Developer claims ‘Project Phoenix’ creator stole from Kickstarter

Project Phoenix, a Japanese role-playing game with real-time strategy elements created by Area 35 and director Hiroaki Yura, raised more than $1 million on Kickstarter more than four years ago and promised to set a “new standard of excellence for the Japanese gaming industry.” It was originally scheduled to launch in 2015 and updates have been sporadic since then, and a former developer’s accusations against Yura suggest the delays haven’t just been because the team is running behind schedule.

Former Area 35 developer Tariq Lacy posted on the official Project Phoenix Facebook page late last week, saying that Yura had diverted the $1 million received for the game from Kickstarter in order to fund the strategy game Tiny Metal, which is scheduled to release in December. Lacy said that much of the funds were used to establish Area 35 and pay for staff and equipment for Tiny Metal, and that Yura only began seeking help from outside investors after this Kickstarter money had run low.

“You will notice progress reports on the Project Phoenix Kickstarter blog, as well as their official Project Phoenix blog,” Lacy continued. “These were written periodically by Hiroaki Yura himself in order to assuage fears that the project was dead. The nature of these blog entries, through their infrequency and intentional ambiguity, reveals to us that the project was never meant to be released.”

The official Facebook page for the game responded to a question about the original post, saying that it was from a “disgruntled staff [member] who [had] been asked to leave because he was not doing his job and not expressing the views of Project Phoenix.”

The official Project Phoenix response also claimed there were “factual inconsistencies” in Lacy’s post and that the team would be “taking action” and prove its innocence through “official records.”

Speaking to Kotaku, Yura alleged Lacy sexually harassed Area 35’s female staff in addition to “many other problems.” He added that funding for Tiny Metal initially came from a group of investors in Australia and the studio partnered with Sony’s new label Unties in order to complete development. Lacy denied the sexual harassment allegations, calling them “libel.”

We likely haven’t heard the end of this story — Tiny Metal was scheduled to launch on Tuesday, November 21, but has been delayed to December 21. The game will be available on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Microsoft’s Xbox head debunks rumors of streaming-only console in the works

Xbox head Phil Spencer debunked rumors that Microsoft is working on a streaming-only console that will utilize the company's Project xCloud. Spencer also said cloud gaming will not soon replace traditional consoles.

From technical specs to games, here's what we know about Project Scarlett

Microsoft is designing the successor to the Xbox One: Project Scarlett. Here is everything we know about the next-gen console, including its rumored release window and support for older Xbox consoles' games.

Xbox says framerate will matter most on Project Scarlett

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has shared in an interview that a game's framerate and overall playability will matter more than resolution during the Project Scarlett generation of consoles.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

Police warn Raleigh locals of military cosplay at Rainbow Six Siege tournament

This weekend's Rainbow Six Siege Major esports tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina, prompted the local police to give residents a heads-up about cosplayers, who could come to the convention center in fake military cosplay.

From the very best to the worst, here are all the Pokémon games ranked

With Pokémon Sword and Shield en route to Nintendo Switch later this year, we decided to rank the first seven generations of Pokémon games from best to worst. Which generation made us want to catch 'em all the most?

Nintendo is reportedly trading revised Switch console for older model for free

If you recently bought a Nintendo Switch, you may be eligible for a free exchange for a revised model with better battery life. The revised Nintendo Switch nearly doubles the battery life thanks to a new processor.


Fortnite from Epic Games first arrived on PC as an early access game in 2017. Featuring a mode called Save the World, players could jump online with a group of friends to collect resources, build structures, and defend against waves of…

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for August 2019

Looking to score Nintendo's latest console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals, including discounts on bundles that feature must-have games like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Here's the Gamescom 2019 conference schedule and all the announcements we expect

Gamescom 2019 will be the site for four different presentations, including the next Google Stadia Connect event. Here is when you can watch the shows, and what to expect from each of them.

Epic Games insists Fortnite B.R.U.T.E. is fun; #RemoveTheMech not happening

Epic Games said that the controversial B.R.U.T.E. vehicles are part of providing "a fun experience" to Fortnite players. It appears that the developer has no plans of listening to the #RemoveTheMech movement.

Sorry, you can’t exchange your Nintendo Switch for an upgraded model

Customer representatives said that those who purchased the old model of the Nintendo Switch after July 17 would be able to upgrade their console into the new model for free. A Nintendo spokesperson has now denied the exchange program.