Gamers who backed the Kickstarter for Project Phoenix by Japan-based developer CIA, Inc. are outraged at a new update that informed them that the game which achieved its crowdfunding goal back in 2013 will not be seeing the light of day until 2018.
The development has been fraught with disasters, not the least of which were members of the dev team leaving for other pastures due to the long development cycles. In September, the studio revealed that composer Kevin Penkin had left the project, and that since the beginning of the project, for the past two and a half years, the game didn't even have a programmer.
In the latest, newly hired producer Stuart Massie, formerly of Blizzard Entertainment, told backers, "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." He also noted they were looking to hire additional programmers to help him out.
He then laid the kicker, announcing, "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."
Backers were understandably less than pleased with the current developments. The comments basically boiled down to one question: how could the game have been planned and produced without having a programmer for the past two and a half years?
Some stated the situation was "suspicious", though few if any are calling the project a hoax, since CIA Inc. has had regular updates with new assets being shown off every few weeks, and many of the production team are industry veterans. All are saying that the project was poorly planned, at the very least.
Naturally, a good number of backers have demanded refunds. According to Massie, "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."