Caveat Backer

This Is What a Kickstarter Scam Looks Like

Internet sleuths busted a videogame campaign that was guilty of plagiarizing and possibly worse.
mythic seth westfall This Is What a Kickstarter Scam Looks Like

"Seth Westphal," the creator and cofounder of "Little Monster Productions." (kickstarter.com)

When Kickstarter projects go wrong, backers often think they’ve been scammed; usually, the creators simply overpromised. But a campaign for an action video game, MYTHIC: The Story Of Gods and Men, has just been busted by forum users at Reddit, SomethingAwful and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The creators claimed to be an independent studio, “Little Monster Productions,” of 12 industry veterans in Hollywood. “Our team has done a significant amount of work on the World of Warcraft series as well as Diablo 2 and the original Starcraft,” says the project page.

Bullshit, said the Internet. Turns out the art was cribbed, the text for backer rewards was copied and pasted from another Kickstarter project, and even the office photos were from another game studio, Burton Design Group.

mythic This Is What a Kickstarter Scam Looks LikeThe creators had raised $4,739 on an $80,000 goal when they shut the project down and deleted the Little Monster Productions website two days ago. “A few members of our team worked at BDG last year beforeother [sic] found out the owner was being shady with funds,” the creators posted when the Kickstarter comments got contentious. “They left and joined our team shortly after. As for the concept art, it seems we have been subjected to false claims of ownership right to our concepts. The game itself is well in progress and is NOT a scam of any kind. Thank you for understanding. If you have any furthure questions please feel free to ask.” The project was shut down not long after.

Kickstarter did not immdiately respond to request for comment.

UPDATE, May 1, 9 a.m.: Alfonzo Burton of the Burton Design Group reached out to Betabeat by email. “I know the guy in the video. His name is Seth Westphal and he lives in Mission Viejo, CA,” Mr. Burton wrote. “He’s a former employee of Burton Design Group and stole our artists images and company studio images. I’m trying to spread the news of this guy so the industry can be on the look out.” He said Mr. Westphal was just an office manager, not a game developer. We updated with more details here and have reached out to Mr. Westphal.

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