Hiroaki Yura’s CIA Inc., was supposed to deliver Project Phoenix to backers back in spring of 2015. The original Kickstarter campaign, which garnered more than $1 million, exploded onto the scene back in 2013, and has since managed to fail to deliver anything to backers since then. Some backers have been requesting refunds over the years, with some renewed interest in getting refunds after one backer posted up a survey looking to gauge interests in possible legal actions against CIA Inc.
Project Phoenix backer Sterling Treadwell posted up the survey back in June of 2019, explaining…
“[…] I have previously posted on here looking for a reply or some kind of response from CIA,Inc about the state of things and clarification. They have, from what I have seen, not responded to me, or anyone else posting on the update and the main comment section.
“A Project Creator is not required to grant a Backer’s request for a refund unless the Project Creator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the reward.”
So far CIA Inc., has failed to fulfill the rewards of the Kickstarter and the $1 million has gone kaput. The only thing that the team had to show for the money was a vertical slice demo from December 14th, 2014 showcasing ten minutes of alpha gameplay.
The last update from the Project Phoenix YouTube channel was a livestream on March 7th, 2015 offering an update on the project and a Q&A session.
Since then the YouTube channel for the game hasn’t been updated.
It turns out that CIA Inc’s Hiroaki Yura moved over to development studio Area 35 and began working on Tiny Metal for home consoles and PC. In an interview with Siliconera back on December 11th, 2017 he told the outlet that they would have to move 150,000 units of Tiny Metal to make enough money to begin work on Project Phoenix again.
Previous to that Siliconera had published an article about how two years into development CIA Inc., still didn’t have a programmer for Project Phoenix, so it was no surprise that two years later development hadn’t progressed any further.
Cliqist also highlighted the developers’ failure to deliver what was promised during the crowdfunding campaign, but nothing came of it.
In fact, back on March 26th, 2019, Twinfinite published an article based around an update from Hiroaki Yura claiming that they would be building the tools to create a development pipeline for Project Phoenix, and that they would be hiring artists to redo the concept art, writing in the Kickstarter update…
“We’re currently cultivating the programming team, but before we’re able to fully recommit to Project Phoenix, we’re working on titles independent of this project. Since we currently only have a small team, we will slowly work to increase its size and capability. They will be working on other projects to develop the tools, systems, and pipelines needed to proceed with Project Phoenix.
“Until then, we will begin doing what we can by reworking concept art, as our original designs have aged somewhat. […]”
That was the last update on the project, and since then some of the 15,802 backers have asked for refunds, which have gone ignored by CIA Inc.
Other Kickstarters that squandered the funds or ran off with the money without delivering what was promised were reported to the Federal Trade Commission. The Doom That Came To Atlantic City creator, Erik Chevalier, was fined $111,793 by the FTC for defrauding backers. So it’s not like there’s no recourse here.
If you backed Project Phoenix and feel the FTC needs to get involved, you can do so by filing a complaint using the FTC complaint form.
(Thanks for the news tip Doug)