The man behind the Kickstarter campaign for a game that raised a few thousand dollars before being revealed as a plagiarizer may not even be a game developer, Betabeat has learned.
In a Kickstarter campaign, a man who identifies himself as Seth Westphal claims to be the founder and CEO of an independent gaming studio called Little Monsters Productions. The art for the proposed game was cribbed from other artists on the web and the photos of Little Monsters studios were taken from another independent gaming studio, Burton Design Group.
This morning we spoke with Alfonzo Burton, CEO and creative director of Burton Design Group, who claims to be Mr. Westphal’s former employer.
Mr. Westphal was an office manager, not a game developer, Mr. Burton said, and he was fired in “released from our studio back in February for noncompliance.” Mr. Westphal came in late, didn’t get work done, and didn’t follow procedure, Mr. Burton said. “Seth Westphal is a fraud. Don’t pay him for any games. He’s not a game developer.”
Some artists who had their work ripped off on the Kickstarter page contacted him two days ago, Mr. Burton said. He hopes all who are responsible for trying to defraud gamers are brought to justice, he said.
“We’re an independent game producer. We love Kickstarter. We have several triple-A titles in development we want to put on Kickstarter in the next couple months,” Mr. Burton said. “I love what it does. It allows independent game developers to have the freedom from huge publishers. This is what we’ve always dreamed of as independent publishers. For him to come and taint us as, a non-game developer… I think it was a straight-up scam.”
He plans to reach out to Mr. Westphal himself today, he said.
The fraudulent Kickstarter has since been deleted, and the site for Little Monsters Productions was pulled.
But Little Monsters Productions, which claimed to comprise 12 people, was answering to its critics at first. When commenters on Kickstarter pointed out the stolen photos, the creators answered back in the comments.
According to the project creators, some of the people behind the campaign used to work at the independent gaming studio Burton Design Group but left because “the owner was being shady with funds.”
Mr. Burton said he does not know what the creators were referring to.
Betabeat reached out to Mr. Westphal for comment this morning.