Unsung Story Raises Ruckus With PvP That Kickstarter Backers Don't Want

Unsung Story Raises Ruckus With PvP That Kickstarter Backers Don't Want

Unsung Story

Spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics may not be much of a spiritual successor after all.

Amid delays and some vague updates, Unsung Story has been mired in uncertainty since it raised more than $660,000 in it's Kickstarter campaign in January 2014. Developer Playdek had promised the 15,000+ backers a "a spiritual successor in a storied line of epic tactical RPGs designed by Yasumi Matsuno," creator of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. What they will be getting, according to the latest update to backers, may not be close.

The update on the Kickstarter site from playdek CEO Joel Goodman, said the game was being delayed to late 2016 because of a "financial crunch" resulting in layoffs, as well as interest from outside investors. While that is status quo these days for many Kickstarter projects, the part of the update that has some backers up in arms is what appears to be new PvP addition to the game. Goodman said in his update that a four-stage rollout of PvP, something backers apparently don't want, and was never part of the original FFT.

"The PvP focus is not a sudden switch, but more importantly to the backers, it does not impact the single player campaign mode as far as content and depth," Goodman told Kotaku. "The best way to ensure that the campaigns have balanced scenarios with good A.I. is to gather play testing data from online players in head to head matches, and then polish the game with that feedback... Due to the lack of consistent updates the backers did not know that this has been our internal development approach, but the idea that online game play was going to be in the game was covered in the KS video, as well as subsequent updates. It is a bonus to the single-player story experience."

The update prompted numerous calls for refunds, but Goodman avoided the Kotaku question on the subject, saying only "We are delivering the game and rewards that the backers are entitled to."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but this could very well be another in a growing line of Kickstarter disasters in the video game space.

Source: Kotaku

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Wow didnt know this existed but would have backed it in a heart beat (love FFT) but glad I didnt. I feel like too many games focus way to much on multiplayer when its really not necessary. I get that they say it will help the AI but I think there is a better method that wont bloat out this game with an unwanted feature.

Oh boo hoo. They're not taking away from the game - just adding new features. Sounds like the backers are a bunch of crybabys.

Honestly, I'm kind of baffled as to what kind of person dosen't want a multiplayer mode in a FF:Tactics successor...

Not only is it a natural fit for a game composed primarily of what is already effectively PvP skirmishes against an AI, it also adds nearly infinite replay value.

Hell, for a lot of those people, it was probably the one component missing in the originals.
It was one of the features that had me back the project.

chocolate pickles:
Oh boo hoo. They're not taking away from the game - just adding new features. Sounds like the backers are a bunch of crybabys.

But at the same time is " was being delayed to late 2016 because of a "financial crunch" resulting in layoffs". It's not an irrational stance for backers to go "well maybe you would have better finances if you stopped wasting our money on developing features we never wanted".

Right, I'm slightly worried now. I was wondering why I hadn't seen that many updates for it.

PVP sounds nice though, don't really understand why people are crying about that.

Naqel:
Honestly, I'm kind of baffled as to what kind of person dosen't want a multiplayer mode in a FF:Tactics successor...

Not only is it a natural fit for a game composed primarily of what is already effectively PvP skirmishes against an AI, it also adds nearly infinite replay value.

Hell, for a lot of those people, it was probably the one component missing in the originals.
It was one of the features that had me back the project.

It just doesn't feel right.

It was never a serious feature in any SRPG I've ever played. I remember it the GBA Fire Emblem titles, but it was little more than an afterthought.

I would prefer to see them spend the time and effort they put into mulitplayer towards more polish.

Ushiromiya Battler:
Right, I'm slightly worried now. I was wondering why I hadn't seen that many updates for it.

PVP sounds nice though, don't really understand why people are crying about that.

They're already openly stating they're out of money, the game is being delayed, and they're talking about introducing online, PVP elements that were not part of the original presentation. In other words, they're putting resources they don't have towards features the people who funded the game don't want. How is this hard to understand?

Sounds like a diversion to me. "People are just upset over the fact we are adding other features. It's part of our vision for it. No other reasons here!"

