The story of Unsung Story (no pun intended) is quite painful for fans of the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. Announced in 2014 promising a grand return of Final Fantasy Tactics creator Yasumi Matsuno in 2015, the project was largely mismanaged by Playdek until Little Orbit stepped in to try and salvage the agonizing project last year.
Luckily, it seems that there may still be a happy ending to this whole mess, as Little Orbit has gone to work following Matsuno-san’s original design, and despite having to start from scratch to remove Playdek’s influence, progress is being shown.
In a Kickstarter update released today, Little Orbit Founder and CEO Matthew Scott announced that pre-production will end in April, which signifies a major development milestone. With the exception of art, everything is now “fairly well mapped out.” The art side is progressing more slowly, and the developer is going to keep working on concepts until they’re spot-on. In fact, the screenshots that you’ll see at the bottom of the post showcase only gameplay, with placeholder assets.
A Twitch stream showing the current build will happen later this month, alongside the first developer blog about the game.
The development team has completed the second draft of the design document, which is over 100-pages long. All of the twenty classes have been created, named, assigned skills and roles. Classes are split into four schools, Technology, Mana, Divine, and Nature. The initial class tree and progression has also been mapped.
So, without further ado, we get to take a look at the classes themselves:
- Sellsword: Mercenaries unbound by specialty, Sellswords are useful in several areas, but are masters of none. This is one of two beginning classes, along with the Physician. The Sellsword is used to teach players a few basic mechanics for melee combat, but also touches on some more metagame functionality such as boosts. They use Short Swords & Shields.
- Physician: The player begins the game with the Physician unlocked, but it serves to teach them more advanced mechanics, such as ranged attacks, the use of items and cross-class abilities. Even though they start off weak, Physicians are capable of combining their items to create new effects. This becomes especially important in the late-game, where advanced items can only be created by combining two lesser items. They use Slings.
- Guardian: Guardians stay at the front of combat, defending key choke points and fortifying their allies from harm. Stalwart warriors that protect those they deem worth protecting (which, incidentally, can include themselves). They use Long Swords and Shields .
- Archer: Archers are a simple but effective long-range attacker, capable of striking distant foes with ease. The backbone of any successful army. Archers are able to fire further from high ground, which allows them to out-range opposing Archers. This means the ideal situation for a Archer is to be on high ground, with friendly units fortifying them from melee enemies. They use Longbows.
- Plague Weaver: These guys represent a power that humans would sooner choose to forget—rot, disease and decay. They are all about debuffing the opponent’s entire team from anywhere on the map. These debuffs are typically less likely to hit than one that’s focus-cast on a single target, but the added benefit of affecting multiple enemies at once can alleviate the risk.
- Elementalist: Elementalists focus on magical power in its most pure and destructive form. They deal lots of damage to single-targets. They use Staves.
- Sharpshooter: The Sharpshooter sports a unique tool—known as the Infusion Rifle. They use nearby tiles to infuse their rifle and fire bullets with specific effects.
- Necromancer: Necromancers are masters of death, of others and of themselves. They utilize corpses and debuffs. Necromancers can regain Health and Focus from enemy corpses, make them explode and even raise them as minions. They use Scythes.
- Spellbreaker: Spellbreakers are powerful anti-magic tanks, capable of absorbing magical damage. They should be paired up to protect allies that are vulnerable to magic attacks, or used to hunt down enemy magic users to end them quickly. They use Two-Handed Maces.
- Cavalier: The Cavalier is a “civilized” tank class who focuses on avoiding damage. The rapiers they wield have naturally high weapon evasion stats, allowing them to easily parry incoming blows. They also have some options for moving other units around the battlefield. They use Rapiers.
- Scout: The Scout infiltrates enemy lines, sneaking up on a vulnerable backline enemy and finishing them off before the enemy team can react. They’re also capable of stealing equipment, which makes them essential versus powerful units, such as some bosses. Stealing isn’t easy, but results in not only disarming the opponent, but giving the stolen equipment to the player’s party. They use Daggers.
- Priest: Priests are zealous wielders of healing magic, able to appreciate the value of life and taking measures to ensure it is preserved. They are backline support casters, keeping their allies healed through combat. They use Rods.
- Berserker: Powerful—and possibly insane—the Berserker is a powerhouse in melee combat. They lose their wits as readily as they take lives, so must be guided with a cautious hand. They like to get up close and personal, taking heavy hits and dealing them in return. The Berserker focuses on buffing himself, then using special abilities that benefit from those buffs to deal damage, debilitate foes and keep himself alive. They use One-Handed Axes.
- Wildlord: Wildlords are capable of learning the abilities of monsters they encounter and wielding these strange powers to great effect. They focuse on using Monster Skills, which means they have a great variety of skills to use in combat. However, they lack a specific tactical focus, instead serving to fill in holes in the team. They use Glaives.
- Saboteur: These guys should rush ahead of their team, place as many traps as possible and then retreating to safety. Once behind allied lines, they can pelt the enemy team with bombs, dealing decent ranged damage in an area. They use Hand Bombs.
- Shadow: Shadows are the unspoken and unseen hand of fate. They operate by inflicting themselves with status effects, then passing them on to foes and finishing them off with Killing Blow. They use a Sickle and Chain.
- Disciple: A Disciple is able to fight at close range, keeping his allies alive while dealing respectable damage. They have unusual ranges for all of their abilities, and are able to attack two squares away. They use Bo Staves.
- Echo Knight: Echo Knights wield an unusual and incongruous power, warping the very fabric of space around themselves and their foes. They are able to move around the battlefield quickly and easily, ensuring they reach the best possible position to hold the enemy back. They use Two-Handed Swords.
- Sword Speaker: These guys unite the arts of swordplay and spellcraft. Sword Speakers practice with all swords and have the ability to summon a magic version of any blade they have previously mastered.
- Librarian: The Librarian focuses on speeding up the player team and slowing down the enemy team, allowing players to perform devastating attacks with much less risk of missing. If you’ve been following our forum updates, then you’ll know Librarians are part of the lore and are part of the core storyline. They use Tomes.
The development team has also worked on how stats are calculated under the hood, and how level progression influences them. Numbers might change during development, but the equations should be close to final. Below you can read a list of those stats:
- Strength: determines physical damage with most weapons.
- Intelligence: determines the power of most abilities and some weapons.
- Speed: determines how frequently a unit acts.
- Agility: partially determines evasion rates and partially determines the damage of Agility Weapons.
- Health: determines how much damage a character can take before they’re killed.
- Focus: determines how many spells a character can cast before needing to restore their Focus (our version of magic power).
- Natural Strength: a character’s starting strength based on several factors.
- Natural Intelligence: a character’s starting intelligence based on several factors.
Some work has been done on recruitment, with permadeath in mind (excluding story characters). Each recruitable unit will look different thanks to randomly-generated appearance.
Bubble maps for all levels have been designed, identifying the location, story character requirements, and primary objectives. Grey box layouts for each map are being worked on, which will facilitate playtesting.
For the sake of full disclosure, I, like many others, have backed this project back in 2014. While it’s natural to retain a level of skepticism, it’s obvious to me that Little Orbit is doing what it can to fulfill a promise made by others, with is nothing short of praiseworthy. Hopefully, they will be successful.