Kickstarter JRPG Unsung Story's Beta Delayed to Fall 2016 Through Financial and Development Struggles
Two years ago, Playdek launched a Kickstarter campaign a for a JRPG titled Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians, featuring writing by Yasumi Matsuno, art by Akihiko Yoshida and music by Hitoshi Sakamoto. Due to the names involved, the campaign was received quite positively, and managed to gather $660,126 in pledges.
The game was initially supposed to be released in July 2015, but due to financial and development struggles, PlayDek missed that windows, and the beginning of February, the developer mentioned that a further delay would come.
Today, thanks to an update on the game’s Kickstarter page, we get to know more about what happened and what will happen from now on.
The first playable beta of Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians, featuring only PvP will come this fall, followed by further additions in stages with A.I. offline game play, and then the first story scenario.
Playdek also mentioned that they might consider offering refunds “in some manner” when and if they manage to reach a financial position that would allow it.
You can read the full message below.
“Fortunately we have cleared a few more company hurdles since our last update and have plans to share at this time concerning Unsung Story development. We have new agreements with our secured creditor in place that has enabled us to map out how we will continue progress on the previous development plan we shared. Our secured creditor has been tremendously supportive through our company financial and development struggles, and is a team player in our good faith effort to remain a viable company and fulfill our development commitments and company obligations.
Per the previous update, we have an immediate product to ship that will put the company into a stronger revenue position, and that revenue will allow us to continue the Unsung Story development plan. Before we cover the rest of that, some of you have been asking as to how funding for the project has gone up to this point, as it pertains to what has been developed so far with the money spent. To date, roughly $1,500,000 has been spent on various aspects of Unsung Story development, and the following are development features that are in a working state:
Programming – Game Play Systems
Grid system for turn based architecture; Activation system for character turn order; Character attribute and stats system; Unit movement and action system; Combat actions and reactions; A.I. system and actions; Game play cameras; In-game U.I.; Character jobs and job switching system
GDD; Back story and plot; Historical timeline; Five game episodes – story, plot and scenario; Character schools, lineage and job types; Battle system; Controls (PC and tablet); Interface design
Programming – Online Architecture and Game Engine
Unity graphics engine fully integrated into the Playdek game engine; Particle system; Animation system; Billboard system; Asynchronous turn based system; In-game chat; Player profiles; Friends list; Tournament system; Notification system; Matchmaking
Empire concept art; World map; 3D levels with textures, lighting and effects; Character models, animations and art Prototypes Functional prototypes on PC and iOS have been built.
After a challenging fiscal 2015 that saw our development capacity severely reduced, we have a plan that will enable us to move forward with development, targeting the goals that we previously outlined last year of an initial Beta release with PvP, and then expanding that release with A.I. offline game play, and then subsequently the first story scenario. With a smaller team and diminished finances, we came to a point where those two things combined made creating content assets that would lead to a playable version of the game, that we could deliver to backers, challenging to the say the least. With getting that behind us, the first major goal will be to further advance the prototypes, expanding on at least two class schools, and getting them into a fully playable state that can be released to backers as a first playable. Initially, we were aiming for that to be in June of this year, and with the development delay we just incurred, we are now moving that to Fall of this year, with the additional progress steps following from there. As to the near term plans, we will have the immediate product we are focusing on for revenue released in March, with some of the team refocusing on Unsung Story then and the rest in April. From there, we will work diligently to get the playable PvP beta out for testing, followed with a backer release and then A.I. offline play. As we make this continued progress, we will update you with all that is getting done on the programming, art and design front.
We know that as a backer supported project, our struggles with completing this project have been very trying for you, and we truly wish that development of this game had gone smoother. Unfortunately, there are unexpected financial hardships that companies sometimes find themselves facing, and as difficult as they may be, we are thankful that we have been able to work through them and can keep the company viable and Unsung Story development on track.
Due to the development struggles the project has been under, some have asked as to whether we would offer refunds for those who wish to have them. As a company, we wouldn’t want to hold anyone hostage so to speak to a project that they have lost faith in. This doesn’t help anyone, company or consumer alike. Before the company can consider any issuance of refunds, we need to first get to a position of stronger financial health, where more than just the immediate development costs for Unsung Story can be supported. Through this plan, if we are able to financially get there and can work out the support with our secured creditor, then we would certainly consider offering refunds in some manner, with that still to be determined. For now, we have the finances to continue development, and so will focus on what we can do, and get to that first playable state that can be put into backers hands.
We will do our best to try and answer any follow up questions you may have, and will update you again when our product release is done in March. Thanks again for your long suffering support of this project, and we are going to do everything we can as a company to make a wonderful game that hopefully we will all enjoy for many years to come. “
While the news aren’t entirely positive, at least the game seems to be still coming, and a bit of light appears to be visible at the end of the tunnel. As a backer of the game myself, I definitely understand those who are frustrated, but for now, all we can do is waiting.