SlumlordThanatos:

It was never a serious feature in any SRPG I've ever played. I remember it the GBA Fire Emblem titles, but it was little more than an afterthought.

But it's a tactics game, though. Tactical games are awesome for PvP.

I would prefer to see them spend the time and effort they put into mulitplayer towards more polish.

Just what the hell is "Polish[/i] anyway, in a game?

I just want the game not to be broken as the original FFT was. Blade grasp anyone?

Rosiv:
I just want the game not to be broken as the original FFT was. Blade grasp anyone?

You know what? I was displeased about them having multiplayer at first. The thought of competing against meticulously crafted teams that have been made for the sole purpose of being as powerful as can be to wreak any other player who hasn't learnt all the best ways to do things sounds very unappealing, like in Pokemon tournaments, you can't win with the team you adventure with.

But remembering that these games tend to have combos and abilities that can make 1 class the best class because it's immensely imbalanced when you unlock all the pieces, well, if they are actually using PvP to determine balance then hopefully there won't be any horrendously overpowered ability combos.

Rosiv:
I just want the game not to be broken as the original FFT was. Blade grasp anyone?

Oh God, Blade Grasp. That bug trivialized the entire game.

Or it would have, if not for T.G. Cid already doing so. Or Meliadoul, Beowoulf, and Worker 8. Or Knight Swords.
Or any party comprising a Bard using speed up and a Dancer using speed down. Or a mathematician set to auto-battle alongside a Mime.

...So yeah, broken beyond belief.

If you want something that improved upon FFT, try Tactics Ogre. Better in basically every way.

Wiggum Esquilax:
If you want something that improved upon FFT, try Tactics Ogre. Better in basically every way.

Any particular game you would recommend? How does it improve upon FFT?

Wiggum Esquilax:
Or it would have, if not for T.G. Cid already doing so. Or Meliadoul, Beowoulf, and Worker 8. Or Knight Swords.
Or any party comprising a Bard using speed up and a Dancer using speed down. Or a mathematician set to auto-battle alongside a Mime.

That's what I was going to point out: FFT, while I still say it's my favorite game that has the words Final Fantasy in the title, was incredibly easy to break in a number of different ways. One of my favorite ways was having a monk with Two Swords and Blade Grasp...just kill the crap out of everything while being nigh indestructible.

Wow...can't say I've ever seen this one....Captcha: "ermahgerd, capcher"

Lotet:

Wiggum Esquilax:
If you want something that improved upon FFT, try Tactics Ogre. Better in basically every way.

Any particular game you would recommend? How does it improve upon FFT?

I have Tactics Ogre for the PS1, after being a huge fan of Ogre Battle on the SNES. I forget exactly what the deal was but technically Tactics Ogre came out first and FF Tactics borrowed heavily from it. It's been forever since I played them but the differences I recall is that TO had a more rigid & less fun class system than FFT, but you went to battle with 12 units instead of six & battle was less forgiving, the story was more brutal and had distinct branching paths.

I don't think there's many different versions... there's the original that came out on the Famicon(?) and PSone, a GBA version that was a bit lighter, and more recently they redid the original with a few gameplay tweaks (ex: you level up unit classes instead of individual characters).

though it's still not as much of a clusterfuck development as FFXII was. At least this hasn't caused Matsuno to have a nervous breakdown.

Lotet:

Wiggum Esquilax:
If you want something that improved upon FFT, try Tactics Ogre. Better in basically every way.

Any particular game you would recommend? How does it improve upon FFT?

"Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together" for the PSP.

Tactics Ogre and FFT were originally made by the same people, and only a couple of years apart. Most models of Tactics Ogre haven't actually aged all that well.

Then there's the PSP game. Remade from the ground up, full of modern amenities and rewritten music, it's by far the best version.

Relatively well balanced classes. Dramatically branching plotlines. Brilliant translation to English, complete with subtlety and humor. Larger maps with up to 10 characters and 3 guests in a battle party makes combat more tactical IMHO.

Characters don't level up, the classes themselves do. A friendly's corpse can be morbidly and confusingly scavenged of it's skills. Your units have 3 lives. All these combine to make a character's death less of a need to reset the game, lest you suffer grinding again from level 1.

