Project Phoenix scammed us? Creative Intelegent Art Fraud?

Shin

Banned
Member
Oct 25, 2017
505
Kindly post the screencaps in quotes Aurizen
Also I read about that on GAF and I believe those FB posts were removed.
Strangely enough when I finished reading that thing I had the impression that this guy was fired and is now being salty.
Of course the whole thing can turn out to be true, Phoenix or the idea was rather promising to be honest.
EDIT: looks like I was right...
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,900
Kindly post the screencaps in quotes Aurizen
I hope you're teasing, but if you're not: please don't. The forum uses tiny thumbnails. Quoted images of text are too small to read and clicking expands them to full resolution, with no in-between. For very large images like in the OP that means you can end up needing to scroll sideways to read the damn thing. It's awful. The forum automatically shrinks big images to fit the forum width.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,006
Wow, what a mess all around. Hopefully the FB user is a disgruntled ex-employee like they said and we can get some more concrete information, but who knows.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,414
Yeah. It's really uncomfortable because Tiny Metal looks pretty fantastic, but I've known for a while that this guy is behind it.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,875
Tariq Lacy is former Nintendo. Tbh, that can make you pretty qualified in the field of games.
Looking around, as far as I can tell, after university he was for a couple of years or less at Nintendo Treehouse and that's that, That does not make someone "qualified".
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,104
Hard to know if this is true or false. The Phoenix kickstarter is a shit show that I (unfortunately) backed, and that makes it easy to want to believe this... but that doesn't mean it's true.

The story that this guy is a disgruntled employee is a real possibility, but equally it could be something to try to discredit him. Hard to know without corroborating sources.

I will say that Tiny Metal -looks- really good and like a real attempt to do a modern Advance Wars. I also think that even if this was made with money stolen from another project, it isn't like the people hired to develop this game necesarilly knew that. Hiroaki Yura has proven he's a dishonest and fraudulent man, but I don't think a boycott of this title will solve anything or is even deserving given how many non-frauds clearly worked hard to bring this game to life.

For the record, here is the latest Project Phoenix kickstarter update regarding Tiny Metal. Got it via e-mail on the 15th:

Dear backers,

First of all we like to thank everyone for their patience in this project. We have been met with many obstacles that have severely delayed this project's completion, but please be assured that we fully intend to complete Project Phoenix and give everyone a game that they can truly enjoy.

TINY METAL

As some of you may know, we have been engaged in a seperate project - the development of the game TINY METAL. This is a completely seperately financed project, backed by private investors, and rest assured that no money from Project Phoenix was used for the development of TINY METAL.

So it is with great regret that we can not give out full copies of TINY METAL to Project Phoenix backers as this would be in breach of our terms of agreement with both of the major stakeholder groups of the project; our investors and our publisher.

That being said, after much wrangling we were able to negotiate with our publisher to release a preview build of the game just for Project Phoenix backers as a form of courtesy for your support and patience.

All that we ask is that kindly not leak it to any non-backers of the project. We hope that you enjoy this build.

Download the TINY METAL Demo build here

As a reminder, the same group of investors is keenly looking for the result of TINY METAL. Given enough sales, they have expressed interest in fully funding Project Phoenix from the beginning of the TINY METAL project.

Unties, the publisher of TINY METAL and a division of Sony Music Entertainment has already expressed interest in publishing Project Phoenix. We are so close.

This is the first time to tell anyone outside my friends, but I am going through a lot with my personal life and I have been separated from loved ones at the moment, and it is honestly one of the worst experiences in my life... and going through an extremely hard ordeal.

Been beaten by backers about Project Phoenix that I lied and cheated is one thing, as I understand how some people feel about me and honestly, I feel responsible and deserve the beating. However, been beaten when you try to reach for something to keep a promise, and sacrificing so much... losing my family and at the same time protecting the families of my staff, is the biggest challenge I've faced yet in my life.

So just this once, please look carefully at the work we've put in. TINY METAL is our only salvation. With so little resources, many staff from Project Phoenix has toiled to make a simple yet fun little game and this is our result.

If you truly like what we've made, please help us, we need all the help we can get. We don't want your money, we just need you to tell your friends and family.

