Now Dave Lister, founder of Studio Nasu, has broken an eight month silence to claim that the game is still being made and that the Kickstarter was not, as some backers are claiming, a scam.
Studio Nasu leveraged Otakon 2012 to promote Crisis Heart Brawlers, Clash At Otakon! The side-scrolling fighting game would include voice acting by Otakon guest anime dub actors, music by Eyeshine—a band that has performed at Otakon, and characters including “Ice Cold Water Guy,” a vendor-turned-legend at the Baltimore convention.
Studio Nasu set up a Kickstarter for the project with a goal of $20,000 but, due in part to Otakon’s promotion, fans raised more than $33,000.
The estimated delivery for backer rewards was April 2013, but fans say they still have not heard from Studio Nasu or Dave Lister since the project was successfully funded in September 2012, nor have they received any backer rewards. The project now appears on Kickscammed, a community blog for reporting unfulfilled projects.
Creators are legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their projects, according to Kickstarter. On the comments page, some backers are discussing taking legal action against Studio Nasu. This wouldn’t be the first time a Kickstarter has lead to a lawsuit. Earlier this year, the Attorney General of Washington state sued a Kickstarter for failing to make good on its promises to backers.
Lister had not updated his Twitter, personal or professional, since last October. But when I asked Lister about Crisis Heart Brawlers on Twitter, he responded immediately. It is his first time discussing the game that I can find online since October 2013.
Otakon made its promotion of the Studio Nasu game apparent, but hasn’t mentioned it since, not even responding to an Otakon forum thread asking why the game hasn’t happened yet. I contacted Otakon for comment, but have not yet received a reply.
Update 7/4/2014: Otakon has terminated its agreement with Studio Nasu.
“I feel like they traded on the goodwill of the Otakon brand to screw people out of their money,” wrote redditor aresef on a Reddit discussion of the game.
Studio Nasu may still be working on the project, but that’s probably news to backers. And after two years, fans are probably going to need more than his word to believe it.