Sham Kickstarter Project Found Out, Closes Down

When the whole Kickstarter thing blew up earlier this year, there was always a very quiet suspicion. That amidst all the nostalgia and indie enthusiasm, someone would use the service to try and rip people off. Well, looks like we've got our first scammers.

A Kickstarter fund for a game called Mythic: The Story of Gods and Men has been found to be a complete fabrication, to the point where even the photos of the developer's "office" had been stolen from somewhere else.

The project managed to "raise" $US5000 before it was found out, and has since tried to scrub all associated sites and Facebook pages in an effort to cover their tracks. Weirdly, the only page it hasn't been able to get rid of is the actual Kickstarter link itself.

Or course, it never raised a cent: Kickstarter funds have to reach their goal then "cash in" the donations to see any money. But still. The fact these bums raised anything shows not only how poor the quality control standards are on the site, but how willing some people are to give money to something that didn't even exist.

MYTHIC: The Story Of Gods And Men (Canceled) [Kickstarter]

Fake Kickstarter project 'Mythic' uncovered by internet users, forced to shut down [The Verge]


    'The fact these bums raised anything shows not only how poor the quality control standards are on the site, but how willing some people are to give money to something that didn’t even exist.'

    Exactly how do you use quality control on an idea?
    and isn't the entire point of the site to give money so that things that don't exist can exist?

    I didn't put a cent to this, but god damn kotaku.

      Don't blame Kotaku, blame Luke.

        Published on Kotaku, I blame Kotaku. Speaking of quality control... haha, the irony!

      The issue here isn't they were trying to fund an idea, that wouldn't have been an issue. If somebody says I have a great idea for a game, this is it, and I need $50,000 to turn this from an idea to reality then good luck to them.

      What these guys did is tried to claim they had offices with staff, a working prototype and they needed funding to finish and polish. They made the claim that their idea was already a reality and just needed a little help.

        I think the point liam was getting at is its impractical for Kickstarter to guarantee some sort of quality control:

        Would they have to vet all projects before they go up?
        Would Kickstarter be responsible if they greenlit a project that received funding and it turned out to be a scam?
        How would Kickstarter know the difference between a scam project and a project that gets legitimately delayed?

        This project was misrepresented and the onus is on backers to determine the quality of a project before backing it.

          There's a difference when the art used on the project is stolen from the other locations, and everything said in the video is a lie.

            Yes.... its up to the backers to determine that. See the questions I raised, Kickstarter just can't guarantee projects are safe.

            Yeah and how long do you spend vetting every possible image from the internet. Hell I could take my own picture's of the offices at work and with a little effort could mock it up so that it looked like a real game studio.

            Fact is there is no way to tell out right if it's a scam, Which is why currently a big name lead developer or the like is preferable since your going to know who to blame if all the money goes running away.

            I mean EBay has scam's aplenty, it's the user's who identify them based on the ad or content not ebay itself

              I think a project is easy to tell if it's legitimate based on the video. If they claim to be almost done but have no footage of a running-game then it's likely a lie.

    Does Kickstarter even have quality control? I though it was something akin to ebay with buyer beware etc.

    Also funded legit Kickstarter projects can still fail and deliver nothing.

      I'm pretty sure that's why Kickstarter uses very particular terminology. They're not 'purchasers', they're 'backers' and our money is considered a donation. There really isn't any quality assurance for their projects, they're basically advertisers who take a 3-5% cut. Theoretically, these scammers could have been a bit cleverer by covering their tracks and not steal screenshots and gotten away with it.

    Isn't it the whole idea of a "scam" to get people to give money to something that doesn't exist? Way to go.

    You're basically investing (or backing), you're not purchasing something, even though people (and myself) effectively treat it that way. There will always be the risk of the project not delivering. How can you possibly expect Kickstarter to determine/guarantee what projects deliver? Its up to the backers to investigate and evaluate the facts at hand to determine if its a project that is worth backing such that they'll get a return (which is what they did, and the guy got caught out). That's the whole point, working as intended.

      It's different when the project is a fabrication with stolen art and made up facts about the developers.

      It's not a project that will fail, it's a project designed to steal your money and never develop anything.

        That was my point - as a backer its your responsibility to determine something is a scam before you back it.

    Kickstarter is not just video games.

    Also, note that Luke is fine to write a decent thing when he can bash it a bit.

      This article was fine, I just don't think Luke knows what an investment/back is :P

    Guys, this wasn't an investment. They claimed to have 12 industry vets from Activision Blizzard and all the art was from other projects. You were investing in a scam.

