You Couldn’t Write It: Unwritten Kickstarter Succeeds

It looked so doomed. Despite the obvious coo-look-at-this potential of Unwritten, its Kickstarter was struggling. Asking for just $75,000, the game of directing a nomadic people toward their god across procedurally generated landscapes really didn’t seem like it would make it. It did! From Joe Houston, a gameplay programmer on Dishonored (who wrote us this excellent piece on gaming violence), the independent project aims to be on a Civilisation scale, but with an emphasis on the nature of storytelling. You can read Adam’s interview with Houston here, which goes into much more detail. I’ve reposted the video below, so you can see what you forgot to fund.

The aim is to be in beta by June, and then release in August, but as is the way of Kickstarters you can take those dates with a bucket of salt. Action continues over on Roxlou Games’ site


  1. Martel says:

    That’s good to see, I liked what he had to say in his interview and was hoping he’d make it.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I didn’t back it personally as it’s not something that always appeals to me, but I certainly think this’ll be interesting to see as a final product. I’m glad that they’ll be the opportunity to see that.

  2. Lambchops says:

    I’m glad this one succeeded, I’m intrigued by the storytelling based concept and the art look great.

    It’s games that are a bit different like this that can really flourish from Kickstarter, hopefully we’ll see another FTL style success with this one.

  3. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Didn’t forget, just a little tired of kickstarter right now. Probably will feel different once some of those games see the light of day.

    • derella says:

      This is also where I’m kind of at. I have a couple hundred dollars floating around out there now, and nothing to show for it yet… So I’m trying to be a bit more discerning when it comes to what I back(ie: only stuff I’m likely to play/enjoy).

      • soco says:

        Same here. I’m so glad this made its kickstarter goal, I was checking it almost everyday. I am just at the point where I’ve got too many games I’m waiting for on KS and I’ve got a backlog that isn’t getting smaller.

        Congrats to them though, can’t wait to see what it looks like when it comes out.

      • LintMan says:

        Yeah, I’ve got a lot of projects (around 20) backed, and very very little to show for it yet. 5 or 6 of the things I’ve backed are several months overdue. Another KS project I backed hasn’t missed delivery quite yet, but hasn’t done an update since their KS ended 8 months ago. I haven’t lost faith yet, but my level of investment in “future” games is starting to feel kind of high and I’m getting more reluctant to put much more money in before I start seeing some actual returns.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    There’s lovely. Now I won’t have to go through with my threat.


  5. AshEnke says:

    I backed it because I want it to succeed, but I’m not sure I want to play it.
    When I’m promised dynamic storytelling like King of Dragon Pass, I shiver from excitement.
    When what the game is actually about is some kind of turn-based fighting with occasional poetic choices, it disappoints me a little.

    But I’m not sure I totally grasped what the game is actually about, it just seems like their vision wasn’t properly explained.

    I’ll see it when I’ll play it.

    • derella says:

      This is essentially why I held off backing. The story part appealed to me, but I was really unsure if the actual game would be something I’d play.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      The game’s fiction is about storytelling and the making of myth etc, but from what I understand it’s communicated through mechanics. It’s a turn-based strategy and the ‘story fragments’ etc are a mechanic. It’s not an adventure game or something.

      Which is why I backed it.

    • abandonhope says:

      It is kind of hard to grasp. I thought it was turn-based fighting at first, but as far as I can discern it mostly isn’t. As I understand it, the turn-based stuff plays out more like a 4X, except that your “civilization” is always moving (nomadic, derp), and the improvements you gain center around the tribe, which is in constant flux.

      Units are lost and new ones gained frequently, the management of which depends on what you need, which will depend on your awareness of the rest of the stuff happening on the map, and what you think you can support. In other words, parts of the 4X are self-contained within the tribe, since it has a mix of moving resource-producing units, tribe-modifying units, fighting units, scouts, etc., and parts are external, such as modifying tiles, resource tiles, enemies and encounters.

      Consider Fallen Enchantress, where there are both enemies and quest encounters on the map. Instead of the quests leading to a turn-based battle screen, here they lead to decisions that may affect your tribe at the unit level, but will also add to your story, which you can then leverage when you face off with other tribes in the story bouts. The results of some decisions will be liabilities, depending on what sort of tribes you encounter.

      You could play as a ruthless tribe, which would give you clout with others of the same type, or you could play as a kinder/more just tribe, which would help you ally with tribes of that sort. Your tribe’s story represents and functions as its power. Instead of two civilizations facing off by, say, attacking each other’s city, you’re facing off in a showdown of what you’re each capable of.

      I think it’s also very much in the vein of FTL, where you’re constantly weighing risks against gains, both short- and long-term, with an ultimate showdown in mind.

      Anyway, that’s my impression. I’m not sure I’m grasping it either, which I kind of like, because it means I’ve probably never played anything like it.

  6. derella says:

    Good for them! Yesterday I decided to check up on them and they were at $70k with (I think)~8 hours to go and I knew they’d make it. Which is a bit silly, since I didn’t back them… Money is tight at the moment(especially after my overly-excited pledge to Dreamfall Chapters), and I try to only back things that I’m sure will be fun for me, so I held off. I really wanted them to succeed though, and will definitely check it out when it’s released.

  7. mrmalodor says:

    I hope they don’t get writer’s block.

  8. Jorum says:

    glad this made it. I went for beta pledge which is something I never normally do. to be honest not even sure if I’ll have time to look at beta much, but so want to support people doing something a little different both in terms of mechanics and art style.

  9. InternetBatman says:

    I’ll be interested in this when it comes out.

  10. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I pledged simply because it’s something different and the idea of carrying the consequences of decisions with you appeals to me a lot. So I’m pretty happy it made it although I have no idea whether I’ll enjoy the final product.

  11. OCD_F3 says:

    It’s good to see it all come together. In a world gone mad, at least something ended up right

  12. El_Emmental says:

    I pledged thanks to StranaMente’s comments on the Wildman article, mostly for the art and soundtrack – I have 0 expectation regarding the gameplay, so anything positive in it, will be what I’ll remember of it.