GameSpot did a detailed investigation into Hasan Kahraman and what went on behind the scenes.
Since we have been following the events closely, we’ll only go into the new details. According to GameSpot’s sources, there is no game that Blue Box Game Studios is currently working on. Although Kahraman tells the public that development is progressing, behind the curtains, he claims it has been suspended as he uses the playable prologue to fund its costs. After his tweet “starting with an S, ending with an L”, he seemed to skew the whole thing towards the fans retroactively. He posted a few seconds of Silent Hill-like video in the Realtime Experience “app” for that very reason (which was also on Twitter eventually). Then, when fans started to get suspicious about Metal Gear Solid, he reworked the horror story to be more about a fourth-wall-breaking secret government project involving artificial intelligence.
According to Kahraman, 50 people work at Blue Box, including outsourcing studios, but the Dutch Chamber of Commerce says the company was founded in 2015 with ten employees. This figure has not been updated since then. Still, Kahraman has updated two things since then: firstly, the business address, and secondly, he registered an alternative name, Pixel Molecule, but it has not been used. The chamber said it was the responsibility of the company to communicate changes to the number of staff, for example.
Most of the information was obtained by GameSpot from a private chat room, which was kept exclusive. Kahraman has been sharing pictures, animations, and a page of the game’s script since the autumn (they were leaked, and we wrote about them), and there were initially about a dozen people here. Kahraman himself chose who he would let in after a bit of research, and he also made the participants sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that did not use legal terms. When the people there pointed out empty promises or discrepancies between public and private statements, he either fired the renegades or created a new, sometimes smaller, group with new or still trusting fans. It happened five or six times, and Kahraman contacted people from different platforms. Some persisted because they believed in the project. Others were happy for exclusive access. Kahraman was described as duplicitous and promiscuous by people who knew the group(s). He started arguing with anyone who questioned his sincerity or wanted to hear new news. He swept all of it under the carpet based on new fan theories.
Sometimes he kept people who wouldn’t leak. Occasionally he would send audio recordings, which could be a strategy to avoid screenshots of the conversations, and that’s when he would say the most egregious things. In public, he denied that the leaked material was part of his project while trying to identify the leakers. He posted an audio file on his website, which he described as his latest exclusive asset, and we can now listen to it on YouTube. It’s been poorly translated into Japanese. He was trying to lean on Kojima again with this idea; the recording is tied to the Zero Cell scenario, which could be described as a bootleg Metal Gear Solid. After the leak, Kahraman deflected by saying that his website had been hacked and he didn’t know the sound file was on his website. He wanted to identify the person who shared it on Reddit, and his lack of honesty made the group quite unhappy.
Kahraman called many of his business partners scammers, including the respected Nuare Studio, who he would have hired for artwork in the first place. He also approached the GamesRadar’s Future Games Show team and Geoff Keighley, the man behind Summer Games Fest/The Game Awards, to show his game, but it was planned several times last year, and once nothing came of it, and he often blamed it all on someone else. He also wanted to make a working and romantic relationship with a group member and would have paid for the PlayStation trophy artwork had the game been released. He said in March that he would have met the person when he was free in May, but the person in question thought Hasan would have finished the prologue by then. It divided the group, and communication between them stopped.
Then, Kahraman approached another person with an offer: he would store the disc copies of the game in the United States and pay $1,500. It would cover the costs, and the rest would be the profit for the person, who would also get a Blue Box email address and could contact Sony. He sent him a questionnaire from Sony Interactive Entertainment, which included Kahraman’s address, but he called the whole idea off a few days later. The youngest member of the group was 12 years old, and according to the others, he was a loud and rude person and once asked someone to kill himself, to which Kahraman did not react at all. The others privately supported the person in question, expressing disappointment that Kahraman did nothing in the end.
The group soon became toxic, regardless of its iteration. Sometimes, members felt the need to praise Kahraman between two Rainbow Six: Siege matches (a game he often played late at night, inviting others…), or else they would have been kicked out. His NDA required a lot of personal information (address, name, that sort of thing), but it seems to be cobbled together, and there are grammatical errors that are… well, let’s admit it, typical of Kahraman. The leaked Silent Hill 5 picture he called a joke used the same jacketed, dark-shoed asset he shared publicly (too). Again, he called the leaks bogus, but the group asked Kahraman to come clean. That’s where Lance McDonald stepped in, who took down his joint-written statement, and McDonald later explained that he didn’t trust Kahraman (who said the leaked assets were not from Abandoned).
It often happened that Kahraman would share something that didn’t impress the group (and possibly leak), to which he would say he was testing their loyalty. Still, in the process, he became increasingly suspicious of everyone. He used to say he was working on Abandoned, but he could not prove it over time, often missing the deadlines he had set. Abandoned was reportedly scheduled to be shown three times last summer, including Gamescom, and Keighley pointed out that Kahraman hadn’t sent him anything. He has confirmed to his PlayStation Network group that Abandoned is not in the works but, to date, claims that its prologue is. The promised playtests have not materialized, and a joke has emerged that the game should be called Wallbandoned because Kahraman has only shown the walls of the game to members of the group.
Kahraman told GameSpot a year ago that he had planned a multiplayer beta of the game, but that was probably just a random idea and nothing more. Like the other Blue Box games, “Abandoned” (because it’s supposed to be a code name…) might end up in the trash after the announcement, and it may be deleted from the internet…