Is BLUE BOX Game Studios a Scam?
So, this image has been floating around on Twitter.
Edit: Originally, I didn’t know the original source of the image but the original creator reached out about it. So thank you to Brutal Sam. Please watch his YouTube video about the situation that the image was made for if you have the chance, and check out his Twitter too.
Pretty damning stuff if true, huh? How true is it, though? I set out to look into it all, especially since their patch for Abandoned isn’t coming anytime soon.
Let’s cut to the chase and just go one by one. I’ll break down all of the claims made here and see if they’re individually true.
Edit: Want to make a quick note here — any typos or weird grammar you see in between quotations is not an error on my part. I am quoting what BLUE BOX has written in the past word for word. Those are their typos, not mine. If you see a typo that’s not between quotations, on the other hand, I’ll take responsibility for that. Thanks.
On February 8th, 2015, on Indie DB, BLUE BOX Game Studios announced Rewind, their first horror game. In a post on their game’s page, they claim that Rewind had “been in development for over 2 years.” The game is described as a “mysterious” first-person horror adventure game meant for PC, Oculus Rift and PS4.
Did BLUE BOX delay the “playable teaser” of Rewind for “technical issues”?
On March 14th, 2015, BLUE BOX Game Studios wrote their first “Monthly development update” on their Indie DB page for the game.
Word for word, BLUE BOX announced that the “playable trailer has been delayed due to technical issues.” They claim that the “prototype however does run smooth but not without errors.”
Apparently, they even recorded a video of this prototype, but they removed said video from the Indie DB page because… Ahem, “The video messed up the contrast of the footage.”
During this update, by the way, they said they were “experimenting with Third Person. We want to establish an connection between the player and the characters in the game through emotions, that’s why we are planning to change to a Third Person gameplay.” Cool.
They cite Beyond: Two Souls and The Evil Within as their inspirations for this change.
Did BLUE BOX cancel VR for Rewind?
Even with a planned shift to a third-person perspective, BLUE BOX still planned on releasing Rewind for the Oculus Rift. “Technically it does work, but experience wise, the VR does bring lots of motion sickness and lots of technical issues. So we’re experimenting a lot with both Third Person Camera and VR. And of course it will be no problem to play Rewind in Third Person on a 3DTV.”
Sure. Did they cancel it though?
Well, as of June 24th, 2015, Rewind had no mention about Oculus any longer on it’s Indie DB page… but under their bullet points about the “Gameplay” features, they mention at the last bullet that players will “Experience a fully supported Virtual Reality gameplay.”
However, only a few months later in August 2015, the line about VR had been mysteriously omitted from the game’s Indie DB page. I combed through their last development update for the game on Indie DB on September 4th, 2015 — and found no mention of VR’s cancellation.
So we can assume that BLUE BOX Game Studios wanted to quietly omit any mention about VR from their page, due to changing plans or something of the sort. They also removed the mention of VR from the sidebar “Profile” on Indie DB.
While they don’t explicitly state that they cancelled VR, we can assume that they did indeed cancel it with their sneaky omission of the label.
Was Rewind’s Kickstarter cancelled? Was development put “on halt” and started in favor of a new project?
This is the most suspicious thing I’ve read during my time researching BLUE BOX Game Studios. At least thus far.
On April 4th, 2015, BLUE BOX stated that a private investor would be funding the project, so their need for a Kickstarter was now irrelevant. They don’t name this investor at all, and the Kickstarter backer amount only amounts to $205. It’s not clear if those backers ever got refunds. Assume what you’d like on that front.
However, they make no mention of this “private investor” on their Indie DB page. Ever.
In fact, this “private investor” must be pretty broke because it sounded like BLUE BOX was still struggling to put out their next game. In their June update, they mention working around Greenlight on Steam, claiming the “PC version won’t be released until the game will be granted by the community of Greenlight.”
Their pricing system was also strange. “The game will be available on Greenlight before september 2015. The PC version is really interesting, as it contains all the episodes bundled in one stand alone game, for the price of game (Which is estimated around $14,99)! While the console versions will have the first 3 episodes bundled in one stand alone game while the remaining episodes will be downloaded as a DLC. So the PC version is a BIG game for a SMALL price.”
