Years After Raising $870,000, Playdek Keeps Breaking Promises To Unsung Story Backers

In early 2014, the company Playdek crowdfunded over $US660,000 ($873,972) to make a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics alongside its creator, Yasumi Matsuno. Two and a half years later, they just can't seem to stop breaking promises. Most Kickstarter backers -- myself included -- have long given up on ever seeing Playdek's game, aptly titled Unsung Story. But it's still unbelievable just how many times the developers have said they were going to do something, then didn't. Here's a quick timeline of backer updates, starting with May of 2015, when Unsung Story started going off the rails.

15 May 2015 - "Development on the game is progressing nicely. As we continue down this path we will finalise a development timeline to share with everyone later this [winter]."

This did not happen. The next update didn't hit until 21 September 2015, and in it, Playdek CEO Joel Goodman said the company had been facing financial difficulties and had to lay off several staff. Goodman laid out a new schedule for Unsung Story that promised a "PvP beta" in June 2016. This was surprising to backers, as the original Kickstarter had said nothing about PvP or even mentioned that the game would have multiplayer. Backers had given their money to Playdek in hopes of getting a Matsuno-led single-player game. Why was Playdek talking about PvP?

After a few incremental updates throughout September -- including a promise that Unsung Story would still have a single-player campaign -- Playdek made another claim:

20 October 2015 - "Next month we will have a more thorough video going over the specifics in combat".

This did not happen. Unsung Story didn't get another update until four months later, on 6 February 2016. In it, Playdek apologised for the lack of updates and said they had run into "development setbacks". Instead of continuing to work on Unsung Story, the company would temporarily switch focus to a different game. "For Unsung Story, we will explore options for outside development help, and will look to see if we are able to bring on an outside team that can assist us in furthering development."

A few weeks later, Playdek posted another update saying they hoped to have a beta ready by spring of this year. They also made another promise:

27 February 2016 - "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."

This did not happen. Playdek instead put out an update in April saying they had ramped up development on Unsung Story:

9 April 2016 - "And so, we want everyone to know that we are close to being on track with our latest development plan, and should have some game specific development updates to start sharing in May. Over the [winter], we'll have new screenshots, videos and art to share, along with game play specific details about our progress on the character and battle systems, and the game world."

This did not happen. There was no update in May, and although winter is well under way, we still have not seen any new screenshots, videos or art from the game. (Our last look at Unsung Story came in October of 2015, and it was very, very rough.) Which brings us to the most recent update...

28 June 2016 - "We have fortunately been able to start getting some agreements in place for outside design assistance on the character classes and mechanics, and we will be able to update you on those specifics later next month... As of now, we estimate to have new art, screenshots and design details to show by September, and we will have another design update for you next month."

This did not happen. It's now August 3, and Playdek has yet to release a new update for Unsung Story. We're over a year past the original estimated release date, and we don't even know if anyone's actually working on the game.

"We know that we have one method of restoring faith in this project, and that is through delivering on a great tactics game, which we intend to do," reads Playdek's June 28 update. Probably not gonna hold my breath on that one.


Comments

    I've given up backing video games on Kickstarter. They either disappear, or suck. Board Games are pretty great though

      Well easiest to know is when check the kickstarter team. If it is by no name developers that was involved in "various big AAA games" then toss out big AAA game names and studios, they are high chances just some part timers that got fired and those project usually never worked out.

      Just to be careful and check out the team properly before diving in.

      Looking at my list of crowdfunded games backed (more than 80), well over half have fallen somewhere between more than enough fun for a few hours through to downright amazing. In fact, my hit rate from crowd funding has been a hell of a lot better than has been the case with the vast majority of my random Steam sale purchases.

      Particularly worthwhile 'investments' of mine have included Shadowrun(s), The Banner Saga, Grim Dawn, Divinity: Original Sin, RimWorld, Factorio (indiegogo), Dragon Fin Soup, Parkitect, Pillars of Eternity, and my personal favourite game of the last several years Rebuild: Gangs of Deadsville. Virtually none of these would exist at all without crowd funding.

      Last edited 03/08/16 10:53 pm

        You were pretty safe with Divinity: Original Sin and Pillars of Eternity - both reputable development studios with heaps of experience.

        yeah, was about to say something about games never work on kickstarter then remembered Pillars of eternity, that game was amazing.

    My mind still boggles on how this is even legal. The ACCC would tear Kickstarter to pieces.

    The only one I've backed is Stasis and that was a great project that was delivered on time. It's always promising if they have a demo in the pitch.

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