One of the most infamous games in Kickstarter history has something approaching a release date. After more than six years, a change of developers and too many twists and turns to count, Unsung Story is coming to Steam early access on December 17th. Along with fellow tactical RPG Project Phoenix, Unsung Story is one of those Kickstarter horror stories highlighting how awry game development can go, particularly when crowdfunding is involved.
Unsung Story was announced in 2014 by boardgame company Playdek. The publisher pitched the game essentially as a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics. Legendary Japanese game designer Yasumi Matsuno, the director and writer of Final Fantasy Tactics (as well as Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy 12), would be involved in the project, Playdek said at the time.
On the back of Matsuno’s name, Unsung Story raised $660,126 through Kickstarter with help from nearly 16,000 backers. Though the first half of 2014, it seemed like the development team was making good progress on the game. And then there were frequent and extended periods where Playdek didn’t share any updates. Those were punctuated by mixed messaging from the company.
Playdek’s shady behavior then all culminated in 2017. After eight months of radio silence, the company announced it was abandoning the project. A new developer and publisher called Little Orbit, best known for making licensed games based on properties like Barbie and Kung Fu Panda, was stepping in to take over. Little Orbit claims it didn’t get any of the Kickstarter money Playdek raised and that it had to start work on the game from scratch.
Over the next few days, the studio says it will email a Steam Key to everyone who backed the project. Little Orbit hopes to eventually port Unsung Story to other platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. Whether the game will live up to anyone’s expectations at this point is hard to say, but the fact it’s finally making its way to people is more than anyone could have foreseen back in 2017.