The game actually allows you to rewind a battle by up to 50 moves, again to avoid forcing a reset.

Substantial post-endgame content. Includes both additional stages and the ability to play the branching paths, using both your existing party and anyone you might recruit while exploring these other directions. Makes it so that you don't have to replay the entire game to see all available content.

A few quibbles.

-A lot of abilities tend to be class-specific, limiting customization within your party. Not necessarily a bad thing, this limits min-maxing.
-Casting spells takes several seconds, which some people find to be insufferable. They're slightly more time consuming than most of FFT's magic, but nowhere near what the summons and other big spectacles ask of your patience.
-A significant deal of power creep can be garnered by having the better weapons and armor. Not so different from FFT, mind you.

One big problem though, the crafting.

The crafting system is god-awful, and fortunately unnecessary early on because of the store. Later can be supplemented by stealing, or just recruiting enemies for their equipment before firing them.
Crafting requires that you craft not only finished goods, but often also the component reagents. Combine that with a chance to fail crafting, a chance which compares the power of the crafted item to the party's stats. A single bar of wootz steel has 37 (thirty-seven) steps, each with a chance that may be below 100%!

Despite the crafting (ugh), this is one of the best games I've ever known. Politics, personality, combat, art, and heart, none of them getting in each other's way.

Lotet:

Wiggum Esquilax:
If you want something that improved upon FFT, try Tactics Ogre. Better in basically every way.

Any particular game you would recommend? How does it improve upon FFT?

How about Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the GBA? I thought that was pretty good.

Morti:

chocolate pickles:
Oh boo hoo. They're not taking away from the game - just adding new features. Sounds like the backers are a bunch of crybabys.

But at the same time is " was being delayed to late 2016 because of a "financial crunch" resulting in layoffs". It's not an irrational stance for backers to go "well maybe you would have better finances if you stopped wasting our money on developing features we never wanted".

It kind of is if that stance comes from a belief that they have any rights whatsoever to dictate development. What they did or didn't ever want has no bearing on what gets made.

Oh damn here it goes again, running out of cash, delays, odd cheap version of the actual game being made...
I would want my money back quickly.

"But they said it's only an addition"... buddy you must be from fantasy land, out in the real world you don't get to add shit when the money runs out, what devs do is finalize some content so they can't get sued for delivering nothing.
But yes in the land of make believe this news means the game will get at least twice as good as promised.

SlumlordThanatos:
I would prefer to see them spend the time and effort they put into mulitplayer towards more polish.

Which if you read the kickstarter update is exactly what the PvP first approach is meant to do.

They already have a chunk of the game written, and the writers aren't exactly going to benefit much from seeing prototypes of their work(which they might have to later re-write).
Testing the gameplay in the most competitive fashion possible: human on human where everyone should have a fair shot at victory, is the absolute best when it comes to polishing core gameplay.

RandV80:
I have Tactics Ogre for the PS1, after being a huge fan of Ogre Battle on the SNES. I forget exactly what the deal was but technically Tactics Ogre came out first and FF Tactics borrowed heavily from it. It's been forever since I played them but the differences I recall is that TO had a more rigid & less fun class system than FFT, but you went to battle with 12 units instead of six & battle was less forgiving, the story was more brutal and had distinct branching paths.

Corey Schaff:
How about Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the GBA? I thought that was pretty good.

Wiggum Esquilax:
"Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together" for the PSP.

Aren't Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced and Tactics Ogre Let Us Cling Together both remakes?

I've enjoyed both... for a while. Tactics Ogre I stopped early, about Lv4, when fighting a Necromancer and his undead, the horrible amount of misses against the Necromancer as the undead came back to life, I was real annoyed and finally quit when the zombie completely blocked my path with their inanimate corpses. Plus reading about the weird level scaling put me off.

FFTA I stopped when a quest with a really annoying law, a single fighter immune to the law who had some other annoying ability that made it hard to fight when combined with the law. Too much frustration.