    HUGELY different than a product failing to deliver. This was someone trying to cash in on that rule.

      Thats fine, but Luke called for quality control - how can you quantitatively tell the difference between a delayed project and a scam project ahead of time? It came down to the facts and the guy got busted. The onus is on the backers to make this determination (and they did).

        Kickstarter has to approve every single project on their website. Someone saw this, and said ok to it.

        That person needs to do more research.

          "It is the responsibility of the project creator to fulfill the promises of their project. Kickstarter reviews projects to ensure they do not violate the Project Guidelines, however Kickstarter does not investigate a creator's ability to complete their project."

          Here's the problem with that. These guys were idiots. Complete morons. They went out and made an obvious scam. Someone at Kickstarter could have seen this but it's pointless monitoring the pitches like that because A) the people being pitched to will catch it and B) normally a Kickstarter scam is going to have a legitimate pitch. A Kickstarter scam simply can't be this transparent.

          Ask yourself, would you and I run a Kickstarter scam like that? No. As reasonably intelligent people we'd just spend two months creating a real, 100% legit pitch. Then, once the funding money hits our hands we'd walk away. With everything above board up until we get the cash Kickstarter won't be able to see the difference between us and two guys working in a garage because we'll actually be two guys working in a garage.
          We could get greedy and say that Joss Whedon is on board in hopes of cracking the million dollar mark, but we both know that's just going to get our scam so much attention that by the 30 day mark Joss Whedon will have contacted Kickstarter and shut us down.

            How do you expect Kickstarter to realistically veto these scams? They're not a games publisher. They cannot seriously be expected to know if photos from a developer's HQ or game assets were stolen. Nor can they cross-reference all the supposed ex-Blizzard etc staff behind this scam. This is the sort of thing that only comes out when you have a large internet-based community prepared to sort through the facts with a fine tooth comb.

    Never underestimate the lengths people will go to, to rip someone off.

    "The fact these bums raised anything shows not only how poor the quality control standards are on the site..."

    None of the backers got charged and the project got closed. Not sure how much more you could ask for.

      Exactly my thoughts. No money was taken and the scam was frozen in its tracks. Sounds like the system is working fine to me.

    And so the realisation of what kickstarter actually is has started to be understood by people. Taking the financial risk away from publishers and putting it on the consumer. Not that it's a bad thing, it gets games made that would otherwise be impossible to find funding for from a conventionally publishing source but I'm really interested to see what'll happen when a game comes out that's half-arsed, terrible or just plain broken and people have already given the developers their money. Proceed with caution.

      Tim Schafer himself said that the initial $300,000 would have got a passable adventure game, not a great one. I find that very interesting because it wasn't done with any sort of evil in mind, they just choose $400,000 because they didn't feel more than that was incredibly realistic. There's probably a lot of Kickstarter funds out there in the same position, only they didn't get millions more than they asked for.
      So we're bound to start seeing projects run out of money and/or deliver less than ideal products.

      What makes games particularly interesting is that features normally get cut or reduced before they've been announced. With Kickstarter there's a certain pressure to stick with the original idea no matter what. Imagine what will happen when we get a Peter Molyneux type pitching the original concept of Fable then deliverying the retail release of Fable. People will be outraged because the specific features they paid for weren't delivered.

    It's a bit contradictory to start an article off with poorly written sentences then finish the article with a lecture on quality control.

    I have lost no respect at all for kickstarter. Luke, you probably shouldn't start trying to blame kickstarter for this either. Everyone else has summarised fairly well above: consumers responsibility to decide if the project is viable to invest in. Emphasis on invest. If you buy shares for a company, and then that company goes down the gurgler, you don't turn around and say it was a scam. And even if it was a scam (like this), they usually exist in a grey legal area where it's more or less "yes it was a scam, but it doesn't change the fact that you invested in it, which was your gamble". See "Banks" for a similar real world working example.

    Kickstarter should really put up a special statement on it's main page to address what has happened and to help people understand how the site works/it's purpose and risks.

    quite funny to watch the kickstarter video with foreknowledge of the scam.

    At this point, there's surely a number of "journalists" sitting on a fence, like vultures watching a dying man, waiting for that tasty moment when something goes amiss with KS to descend in flock and make a huge mess out of it, while congratulating themselves for having foreseen it and providing lengthily, self-serving and unnecessary analysis and further forecast. Luke seems to be at the front row.

    "shows not only how poor the quality control standards are on the site"

    I guess kind of like Kotaku US's hiring policy, hey Luke?

    A workmate showed me this today, the "in game" screenshots and videos of terrain environments are all stolen from my portfolio and showreel specifically

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