Thursday, August 03, 2017

'Unsung Story' Kickstarter Has New Developer

It's a Kickstarter kind of week for video games. With the big announcement on one of the most infamous Kickstarter projects gone wrong, we have to talk about it.

Some of you may remember Unsung Story. Marketed as a "spiritual successor" to Final Fantasy: Tactics, the project set up camp on Kickstarter with a $600k goal, which they reached in February of 2014. Since then, backers have been treated to a whirlwind of woe and disaster with every post from developers, Playdek. That is, when Playdek posted at all. There are many months where the company went silent, and until August 1st of this year, there have only been 56 posts. MST3K launched their 11th season revival in November of 2015 and have posted 59 updates (this doesn't include exclusive e-mails direct to backers, and I think I'm sitting at 89 messages) from the beginning until today; if you need a comparison on just how poorly Playdek has been communicating with their backers.

Unsung Story sounded like everything us turn-based, strategy RPG fans wanted. Yasumi Matsuno was designing the story. Akihiko Yoshida and Hitoshi Sakimoto, whom also worked on Tactics, would provide art and music. Tactics has long been praised as the ideal for this type of game, and to have another one on the way with such amazing talent behind the project, it was a lovely dream!

After receiving it's full funding, that's when Playdek's communications with backers began to break down. If you want the full timeline, Kotaku goes into great detail on everything that happened leading up to Kickstarter, and the fallout after. Mostly, Playdek would start out stating that they would be bringing weekly/monthly updates and provide a timeline on when to expect content, and then go silent for several months. We know that developing a game is lengthy, but the game was originally stated for a July 2015 release.

And then the excuses began along with the delays. Month after month of silence, followed-up with an apology post and more set backs. The few screenshots uploaded from the developer look horrific. The mention of PvP only threw more backers into a frenzy. This was suppose to be a single-player gamer - Tactics was not an online game. What was going on at Playdek?

3 years later and no game has emerged.

Until August 1st! The fate of the game has changed. The rights and all current development properties to Unsung Story have been sold to Little Orbit.

The new developer, which currently creates games for multiple system from licensed products such as 'Barbie' and 'Adventure Time,' has already broke the news to backers that they are starting from scratch. They've read through their comments and want to bring Unsung Story to the original game that was promised. Which means starting over! They are also going to try and honor the backer rewards and will send out confirmation e-mails over the next few weeks to verify shipping addresses.

In all this time, not a single refund has been provided. Why? Because Playdek isn't required to do so. No one is on Kickstarter. If you back a project, it's all done in "good faith" that the creator will follow-through. Most do. Some don't. Any and all issues to resolve are between the backer and the creator. Kickstarter has banned businesses that broke TOS, but it doesn't happen often. As long as Kickstarter is given proof that a creator has been attempting to complete a project, they don't have a reason to ban them.

This could be a new, better chapter for Unsung Story. People may finally get the game they backed. But many are still wondering what happened to that $660,126 that went to Playdek. 4 people spent $2,500 that they will never see again. No one at Playdek has provided an outline of where the funds went. While we hope that Little Orbit will do right by the backers, they too have already stated that it's impossible to refund backers - they (Little Orbit) are not seeing a single penny from the Kickstarter.

The saga of Unsung Story will continue to be updated as events unfold.

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