Sunday, April 29, 2012

When Scammers Turn to Kickstarter

Let's face it, it was bound to happen eventually and it probably already has unwittingly taken place before, but a Kickstarter Project was created purposely to scam gullible gamers. A newly uploaded Kickstarter project called Mythic: The Story of the Gods and Men was quickly found out by the brilliant people of the internet. Yesterday someone from SomethingAwful, a somewhat large internet community, posted a ton of evidence to Rock Paper Shotgun's forums and then it was spread from there. The forum post was originally about the success of Kickstarter and how it's becoming something huge, but this is an interesting example of what could go wrong, yet at the same time it's a project that was quickly figured out and destroyed. Mythic had a $80,000 goal and already had $4,000 in pledges, but now the project has been cancelled and the "developer" has deleted their profile. Read on for the info about how they figured out this Kickstarter was fake.

Mythic: The Story of the Gods and Men is an awful name. Read that aloud and tell me that someone seriously spent more than thirty minutes coming up with that name, but that's not evidence of the scam. On the Kickstarter page the first thing they show is this picture.

It turns out that picture is really from here:

It is an article that shows a tutorial about how to draw that very picture that they slapped Mythic on top of. The next thing you read is about the project, which sounds very vague and odd. This sentence in particular should bother most people, "Game engine is custom but built based off of Unity3D and animations will be done via motion capture thanks to some friends at Disney/Pixar!" A small time developer that is looking for only $80,000 is planning to do motion capture? I think not. Another terrifying sentence is this one, "The gameplay characteristics will be similar to that of World of Warcraft and the graphics quality should be up there with Skyrim." Really? So first off they are planning to do an open world game that gives you a lot of choices, very descriptive sounding I must say, and then they further elaborate by saying that it will be like World of Warcraft with the graphical quality of Skyrim? That is the craziest thing I've heard in a very long time. Were this a real project it would be doomed to failure based on that goal, but it's not a real project, it's a scam.

Interestingly enough the rest of their Kickstarter page is filled with more stolen images and art, plus some more absurd descriptions that are alarmingly ambitious. A good chunk of their page is filled with concept, all of which is stolen from a concept art website:

Surprisingly they have some in-game screenshots that no one has been able to debunk, but nearly everything else on the Kickstarter is stolen or sounds like lies. The pledge reward tiers are also quite stolen as well, most of which seem to be taken from The Banner Saga rewards are merely reworded to make it sound as if they thought of these pledges on their own. Here is an example of the two $50 pledges for the two projects:

The Banner Saga $50 Pledge: 
"Be a real part of The Banner Saga! At this tier we'll provide you a template and you provide us with YOUR OWN CREST DESIGN which we'll put into the actual game."

Mythic $50 Pledge: 
"Be a real part of MYTHIC! At this tier we'll provide you a template and you provide us with YOUR OWN GOD POWER SIGN DESIGN which we'll put into the actual game found on alter walls and pillars."

You can compare the large majority of the pledges between the two projects and see that the Mythic pledges are almost 100% copy and pasted from The Banner Saga's page. God forbid you want more proof than this of the project's false presentation, but if you do there is more to be found. Take a look at SomethingAwful's original post about it or the Rock Paper Shotgun post or the Reddit post, all of which have links and explanations.

I'm often writing about Kickstarters here and encouraging people to participate in interesting projects, but the fact that this Kickstarter made even $5,000 in pledges is worrisome. This is truly an amateur attempt to scam some gamers into backing this project, but what happens if some professionals do this? What happens if someone actually takes the time to make their own art, real and believe-able descriptions, custom pledges and in-game screenshots? I have faith that someone will succeed in rooting them out, once again, but it is still worries me a bit. Kickstarter truly is on the rise and we will see what happens to all of these projects, like Wasteland 2, The Banner Saga, Double Fine Adventure and many more. Hopefully they will fulfill their end of the bargain and we won't end up with a whole slew of failed projects and failed investments, but have hope my friends. We have not been betrayed yet and there is still plenty to be excited about. Thanks for reading and for if you want to actually see the Mythic Kickstarter Page take a look below.
Cancelled Mythic Project:

*Sources littered throughout the post*
-Written by Sean Cargle


  1. Mark Nowotarski (patent agent)April 29, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Nice work nipping the scam in the bud.

  2. Alfonzo BurtonMay 1, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    The person responsible is Seth Westphal from Orange County California. This is a complete disrespect to the gaming community and he owes it to this industry to pay the money back to real fans of games.

    His email is Seth Westphal

    Everyone tell him to return the money and stop frauding people

    1. Who figured that one out?