Thursday, 11 December 2014

Alien VS Predator

Wow, this has gotten into so much trouble that I'm glad I didn't back this kickstarter. Mostly because at the time it was very very expensive; we're talking about 30 British pounds for THREE Predator resin figurines. That and the fact the logo looks like the two deadliest alien species in the galaxy are dancing with each other instead of fighting. 

How bad is it? It's this bad

Yeah, it's pretty damn bad. Imagine the shock as a backer when you see this, with the fear that you sank a 100+ USD into the KS; since that was the value of their lowest pledge, and now you're going to get screwed out of nothing. 

However, Prodos came up with a statement shortly after that seemed to alleviate backer concerns. Which they had to post on their facebook page since their entire Kickstarter page was taken down, along with the updates/comments/etc. According to them, it was taken down by mistake and hopefully it would return in 24 hours. However, it's been way more than 24 hours since then (26th November and at the writing of this on Dec 11th, that's 15daysish), and the site still hasn't even come back up. Not only that, most if not all WIPs or model shots of AVP on the Prodos facebook page was taken down as well. So clearly, something is going on here because KS issues wouldn't affect Prodos taking down their own AVP shots on their facebook. 
Hi guys, 

We are sorry that we have been unable to deliver an update. We know you are waiting for one and we just wanted to make sure you know that it is coming. 
At the moment, the update is with Fox and is pending approval. We've been told by the Fox team in the UK that it is being looked at by the team in the USA and should be with us at some point next week. 
We've said it before, but we want to say it again, we appreciate the patience you have had so far and unfortunately just have to ask for a week before this update will hopefully be ready. Thanks again, PRODOS Games LTD

And right that after that, they come up with the above update. Apparently they need to communicate with the Fox Team in USA and it's going to be something lengthy that will take about a week to get an answer to. Maybe it's just me but this doesn't quite bode too well for this KS. 
Hello backers, 
It's important for us to say that the Kickstarter page was initially removed by mistake, but now we have decided with Fox that it might be better to stay down until the product you have pre-ordered has shipped. 
This is the same for our Facebook media and images that were uploaded there. From here on, we only want to share information about the final products you will be receiving, rather than work in progress imagery or text. 
The project is almost finished, we are in the final stages of approval and therefore it will be ready to ship soon. 
We are not able to give an approximate date for shipping at this stage, but as soon as the final elements of the project have been approved, we will calculate printing time, assembly time and shipping time and then share the final date with you. 
Thank you for your continued patience, 

Along with this. They're still saying it was removed by mistake; but somehow the facebook pictures were also removed at about the same time that 'mistake' was made. In the meantime, backers still have no idea what's going and one of them at least has been mailing KS constantly to find out what's going on. Well, turns out he finally got a reply and it wasn't a good one. 

Hi xxxxxx, 
Thanks for writing in. The project in question was removed from public view as a result of an intellectual property claim by 20th Century Fox that falls outside of the DMCA. Accordingly, no DMCA notice was posted on the site. 
We hope this helps. 
Kickstarter Copyright

What does this mean? Well, first of all it means Prodos was lying about the KS page being accidentally taken down by Prodos. Instead, in the mail; if it's true, it's very clear why the page was taken down. Because of an IP claim by 20th Century Fox. And not because of anything that Prodos do with regards to the page. So on that aspect at least, Prodos is lying. 

So just what is going on? Did Prodos HAVE permission originally from Fox to produce this game? Why was the KS page taken down because of an IP claim? I mean, no one has the answers to ANY of the questions at this point because Prodos has flat out refused to give a straight answer to anything. They're still trying to claim it was a mistake when it's clear there's something deeper going on between them and Fox, especially since now the updates have to be 'approved' by Fox and all the pictures were taken down. 

Personally, this is what I think and keep in mind this is all speculation since I have no idea what's actually going on and just inferring from some of the facts. Prodos DID have the license to produce an AVP miniatures/board game at one time. Why do I say this? Because it has been a year since the KS for that game launched in 2013 and the page was only taken down on 25th November 2014 and I have a hard time believing that; considering the press this game was getting at the time it was being kickstartered, Fox would have taken one year to realise there was a copyright infringement. 

So I'm assuming Fox DID know about the game previously. However, obviously something has changed in that 1 year period, something that caused Fox to complain to KS to get the page taken down. What is it exactly? I have no idea. Speculations on other boards have ranged from "Prodos is blaming Fox for the delays, which Fox didn't like" to "Prodos didn't manage to get the game out on time (which is true) and it may have exceeded the time frame stated in the licensing agreement between Fox and Prodos on when to get the game out by". I mean, at this point, there's a lot of speculation because Prodos hasn't been able to give a definite answer on anything. Also, having the KS page stay down is a monumentally stupid move. Because that just makes everything look worse. Backers have NO other non-censored way to discuss with each other just what is going on.

At this point, I think the best advice Prodos can heed is this. Stop spinning because at this point, it's just damaging your relationship with your customers. At this point, people know or can feel that there is something wrong with the kickstarter and it's best to let them know as much as it is legally possible for Prodos to say. Backers are antsy at this point and further spin will just make them angry.