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Unsung Story delayed to 2016 after developer hit with 'financial crunch'

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Tactical role-playing game Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians, the Kickstarter-funded game from Playdek and game designer Yasumi Matsuno, has been delayed to 2016, according to an update from Playdek CEO Joel Goodman. Also, to the surprise of many backers of Unsung Story, the game also now features a PVP multiplayer element as a major feature.

Playdek said in a backer update posted to Kickstarter that Unsung Story has been delayed to 2016 due to a variety of factors, including layoffs at the Carlsbad, California-based company.

"Earlier in the year, Playdek went through a financial crunch that caused us to reduce some key staff," Goodman wrote of the game's continued development issues. "Some positions were focused on technical components to the engine being used for Unsung, and a few were content development staff who worked on all of our products. Needless to say, these were great people, and it was not only an unexpected loss, but one that we clearly had to adjust to, with product other than Unsung that was still on our schedule to deliver, let alone continue steadfast on Unsung development."

In the Kickstarter update — the first in four months — Goodman said development on Unsung Story "has been going more slowly than we anticipated," but that some aspects of Unsung Story development have progressed. According to the recent update, these include:

  • Online backend gaming system for PVP, including matchmaking, rankings, tournament system, create game system, friends lists and chat
  • World story, scenarios and stages for the first five episodes
  • Game design, including character school system and battle system
  • Unity integration with our core engine for 3D graphics
  • Concepts for world locations
  • PVP arenas with grid system, battle system and UI integrated
  • Online PVP gameplay

While Unsung Story was originally estimated for release in July 2015, it appears the game's beta — which focuses on testing PVP modes — won't ship until June 2016. According to Goodman's post, Unsung Story's beta is expected to run through October 2016, and it's not clear when the game will actually be released.

Details on Unsung Story's multiplayer PVP-focused battles appears to have caught many backers on Kickstarter by surprise. Originally pitched as a tactical RPG designed by Matsuno — best known for Final Fantasy 12, Vagrant Story and the Tactics Ogre series — many backers have expressed their displeasure with news of PVP in the update's comments. Playdek responded to those concerns in a comment of its own.

"We do apologize that this seems to be more out of left field for most of you as a PVP aspect has been in the plan from the start, however the PVP mode will not diminish the single player experience and will hopefully add a new dimension to the game, one that you will enjoy," Playdek said. "The main focus for Unsung Story is going to be the rich and diverse world of Rasfalia as planned and presented, with this PVP mode hopefully adding more to your play experience."

Unsung Story was originally announced at Tokyo Game Show in 2013. The game's Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign launch in January 2014, through which Playdek raised $660,000 to fund the game's development. Backers complained about a lack of updates as development progressed, with months-long periods of silence from Playdek on the status of the game.

Playdek plans to bring Unsung Story to Android and iOS platforms, as well as Linux, Mac and Windows PC.

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