Unsung Story, the Kickstarted strategy RPG developed by Playdek with help from Final Fantasy Tactics creator Yasumi Matsuno, has been handed to developer/publisher Little Orbit who will start the game "from scratch".
The game has been something of a disaster, originally pitched as a single-player offline spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics before changing into some sort of online 1v1 card-battler, and when backers were undoubtedly upset the project went on hiatus in February 2016 and hasn't really been seen since. Now Playdek will no longer be involved.
Playdek wrote in a Kickstarter update this morning, presumably their last:
"Thank you for the support you have shown to make this project happen. Through the trials we have had as a company over the last few years, Playdek has strived to keep the project alive, as we believe in the game and the story that Yasumi Matsuno designed to set it in. To that, we want to let you know that the project is going to continue forward, but our involvement is coming to an end... though we are sorry that we were unable to complete it for you, we believe the project is in good hands, with people who have the same passion for the game."
Backers were not impressed. We advise caution before heading into the comments of that post.
New developer Little Orbit followed up with their own post and had this to say:
"Inevitably many of you will google us, and you may have your doubts - which is okay. This project has struggled. But give us a little time, and hopefully we'll surprise you. I am a gamer at heart, and my first love has always been turn-based tactics games. I met the Playdek team a couple months ago and got a firsthand look at the amazing work from Yasumi Matsuno. Simply put, this game needs to exist, so I am excited to be taking this project over and helping deliver it to the community."
That Google history Little Orbit refers to shows that they are primarily focused on licensed properties, with games such as Young Justice: Legacy, Monster High: New Ghoul in School, Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends, and Barbie and Her Sisters: Puppy Rescue. Not the most stellar line-up, and none show that they're capable of creating a tactics RPG.
Little Orbit does go on to say that Kickstarter backers will receive all their rewards, but did admit:
"Little Orbit is starting from scratch. We have spent hours going through the Kickstarter comments and researching all of the project materials, and I feel the backers have made one thing clear – we need to focus on the original single player game and Matsuno’s design that was promoted during the campaign. And that is exactly what we are going to do. At this point, our primary goal is to separate the years of modifications and changes that were made while Playdek attempted to deliver something to their backers."
In short, everything Playdek ever did on Unsung Story is being canned because what they were doing bore little relation to the game they advertised. While Kickstarter is not a promise and games are the results of hard work and can go wrong, it's hard not to see Unsung Story as anything but a mismanaged disaster. Hopefully Little Orbit will be able to turn things around.