません。

      読んでくれてありがとう、
      非常に失望した支持者

    41. Missing avatar

      Daniel Poland on

      Keith McCoy makes a good point, I’d like to see these assets in an update also.

    42. Sterling Treadwell
      Superbacker
      on

      and by "you" I meant CIA, not Keith.. lol.

    43. Sterling Treadwell
      Superbacker
      on

      Keith McCoy "What did the $100k vision of this game look like? How about you just release THAT, rather than continuing to aim for a grand project that has been proven to be beyond your scope and capabilities?"
      .
      You know.. at this point, really, I would prefer to see him get investors or revenue to make a $100k game and have it encompass all of the worlds and story and mechanics he originally envisioned. Because if it truly is all that he claimed it would be, and he truly is still 100% dedicated to making the game.. Doing the $100k version and then re-releasing it later with a new coat of paint is not unusual, and allows for revenue to allow for the "grand vision" you originally dreamed up. You know absurd 'shoot for the moon' planning doesn't work. to date you oversaw PP flunder and fail because of that, and you have a "ok" TM under your belt. So being conservative with scope and team shows it CAN deliver a product.
      .
      It is possible to make a beautiful fun engaging world and game with classic 2d sprites and backgrounds. Companies have been doing it for decades now.

    44. Nils Lanthemann on

      We don't care about your shitty Tiny Metal. Give us the game we paid you for before Tiny Metal was even a thing. You scamer

    45. Elizabeth Deahl on

      I have bought two copies so me and my boyfriend can play together. This is highly disappointing on how long it has been for development. I was super excited about this before. I look forward to the release still. Glad I didn't tell him so it's still a surprise. I'm glad all the legal stuff with that is over hopefully. Any update on progress for the game???

    46. Morkislair on

      Well... Tiny Metal scores just above average reviews on Switch, and an under average user score on PC on agregators like Metacritic. That's "some good reviews"?

      But more importantly:
      WE.
      DON'T.
      GIVE.
      A.
      SHIT.
      ABOUT.
      TINY.
      METAL.

      Do you have ANY progress on Project Phoenix after TWO YEARS?

    47. Alexandre Berube on

      I still believe and hope we will get to play this game

    48. Missing avatar

      Duncan Jones on

      I came, I saw, I laughed. Laughing is the only way to accept my wast of money.

    49. Missing avatar

      Keith McCoy on

      What did the $100k vision of this game look like? How about you just release THAT, rather than continuing to aim for a grand project that has been proven to be beyond your scope and capabilities?

    50. Missing avatar

      Keith McCoy on

      @CIA - you've said several times that there are no refunds, because all the money has been spent on assets. Ok - start previewing all these assets in frequent updates.

      What have you ACTUALLY done with our money? It's beyond time to PROVE you haven't been lying to us for years. Start showing us assets so that your words can be taken seriously. Your reputation has been damaged so monumentally by this project that you should feel like you owe us some good will, and quickly.

      And no.....no BS response like "the only way we can truly make it up to you is by working hard to release the game". We've been receiving those meaningless replies for the past couple years every time you'd dig yourself in a hole, and have yet to get any genuine indication you weren't just blowing smoke every time you'd say something like that.... We need to see proof that you guys have actually done work on this project, by seeing new assets that have never been shown before.