We just want to continue on to Project Phoenix.

I'm sorry this update is a little rough, I've been working around the clock but I really had to get this update out. Feel free to comment about the game, leave feedback and I'll try and get back to everyone as much as I can. And I'll just ask one more time, please, don't beat me up this update. I'm almost at my breaking point.

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,543
Looking around, as far as I can tell, after university he was for a couple of years or less at Nintendo Treehouse and that's that, That does not make someone "qualified".
Well 2 years. Then moved to Gumi Inc. Next place was at a Tokyo studio, likely the one named in his Facebook post in the OP.
 
Oct 31, 2017
568
Montreal
Isn't one of the games being published by Sony Music's indie game publishing label Unties? Wonder if they will drop it once the word gets out and verified (even if the game is due for tomorrow). :/
 
Nov 1, 2017
2,904
These horror stories are why the pool for crowdfunded projects has become much smaller and somewhat poisoned. Hopefully those who were scammed can get even a small amount of compensation.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,095
Seems a little hard to believe considering there was actual footage of a Project Phoenix game at one point. I mean it looked like shit, but certainly money was used in some fashion.
 
Oct 25, 2017
356
Japan
To be honest, I don't know which is true, but I would not be surprised if the allegations Tiny Metal Programmer makes are true. I've only met Tariq on one occasion and he did feel like the type of person who will sweet talk into every position he has the opportunity to interview for and he was very smug about himself, to an uncomfortable level. He boasted about his time at Nintendo but he never mentioned the details of his work, and if it was Nintendo Treehouse, which is first and foremost a localization and QA studio, he definitely failed to mention that to make himself more authoritative.

He has put himself in a very dangerous position by putting his name out on allegations that have no other proof than his own word. Japan has very strict defamation laws, and unless he has a case for his defense, will probably be sued for this.

It's going to be very, very interesting to follow this matter.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,543
To be honest, I don't know which is true, but I would not be surprised if the allegations Tiny Metal Programmer makes are true. I've only met Tariq on one occasion and he did feel like the type of person who will sweet talk into every position he has the opportunity to interview for and he was very smug about himself, to an uncomfortable level. He boasted about his time at Nintendo but he never mentioned the details of his work, and if it was Nintendo Treehouse, which is first and foremost a localization and QA studio, he definitely failed to mention that to make himself more authoritative.

He has put himself in a very dangerous position by putting his name out on allegations that have no other proof than his own word. Japan has very strict defamation laws, and unless he has a case for his defense, will probably be sued for this.

It's going to be very, very interesting to follow this matter.
Treehouse has more than just localization and Q&A. Tariq worked in bilingual marketing/PR part of Treehouse. And yeah, that's not really a good look to boast about that stuff and not mention the details when asked about them.
 
Nov 2, 2017
700
I donated to the game Hex Heroes which was supposed to come out a couple years ago on Wii U and PC. The developer used to update frequently but has been quiet for months except a rare post to upset customers in the comments. They claim they are still working on it. The Wii U is dead though, so it seems rather pointless. Granted, I will be shocked if they ever release it.

While quite a few kickstarters turn out well, it's definitely a gamble
 
Oct 25, 2017
356
Japan
It looks like the Project Phoenix official Facebook account also described Tariq as a disgruntled ex-employee.

Hi Andrew, we are deleting that official post because it was from a disgruntled staff who has been asked to leave because he was not doing his job and not expressing the views of Project Phoenix. Also, there are many factual inconsistencies which we can prove through official records, however we are going to take action when we're ready to go public. For now, of course, you are free to form your opinion but please be reminded that you haven't seen any proof or factual evidence from anyone besides Mr Tariq Lacy. On a final note, Creative Intelligence Arts, Inc. is still in operation and working with other game companies to make good content, it has not folded.
 
Nov 1, 2017
2,904
Considering this game has shown next to nothing since 2013 and has already had multiple news stories about its mismanagement I'm willing to give even a disgruntled employee the benefit of the doubt.
 