On the most recent snapshot of the page I can find, the game’s description reads: “The PC version only launches if the community on Steam votes for the game. You decide for the PC version, otherwise Rewind will stay a console exclusive.”
Development ended in September before they picked up development for The Lost Tape, a first-person horror game that they apparently worked on prior to Rewind. You can read about their cancellation announcement here.
Did BLUE BOX resume development and then proceed to never release the game?
They seemed hopeful for development — announcing a plethora of updates. A Twitch stream for developer updates, a companion app for mobile devices, Early Preview copies, and a mobile edition of the game.
However, October is the last time any presence of Rewind was seen on the internet. The three links on the Kickstarter are all now defunct. Their Facebook page is gone. Their official website is now a defunct page, and so is their Indie DB.
Throwing it into the Wayback Machine, Rewind was apparently supposed to get a September 9th on Android via the Google Play store. If this ever released, I can’t find it. I have to assume it never existed unless someone can prove to me otherwise.
This website was just a banner ad for Rewind and existed until 2019 at the least from the snapshots I can find on the Wayback Machine. No release for the game.
As of now, Rewind’s website now looks like the below image with links to BLUE BOX’s current social media channels.
The Lost Tape
What’s the deal with The Lost Tape? Are the claims in the beginning true?
In actuality, you can still view The Lost Tape’s Mod DB page. That’s right. Not Indie DB — Mod DB. It’s not a mod for any game, though, but rather simply just a page for their game.
They claim that The Lost Tape was their original concept for Rewind, when it was still a first-person horror game. They claim that “The Lost Tape is the same story, same game, except with a different name and different characters. It might not look AAA quality, but still The Lost Tape provides a enjoyable experience for both horror lovers and puzzle lovers.”
They claimed that they were “currently planning to do some streaming sessions of the game”. No links to a stream of any sort were given. It seems that this was the first and only instance of a page for The Lost Tape on Mod DB.
Although they said the pricing of the game would range from $2.99 to $4.99, the game never saw a release.
Did The Whisperer ever release?
The game exists in the form of a Let’s Play video on YouTube. The Whisperer is a paranormal investigation game where the protagonist communicates with ghosts via EVP while attempting to capture ghosts on camera. The game is powered by Unreal Engine 4.
Based on this Let’s Play by 8BitAndroidPlays on YouTube, we can guess that The Whisperer did exist at some point. I mean, what else would he be playing?
At the bottom of the description is a defunct Google Play store link for the Android game, but the link doesn’t even work in the Wayback Machine, since no snapshots were made for it. Some websites online seem to have record of the game existing as well.
Did Unseen Faces ever release?
Unseen Faces was hard to find beyond a link to a Wayback Machine snapshot of the website for it. The Whisperer seemed to be a sort of prototype or preliminary to Unseen Faces since it follows the same premise: You are a paranormal investigator tracking ghosts.
This game had a twist in the sense that it was meant to be a PvP game where both players couldn’t be seen by one another. Five game modes were meant to be in this game — Messenger, Elimination, Outcast, Guardian, and The Whisperer.
The game seemed to be planned for the PS4 and was built on Unreal Engine, but never seemed to release. There is no other information available about this apparent game.
Tales of the Six Swords
What’s the deal with Tales of the Six Swords? Did it release?
See, Tales of the Six Swords was a supposed JRPG that was indeed on the Google Play store. Someone interacting with their Facebook page for the game seems to portray as much.
So it exists — but the app doesn’t work. You can even download an apk for the app and it does not function whatsoever.
While people didn’t seem interact with the Facebook page at all, one user did leave a comment on the game’s first post — made on August 7th, 2019. “I’m waiting for the game to be played… it’s not playable yet… hard to give feedback of the game if you are unable to play it…”
The Facebook page still exists, and contains a link to what was supposedly the website for said game. The link is defunct and doesn’t have any snapshots available.
The icon for Tales of the Six Swords is also a stolen image. It’s an edit of a character named Taiga Aisaka from an anime series known as Toradora. This is a copyrighted image that BLUE BOX was using without permission for their supposed game.
