Since taking over development of troubled Final Fantasy Tactics successor Unsung Story from Playdek, new developer Little Orbit has been working hard to reassure backers and show how they're putting the game back on track. In previous updates Little Orbit have complained about mismanagement by original developer Playdek of Unsung Story's development, but in the most recent update they go into detail on just how far Playdek got from the game people actually wanted. In short, they've been subtle before, but this time they completely throw Playdek under the bus.
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Everything we have on Unsung Story!
You can read the full Kickstarter update here. They detail design notes from Yasumi Matsuno, creator of Final Fantasy Tactics, and while admitting that his original design was for a more straightforward mobile game when the Kickstarter happened that was expanded to become a bigger strategy-RPG like FFT.
Unfortunately they then list and detail all the ways that Playdek botched this and how far they drifted from Matsuno's design. Here's the shortened list:
- 1. PLAYDEK’S WORLD LACKS MANY OF MATSUNO’S IDEAS - Matsuno designed a fantasy game, inspired by historical events but definitely featuring fantasy elements such as dragons. Playdek ignored this.
- 2. PLAYDEK’S LINEAGE, CLASS, AND PROFESSION SYSTEM IS OVERLY COMPLEX - Little Orbit have apparently spent some time "deciphering" Playdek's design notes regarding Jobs and Classes, before concluding "There is very little if any actual design around classes, abilities, or progression." They give a great diagram to illustrate Playdek's ridiculously complicated approach:
- 3. MAGIC IS NOT DESIGNED - Straightforward here: Playdek put little effort into actually designing how any Magic worked, and the little they did is, once again, ridiculously overcomplicated. Here's the example they gave:
"Playdek has a completed spell design for the Priest class, which is 1 of 30 proposed classes. This design proposes 48 spells across 6 levels for the Priest class. We compared this with the White Mage from Final Fantasy Tactics who gets 9 unique spells with several upgrades for a total of 16 spells. No other work beyond the Priest was ever completed, and none of the spells were ever incorporated into the narrative of the game." Pathetic.
Little Orbit have given themselves two goals: "Define The Magic System Better" and "Simplify The Classes". For the Magic, Little Orbit go into detail on how Magic came to be in their world and how spells fall into four categories: Nature, Science, Divine and Mana. They add, "Unsung Story takes place in a world that can be reshaped with magic. That’s a powerful statement that implies all sorts of things, and one that we've fully incorporated into the story."
As for Classes, they're ditching Playdek's complicated efforts and gone with 3 roles: Attackers, Defenders, and Support (Damage, Tank, Buff) with a total of 24 classes divided over the four Magic schools (above).
There's more detail on the game's story if you want to see it on the forum, but there are minor thematic spoilers there.
We've no idea when Unsung Story will be out as Little Orbit aren't just starting from scratch, they're also getting through Playdek's mismanagement too. At least they're not afraid to say "look, Playdek didn't know what they were doing, here's how we're correcting what they were doing."