Oct 27, 2017
451
Those posts seem way more devoted to tearing down Tariq as opposed to probing the money wasn’t funneled into Tiny Metal. Which, of course, isn’t provable without a paper trail because either way $1mm would be very gone by now in almost any dev cycle.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,724
Singapore
Those posts seem way more devoted to tearing down Tariq as opposed to probing the money wasn’t funneled into Tiny Metal. Which, of course, isn’t provable without a paper trail because either way $1mm would be very gone by now in almost any dev cycle.
What do you expect from project updates from something Yura is involved in tho? :)
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,181
Those posts seem way more devoted to tearing down Tariq as opposed to probing the money wasn’t funneled into Tiny Metal. Which, of course, isn’t provable without a paper trail because either way $1mm would be very gone by now in almost any dev cycle.
Agreed, it reading like a smear campaign rather than a statement from a company with nothing to hide set off alarm bells for me.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,972
That kickstarter response is so incredibly unprofessional it actually makes me think there is more truth to the original statement than I initially believed.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,993
Wish we could have some legal battle against this. I think I went in for 20 bucks or so. But it's not about that, it's about not letting this scam get away.
 
Oct 27, 2017
75
One of the three kickstarter projects I backed. The other two being Mighty Number 9 and Hyper Light Drifter......At least I got one good game out of it?
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,917
Whoa, the hell is all this? I was really looking forward to Tiny Metal. I'm iffy on supporting now if this is true.
 
Last edited:
Oct 27, 2017
3,596
While project Pheonix seems to be a mess or possible scam, using your former employer's official Facebook account to trash talk them on your way out seems like a really bad career move. The response to that airing personal stuff is unprofessional too. Backers aren't going to care about that shit if they were already feeling scamed.
 
Oct 25, 2017
356
Japan
Doesn't this article on Kotaku from April pretty much say that CIA was going to put in the money into a different project in the hopes that it would attract investors who would then put money into Project Phoenix? Is the smaller project mentioned Tiny Metal?

https://kotaku.com/games-like-project-phoenix-ruin-kickstarter-for-everyon-1794668083
If you read the post, it says they will stop funneling the profits from their music business into art asset creation for Project Phoenix and instead funnel it to a different "tiny project" (Tiny Metal, I assume). It looks like they have collaborated in the past on music projects like Blizzard's Echoes of War, which I assume is one of their sources of income.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,285
Haven't gleaned the whole thread yet, but so far it's looking pretty he-said-she-said? Tiny Metal's response doesn't seem any less aggressive than the original accusation.
 
Oct 30, 2017
544
The lesson here is to never Kickstart anything and never pre-order anything.

Only buy good games, after they're released, and review well.

Everything else is setting yourself up for lies.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,724
Singapore
If you read the post, it says they will stop funneling the profits from their music business into art asset creation for Project Phoenix and instead funnel it to a different "tiny project" (Tiny Metal, I assume). It looks like they have collaborated in the past on music projects like Blizzard's Echoes of War, which I assume is one of their sources of income.
Maybe if Yura had the business aptitude to hire someone like you to do PR for his projects instead, he wouldn't have the reputation he does in the industry today!
 
Nov 4, 2017
7
The lesson here is to never Kickstart anything and never pre-order anything.

Only buy good games, after they're released, and review well.

Everything else is setting yourself up for lies.
Except you have amazing games like Thimbleweed Park that have come out of Kickstarter.

So, like with all of life, shit's not black and white.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,317
Except you have amazing games like Thimbleweed Park that have come out of Kickstarter.

So, like with all of life, shit's not black and white.
Yeah, I've had nothing but good experiences with Kickstarter thus far. I've just also been very judicious with what project I've backed.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,317
You can buy the game after it releases. You don't have to buy a game before it even exists, by unproven startups.
It's still not that simple.

Two of the video games I've kickstarted were to experienced teams who proved they were capable of completing projects and were only unable to get traditional funding because they were wanting to make games in genres that were, at the time, on a downswing and were not promising to publishers/investors. Both of those kickstarted projects were successes and I do not feel like I should feel any shame for giving them an investment ahead of time rather than waiting for the games to come out on their own. Another project I kickstarted was by an expert who already had the game itself completed and only needed backing to do localization work for the game.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,532
I have never and will never back anything through crowd funding. It's always been completely fucking obvious to me that stuff like this WILL happen.