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.