I might give them both another try but this time with a wiki to figure out how to unlock classes, items, abilities and stuff like that. It's real frustrating not knowing such basic knowledge. Or maybe the knowledge was right in the game and I just didn't know where to find it.

WTF? I haven't touched my PSP in ages and now it's battery has popped out and is bloated to being like 30% thicker, it won't fit back in. The battery is all squishy... well, guess I'm not playing Tactics Ogre...

SecondPrize:

Morti:

chocolate pickles:
Oh boo hoo. They're not taking away from the game - just adding new features. Sounds like the backers are a bunch of crybabys.

But at the same time is " was being delayed to late 2016 because of a "financial crunch" resulting in layoffs". It's not an irrational stance for backers to go "well maybe you would have better finances if you stopped wasting our money on developing features we never wanted".

It kind of is if that stance comes from a belief that they have any rights whatsoever to dictate development. What they did or didn't ever want has no bearing on what gets made.

But they do to a certain extent, they are investors, at the very least they should have the right to say "this is no longer the same project that I originally backed, I want my money back."

FFTA isn't a remake.

I'm a backer, but this kind of stuff isn't really that frustrating. Development is going to take years at the best of times, and with kickstarter, it's always you gambling on what you want to see made. If anything, I'm just annoyed at their lack of updates. On the other hand, I think something like Might No. 9's number of updates were too much and opted out. I guess what I really want is for the developers to clearly tell me that they are working on it once in a while.

Continuing something I mentioned earlier about competitive PvP, I hope they don't make it too annoying to min/max or even just make a not terrible build. It's annoying that these games have imbalanced growths between classes. Sure, maybe a Paladin should be stronger than a Soldier but that causes a big power gap between a Soldier that changes to a Paladin at Lv30 or Lv8 then both level to 99. I'd like it if they let you unlevel bad levels or just do what Bravely Default does and give you set stats for each class on each level, no stat transferal. Though Bravely Default also has different growth between individual characters so their stats aren't exactly the same when they're all of the same class, though any character can still do any job effectively.

Scow2:

[quote]
Just what the hell is "Polish[/i] anyway, in a game?

Depends on the game, but there are some universal forms of polish, like making sure the game has no bugs, inserting easter eggs or other unique responses for when a player does something unexpected, making sure everything animates smoothly without any glitches (if the game has animation), creating a full and functional options menu, adding a variety of soundtracks and placing them appropriately...

There are others, but the thing to remember is that a game is created from scratch using lines of code and the smallest touches that can seem trivial can take a long time to program. Polish is what makes you see a game as a game, rather than the sum of a bunch of command lines.

Naqel:
Which if you read the kickstarter update is exactly what the PvP first approach is meant to do.

They already have a chunk of the game written, and the writers aren't exactly going to benefit much from seeing prototypes of their work(which they might have to later re-write).
Testing the gameplay in the most competitive fashion possible: human on human where everyone should have a fair shot at victory, is the absolute best when it comes to polishing core gameplay.

I suppose there's some merit in that. I still fondly remember breaking Final Fantasy Tactics Advance with my Concentration Assassin dealing instant death to almost everything, or my Doublecast Summoner with Turbo MP laying waste to huge chunks of the battlefield.

The trick is to make a character feel broken when they really aren't. Maybe this will help the creators get it right.

Lotet:

I've enjoyed both... for a while. Tactics Ogre I stopped early, about Lv4, when fighting a Necromancer and his undead, the horrible amount of misses against the Necromancer as the undead came back to life, I was real annoyed and finally quit when the zombie completely blocked my path with their inanimate corpses. Plus reading about the weird level scaling put me off.

I might give them both another try but this time with a wiki to figure out how to unlock classes, items, abilities and stuff like that. It's real frustrating not knowing such basic knowledge. Or maybe the knowledge was right in the game and I just didn't know where to find it.

WTF? I haven't touched my PSP in ages and now it's battery has popped out and is bloated to being like 30% thicker, it won't fit back in. The battery is all squishy... well, guess I'm not playing Tactics Ogre...

