West Games’ Two-Faced PR
After being suspended from Kickstarter, West Games quickly responded with an open letter in English. They started gathering donations on their own site and claimed that Russians are behind the smear campaign.
"People also need to take into account that Ukrainians and Russians are in an information war right now, and as a Ukrainian developer, we were subject to constant hostility from Russian Kickstarter accounts (we even got death threats). There are over 16,000 comments on our Kickstarter, which is unprecedented for the amount of supporters that we have, and a lot of our comments are hate filled. Some sites, in light of this, chose to report based on sources from direct competitors or from the myriad of comments based on lies. Others chose a neutral ground, because of the confusing situation around us, and still others wrote positively about us. All in all, more than a 1,000 news results come up when you type in "Areal Kickstarter" on Google."
At the same time, they have written a different letter to the Russian gaming sites. Riot Pixels posted the letter and compared it to the English version. Unsurprisingly, the contents are quite different. There is a very interesting paragraph in that letter (translated from Russian):
"We started the fundraising on the American crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and told them that we are the developers of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but Americans did not trust us and we had to spend time to show proof of our claims. Now, we have launched our own website and started accepting donations there. We were very surprised that Russian players are actively supporting us. Honestly, we have not expected that. We thought that the current situation between our countries is uncooperative, but it seems that young people think similarly in both countries. We were wrong to write the angry words ... but the time should fix it all."
Sounds quite different from the English version. Here, the evil American skeptics are behind their troubles, while Russians are their main hope. Their Russian letter also claims that V. Putin has sent them a letter (below) expressing his support for the game. Clearly, another fake.
I am not sure if West Games' credibility and reputation could fall any lower, but at least they can make us laugh.