So no, this game never released as an actual “game”, despite being downloadable as a non-functional app. They said they were “temporarily” removing the app from the Google Play store to update it, but it was never updated.
Thank you as well to u/PestoChickenLinguine for his write-up about this game a few days ago on Reddit. Read his post if you have the chance.
What’s the deal with The Haunting? What’s CREATEQ Interactive?
The Haunting: Blood Water is BLUE BOX Game Studios’ most recent game, with an Early Access release on Steam in December 2020.
The Early Access game received largely negative reviews from people who played it. Players cited issues with getting past a loading screen at the start menu, alongside other technical issues like character AI.
Now, here’s where some weirdness occurs.
The Haunting: Blood Water has since been listed on PlayStation 5 as a game with BLUE BOX Game Studios being behind it.
However, the Steam version has since been updated to say that CREATEQ Interactive is now developing and publishing the game.
The comment above from “SneakyWarriorr” is Hasan Kahraman, head of BLUE BOX Game Studios. He claims the project is being handed over to CREATEQ Interactive.
Now, CREATEQ Interactive does not exist. There is no record of a “CREATEQ Interactive” online. CreateQ does exist, however, as a tech company in the Netherlands. They have their own website where they detail what they do, but no — they do not produce video games.
In fact, CreateQ now has a disclaimer on their website stating that they are not CREATEQ Interactive and have no relation to BLUE BOX Game Studios or anything of that nature.
There’s not a lot of evidence or traction around CreateQ right now, but I think it’s very likely and possible that this is just a fake or shell company made up by BLUE BOX Game Studios so they can have an excuse when it comes to abandoning their 2020 game.
As of now, it seems like work hasn’t been done at all on The Haunting: Blood Water by this “CREATEQ Interactive”, so I’m highly skeptical that this company is even real. Especially since the game isn’t even available to purchase at the moment. “CREATEQ Interactive” claims that the game will leave Early Access in October 2021. Sure.
So is the image at the beginning true?
From what I can tell, and for the most part? Yes.
Everything about Rewind I was able to corroborate via my own research via the Wayback Machine.
The Lost Tape is still available to be viewed online, and you can look for yourself.
The Whisperer has evidence of existence. So that’s where this chart is wrong. It did seem to release at some point on the Google Play Store. It was taken down at some point, but I will count that one as a release.
Unseen Faces barely has any information and didn’t release. Tales of the Six Swords is one of the more egregious pieces of evidence towards BLUE BOX just being an indie studio that flakes on their games, and everything stated in the chart is true.
Lastly, The Haunting still is out there. The information on the chart is correct, although not all of the reviews are negative. There’s a few positive ones, but it is indeed largely negative due to technical issues. A common theme with BLUE BOX Game Studios, haven’t you noticed?
I’ve been skeptical from the beginning about BLUE BOX Game Studios, and I knew my hunch had to be right. I didn’t expect my research here to pan out with such a rabbit hole.
If I had to make any predictions to conclude? I’d be shocked if this patch for “Abandoned” actually ever releases. To me, Hasan is just a guy who wants to make games but can never finish what he starts, and doesn’t actually know what he’s doing. I feel like Abandoned will end up like the rest of the games above — the very name of the game itself. Abandoned, as would-be games and ideas.~
(As of 8/14/21, at 5:45 AM EST)
So my prediction about BLUE BOX never releasing a patch was wrong, but in a way, maybe that would’ve been a better fate, right? BLUE BOX released a patch for their app that only showed off a small teaser of a character walking — the same teaser posted on their Twitter days prior.
Unlike BLUE BOX, though, I’m not going to delete what I wrote in the past just because I made an error or misjudgement — much unlike how the studio deleted all of their tweets regarding the delay of the patch.
Just in case you wanna look for yourself, here’s their Twitter now.
I’m unsure about why they felt the need to delete the tweets. One could argue that the tweets are irrelevant now that the patch is out, and I’d say that’d be fair to an extent. It’s just with everything going on, it feels really suspicious to erase some of their missteps — and in the small amount of time where those tweets were gone before the patch was live, I was concerned they’d just run for the hills (silent ones?). Not quite.