RPG That Raised $1 Million On Kickstarter In 2013 Gets Delayed To 2018

RPG That Raised $1 Million On Kickstarter In 2013 Gets Delayed To 2018

On 11 September 2013, the Kickstarter project Project Phoenix successfully ended, raising just over $US1 million for a game they estimated would be out in March of 2015. Last night, the people behind the project announced a bit of a delay. They’re now aiming to ship the game in late 2018.

Project Phoenix, which promised to “set a new standard of excellence for the Japanese gaming industry”, raised a number of red flags when it first went live. In addition to targeting a very small amount of money for game development — their original goal was just $US100,000 — the campaign made many lofty promises that seemed tough if not impossible to deliver. As veteran RPG designer Robert Boyd pointed out rather presciently, the warning signs were all there.

“They’re trying to tease famous staff members but not actually tell us who they are. This makes them look really suspicious,” Boyd wrote on the forum NeoGAF back in August of 2013. “They have basically said that most of their staff is going to work for free. With such a large (for an indie) team, so many big names, and about 2 years left to go, I’d be worried that some members would bail or need money before development is over.”

As it turned out, one of those teased staff members never joined the project at all. In the original pitch, Project Phoenix said the following about their programmer:

This was supposed to be David Clark, a programmer for Moon Studios. At the time he was working on Ori and the Blind Forest, an Xbox One indie that came out in March of 2015. Project Phoenix director Hiroaki Yura says he and his team had been waiting for Clark to come aboard, but it wasn’t to be.

“We were waiting for the programmer from Ori and the Blind Forest to finish his work on that project,” Yura told me in an email today. “However, that got delayed by 14 months. All that time, we were being told that he’d hop over to the project, but ended up not being able to when we reached April, 2015. His name is David Clark, a good friend of mine and a godly programmer, and by the time it was April, he was required to stay on as there were continuing commitments with Moon Studio that he cannot talk to us about.”

Now, they have got a new programmer, Yura says, and they’re looking for more. Hence the new release schedule. “Unfortunately, as we are making this game part time, and the scope of the game has been increased a lot, and since this is the first game I’m directing, I’d really like to take time and make sure I’m delivering especially when I’m already so late.”

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!

For quite some time now, Kotaku has been shining a light at Kickstarter projects that raise money and then don’t deliver, sometimes failing to update backers and occasionally dropping off the planet entirely. In the case of Project Phoenix, we have a game that’s offering regular updates but appears to have issues of its own. If backers do get a completed video game out of this, it won’t be for a very long time.

Project Phoenix is not currently offering refunds to Kickstarter backers.


  • This is one that I backed. Sad that it turned out this way but at least they are continuing to update quite regularly unlike a lot of others which gives some hope at least.

  • I remember it looking initially promising but by the time I finished reading the campaign pitch, I had decided not to support it. It was waaaay too vague. They basically had a few sketches, an idea, and a vague promise of big names participating.

  • saw some bits and pieces when Yura came to SMASH.
    very little has been put together into a functional game that can be showcased, but from the looks of it, they still got plenty of cash. (they’re not drawing a salary from kickstarter funds is the impression i got – also the reason why the requested amount was so low). The issue is, this is their weekend job, meaning this takes 2nd place to real jobs (that puts food on the table)

    I am still confident they’ll put together ‘a game’, but my gut feeling says, by the time it comes together it’ll be outdated, with the only redeeming feature being the soundtrack.
    The game play already reminds me of an rpg i played from the 90s

  • I saw the headline and thought this was about Star Citizen, but then I remembered… CIG doesn’t give release dates anymore.

  • Hahahaha, kickstarter…

    People who backed this will be doing way better things in 2018 than playing an average game such as what this ‘game’ appears to be… hopefully, for them anyway.

    Save your pennies peons.

  • Lol, I remember this. I didn’t back it, why? Because the Kickstarter was started by Hiroaki Yura.

    This guy is a world class violinist based in Sydney who started an orchestra called Eminence Online probably ten years or so ago. He had contacts with a lot of the big Japanese video game and Anime composers who would appear as guests at their concerts. I’m talking about people like Nobuo Uematsu, composer of Final Fantasy; Yasunori Mitsuda, composer of Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears; Kou Outani, composer of Shadow of the Colossus; Yuki Kajiura, composer of Noir, .hack//Sign, Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online; Joe Hisaishi, composer of most of the Studio Ghibli films; among others.

    Went to a few of their concerts when I first found out about them, flying to Sydney and Melbourne just for them, ’cause something like that in Australia is huge, especially with guests of that calibre!
    Very soon though, we found out that the guy is actually a huge jerk with a major ego. We had a friend who did volunteer work for some of the concerts and she told us that they weren’t treated very well, even though they were working for free. Hiroaki didn’t respect them and took them for granted, and would rage and abuse them on their internal forums.

    The concerts also never took off and never sold as many tickets as they were hoping. They were obviously losing money on them, and there were multiple cases where he didn’t pay some musicians.

    Not long after, they stopped doing concerts as often and started taking on other ventures like record music for the Romeo x Juliet Anime and Diablo III announcement and trailers.

    So when I saw the Kickstarter, I just laughed. =P

    • Sounds terrible if those things were true.

      Still, I really miss the Eminence concerts. Got a photo with Yasunori Mitsuda & Hitoshi Sakimoto at the Passion performance, and then there was the beautiful violinist Ayako Ishikawa….good times.

      • I was at the Passion concert too!

        I believe Ayako left because Hiroaki reportedly also had issues paying her…

      • All of this is confirmed true, i know all of it. As much as he is a greatly talented musician, he is wasting his talent by chasing MONEY.

        The eminence drama, phoenix drama, drama with other musicians & devs. Frankly it makes me sick that he keeps pulling covers over several people in the games development and anime community. He is abusing open minded, good beings who are continually dissapointed with his expenditure, style of lifestyle, ‘work’ and lying to get out of sticky situation. Anyone who was associated with him with eminence have cut ties off due to Hiro’s lies and irresponsibility. He used the same footage from Nobuo Uematsu that he used in his eminence promo videos. Bad mouthing other developers and using them as excuses. Not paying artists a fair amount, then lying there isn’t enough to go around when they have barely even made a working vertical slice late. Baiting Australian musicians to move over to japan to help him ‘work’ then not compensating properly or creditting. deliberately lying to other people to get more ‘contacts’.

        he is an insincere, selfish asshole who is just doing this to get money and nothing else.

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