RPG based on Mistborn novels cancelled

mistborn

Mistborn: Birthright [official site] has been cancelled because of funding problems for developer Little Orbit. A real shame, that. It was to be an RPG based on Brandon Sanderson’s excellent Mistborn fantasy series of books. I finished the original trilogy in 2012 just as the game was announced, and couldn’t wait to see how the setting and magic system (which sees characters, among other things, fly around cities by pulling and pushing themselves to and from metal elements in buildings) would translate into a game.

The cancellation was announced in a Facebook post last month by Matthew Scott, CEO of Little Orbit. He explains that Mistborn: Birthright was set back by several problems, including losing half of the development team, but the final nail in the coffin was when retail distributors folded.

“In a series of months two of Little Orbit’s retail distributors went out of business taking large chunks of our revenue with them. Funding for future titles was immediately cancelled, and it nearly bankrupted the company. We barely survived.

“In the end, I am deeply saddened we couldn’t get this made, but rather than continue to hold onto the rights, I’d like to see someone else make the amazing Mistborn game we would all love to play.”

Little Orbit were working on the game as an open-world RPG alongside High Voltage, the guys behind Saints Row: Gat out of Hell. It sounded like the perfect formula to showcase Mistborn’s primary magic system, Allomancy, in which characters consume metals and ‘burn’ them in their belly to give them special powers. Burning pewter, for example, grants you extra strength and stamina. Burning iron lets you pull yourself towards metal while burning steel lets you push off, which leads to various chase sequences around city rooftops. It’s all very cool.

The game seemed to be relatively far along: Sanderson has written the story, and a vertical slice was shown to journalists back at E3 2012. Let’s hope Sanderson can re-use that story, or that another developer will take up the mantle.

Scott’s Facebook post gives an interesting (and brief) history of the development, if you want to know more.

Little Orbit are still kicking around, and they’ve actually just been drafted in to take on development of Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians, the kickstarted spriritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics. Developer Playdek are no longer working on that game.

13 Comments

  1. Blowfeld81 says:

    Damn,

    did not know this was in production. Now I now it is no more.

    Would have been fun to play an Allomancer. Sad days….

  2. kwyjibo says:

    Playdek took $600k for Unsung Story, and produced nothing. Little Orbit are starting afresh.

    Kotaku has a timeline of events – link to kotaku.com

    Playdek dropped the project because they were having financial difficulties. I assume that the money just went to bail out the company’s other endeavours.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    I’m puzzled about the part about their retail distributors.

    We are in the digital era, how is that those 2 retail distributors getting out of business can take a game developper close to go bankrupt ?

    Doesn’t Little Orbit makes most of its games sales from online selling channels like Steam and GOG, like other games companies ?

    Anyway, that’s a sad news, that RPG looked interesting.

    • Premium User Badge

      SuddenSight says:

      For many small game companies I would agree with you, but based on their website it looks like Little Orbit made a lot of games based on television shows, movies, and books. These are the kind of games I am used to seeing in physical stores and less so online. Along these lines, Little Orbit only has a couple games on steam. So it actually makes sense in this case.

      It’s definitely a bummer for the fans and the company, though I respect them for recognizing when finishing the game wasn’t feasible and freeing up the license rather than sitting on it.

      • Premium User Badge

        Phasma Felis says:

        I wonder if this is a good thing, then. It looks like Little Orbit was exclusively making licensed tie-ins based mostly on kids’ shows. That doesn’t inspire faith in their quality, and Mistborn really deserves more than a cheap tie-in. Maybe another developer can achieve the series’ potential.

  4. sagredo1632 says:

    Thanks for being informative. I loved Playdek’s port of Agricola (yay!), but it’s only available on iOS (argh!). Checking the Unsung Heroes tag shows an interview with Playdek’s CEO Goodman on RPS back in 2014, but no mention of the train wreck that its development turned into.

  5. penguingent says:

    “RPG based on Mistborn novels”

    OOOOOH!

    “cancelled”

    damnit

  6. Someoldguy says:

    I always thought the Allomancy travel system of dropping pennies and hopping around like a demented jackrabbit was a bit daft, but it’s a shame to see a game cancelled.

    • Josh W says:

      Looks like an amusing power system, I can imagine it being something that bethesda could have a lot of fun with, making some kind of morrowind style broken magic game with a mining/distilling system in the background. In a slightly more controlled context, Arkane could probably do a lot with it, if they were allowed to stretch the setting a bit too.

  7. noom says:

    I read the first of the Mistborn novels, and while I wasn’t a big fan, it did strike me as being rather “videogamey”; I could imagine it translating quite well to PC. Shame to hear it’s not to be.

  8. jeremyalexander says:

    So they failed to get their first project made, but somehow still have the resources to pick up another failed project and finish it. Sorry, that’s suspect af.

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