That battle against Nybeth is entirely optional, you could have gone back to the starting area and continued from there, though you'd have missed out from doing so. More usefully, fighting random battles levels you up, but doesn't level up scripted battle enemies. This game's balanced around fighting random encounters while travelling. If your party was all still level 4, then you'd probably only fought 1 random battle at that point, assuming you fought any at all.

His minions will keep coming back, and if you exorcise them he'll summon new ones. Best bet is to lead the charge with a level 5 Knight that's learned healing magic, while your flier flanks on the right.

There's an in-game guide detailing the various game mechanics. On the map screen, go Warren Report > Play Guide.

You can buy new (used) PSP batteries. Just make sure you get the right type, PSP batteries in a PSP slim don't allow you to close the battery compartment door. Or if you got the Vita to play it on, Tactics Ogre is available on the Playstation online marketplace for 20$. Just make sure you get Let Us Cling Together, not the PS1 version.

chocolate pickles:
Oh boo hoo. They're not taking away from the game - just adding new features. Sounds like the backers are a bunch of crybabys.

I'm not a backer, FFT was pretty dec, but I don't care if we get another clone of it, but I know software development. If they are making cutbacks, development will slow down. If they add in new major features development of what was promised will grind to a halt. Lastly, the backers thought single player was the primary focus, but if multiplayer is going to be used to polish the single player then single player won't be 'finished' until after release, so it clearly is no longer the focus. Over time single player may be stronger as a result, but after a delayed release, single still needs to wait for enough multilayer based feedback/data to inform a new design, then the code refactored to the new design, that product to be qa'd, then finally released, oh but wait that all now has to contend with fixing the usual bugs found after release, AND all the bugs discovered for the other half of the game that the investors didn't care about to begin with.

Long story short, single player will be half finished at release, a few token improvements will be made, but no way will it ever fulfill it's promise to the investors. Using traditional funding, this company would be sued into the dirt.

smv1172:

chocolate pickles:
Oh boo hoo. They're not taking away from the game - just adding new features. Sounds like the backers are a bunch of crybabys.

I'm not a backer, FFT was pretty dec, but I don't care if we get another clone of it, but I know software development. If they are making cutbacks, development will slow down. If they add in new major features development of what was promised will grind to a halt. Lastly, the backers thought single player was the primary focus, but if multiplayer is going to be used to polish the single player then single player won't be 'finished' until after release, so it clearly is no longer the focus. Over time single player may be stronger as a result, but after a delayed release, single still needs to wait for enough multilayer based feedback/data to inform a new design, then the code refactored to the new design, that product to be qa'd, then finally released, oh but wait that all now has to contend with fixing the usual bugs found after release, AND all the bugs discovered for the other half of the game that the investors didn't care about to begin with.

Long story short, single player will be half finished at release, a few token improvements will be made, but no way will it ever fulfill it's promise to the investors. Using traditional funding, this company would be sued into the dirt.

Except of course if they release it as an Early Access title with mostly the multiplayer, wait for one and a half years and then release it with an end-chapter. Or they playtest it properly, super expensively, like back in the days iirc.

As a backer my instinct is to shrug, sigh and figure that if they ran out of money and require new investors to go forward i guess they have to follow the desires of the new investors. Yes, its exactly what kickstarter was supposed to avoid but if its the choice of not getting the game or getting the game with nothing (apparently) taken away and some stuff i'm pretty meh about added it becomes a pretty easy choice.

In other words "This too shall pass"

Morti:

SecondPrize:

Morti:

But at the same time is " was being delayed to late 2016 because of a "financial crunch" resulting in layoffs". It's not an irrational stance for backers to go "well maybe you would have better finances if you stopped wasting our money on developing features we never wanted".

It kind of is if that stance comes from a belief that they have any rights whatsoever to dictate development. What they did or didn't ever want has no bearing on what gets made.

But they do to a certain extent, they are investors, at the very least they should have the right to say "this is no longer the same project that I originally backed, I want my money back."

You're not an investor with kickstarter. You're pre-preordering and every bit of legal language present when setting up an account or funding a project makes very clear that the people putting on the projects have no obligations to you beyond meeting the product and stretch goals to the level you funded.

 

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