Areal Devs Announce STALKER Apocalypse After Being Suspended on Kickstarter

The strange case of Areal gets even stranger as West Games tries to raise $600,000 for STALKER Apocalypse.

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Earlier this year, GameSpot recounted the strange case of Areal, a project that claimed to be S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s definitive spiritual successor, but that was suspended by Kickstarter following accusations that included everything from missing assets, false claims to the series' lineage, and, amazingly, a forged letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last week, that story got even stranger as the developers behind Areal, West Games, launched another crowdfunding campaign for a new project called STALKER Apocalypse. As you can tell by the project's crowdfunding page, it's pretty much the same pitch as Areal, only with a few new assets.

"We were formerly developing a game called Areal, but after raising funds on our website and listening to our fans, we decided to re-focus our vision, and develop what is now STALKER Apocalypse (trademarked)," West Games said.

The developer is hoping to raise $600,000 through World Wide Funder, a little-known crowdfunding site that, unlike Kickstarter, allows projects to keep whatever amount of money they raise, even if they don't reach their goal. Areal, by comparison, was only looking to raise $50,000.

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Note that it's STALKER and not S.T.A.L.K.E.R. like the original (though one could be easily confused by the placement of the screws in the project's logo), which West Games believes clears it of any legal trouble.

"We have registered a trademark for Stalker Apocalypse, and have every right to use it as our title," it said. "Stalker by itself is a common word, and anyone can use it."

As the legally-minded blog GamerLaw points out, that doesn't mean West Games is in the clear. The developer might have registered a trademark for Stalker Apocalypse, but if the name and products are similar enough to potentially confuse consumers into buying Stalker Apocalypse when they intended to buy S.T.A.L.K.E.R., it could very easily mean legal trouble for West Games.

So far, the project has raised $7,006 from 166 backers. West Games said that is being made with Unreal Engine 4 for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

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