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Final Fantasy Tactics spiritual successor Kickstarter limps across the finish line

Final Fantasy

Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians, a spiritual successor to classic Strategy RPGs Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, was recently funded through Kickstarter. The game is being developed by Playdek, a company mostly known for card games, in collaboration with famed SRPG developer Yatsumi Matsuno the man behind those aforementioned classics.

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The project was able to raise $660,126, slightly above their original funding goal of $600,000. While Unsung Story was already slated to release on iOS and Android, the success of the Kickstarter campaign means that the game will also be released on PC, Linux, and Mac. Although funding through Kickstarter is closed, PayPal contributions means that stretch goals, which include 3DS, PS Vita, and PS4 ports are still possible.

While raising $660,126 is nothing to scoff at, it certainly isn’t the home run that many would expect considering the pedigree of the people involved. In addition to Matsuno, two men that have worked on big games with him previously, artist Akihiko Yoshida and composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, are also on board. This dream team combined with the nostalgia that is often associated with Matsuno’s work, had all the makings of a perfect Kickstarter storm.

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Instead, Unsung Story didn’t reach its funding goal until the final day and couldn’t even hit its first stretch goal within its funding period. Games with much less star power have had way more successful campaigns. So what happened?

The beginning of a Kickstarter is usually when most of the momentum and capital are gathered. Playdek squandered this opportunity because of how vague their initial project description was. At the start it was not clear what Matsuno’s involvement would be, there were no videos, many of the stretch goals had to do with a separate smart phone card game, Sakimoto was not guaranteed to be on board, the console and handheld ports were set too high and backers originally couldn’t pick their version unless they were at the $80 dollar tier, just to name a few lowlights.

“It’s a classic case of not knowing your audience”It’s a classic case of not knowing your audience. Most of the people who would have been interested in the Unsung Story Kickstarter are people that have fond memories of playing Matsuno’s games on the PlayStation 1. These people likely would have been excited about a campaign focusing on getting this game onto major consoles and handhelds. Instead the campaign was perceived by many as trying to port an already in development iOS/Android game to PC. This may have been  appealing to some, but it clearly wasn’t able to drum up the hype needed to send the campaign into the stratosphere like other projects such as Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No.9.

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Perhaps Playdek believed that the mere mention of Matsuno would be enough to set the Kickstarter world on fire and underestimated the amount of work that needed to get put in to convince people to back a project so early in development. The project was funded, so there is that at least; but who knows what could have been if Playdek took the time to get better organized before launching their campaign.

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2013. Get in touch on Twitter @edmcglone.

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