By Nathan Grayson on January 15th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.
So, The Banner Saga. It’s pretty neat, huh? Well, contrary to popular belief, it didn’t invent grids, tactics, or even the concept of turns. I know, right? But, in a rather timely turn of events, one of the genre’s most well-known progenitors resurfaced today. Yasumi Matsuno was instrumental in popularizing the Japanese side of the turn-based tactical equation with console hits like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics, and now he’s looking to do it again after more traditional role-players like Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII. Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians doesn’t really have much meat on its bones yet, but it at least sounds like its headed in the right direction. Also, it’s had such a huge mountain of money already dropped on it that I fear for the lives (though certainly not the livelihood) of its developers.
Matsuno is teaming with Playdek, who I had never heard of in my entire life until today. However, it turns out that the developer is best-known for adapting tabletop hits like Lords of Waterdeep, Agricola, and Ascension to mobile platforms, so that’s something. Naturally, Unsung Heroes will be coming to iOS and Android in addition to PC, and that’s… something else.
The game itself does sound pretty nifty, though. Here’s a quick rundown:
“Unsung Story is an exciting turn-based, tactical war simulation RPG that plays across a great epoch, through individual story episodes. You, the player, research and explore the vast history of this conflict that nearly tore Rasfalia apart, by reliving past battles and political events.”
“Your viewpoint into this series of intertwined history varies from battle to battle. In one fight, you may command a group of knights protecting a great empire, while in another scenario you may lead a group of revolutionary soldiers, made up of commoners, who are fighting to topple the same empire!”
Given that Matsuno’s specialties are hyper-complex, eons-spanning political tales and class systems that branch and intertwine like some kind of overgrown skill jungle, this all sounds well within his wheelhouse. As ever with Matsuno’s work, classes will also be infinitely customizable, so expect class changes galore.
If you’re confused as to why this is even the least bit exciting, it’s mainly the Matsuno pedigree. He does details extremely well, so this otherwise paint-by-numbers description stands to blossom into something far more intriguing. Stretch goals will also get folks like famed composer and longtime collaborator Hitoshi Sakimoto on board, so this game could become quite lavish.
Really, the biggest question mark here is Playdek. Can they smoothly transition into a videogame production of Matsuno’s proposed scope and ambition? Right now, the Kickstarter page is just a bunch of excited bluster and concept art, so there’s basically nothing to go on. As ever in these cases, I urge you to think very hard before pledging. There will inevitably be some sort of slacker backer program, I’m sure. You might just want to wait and see instead of blinding casting your cash into some sweetly humming abyss .
Matsuno and Playdek are asking for $600,000, and they’ve already pulled in roughly a third of it. Stretch goals, however, wind all the way into the $3,000,000 region, so they’re clearly (and perhaps not incorrectly) expecting big things. I wish them the best, though I personally don’t think chipping in this early on is the best idea. Are you considering it?