Thursday, January 16, 2014

I just backed Yasumi Matsuno's Unsung Story

From the official Kickstarter page for Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians:
Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians is the spiritual successor in a storied line of epic tactical RPGs designed by Yasumi Matsuno. Playdek is excited to be partnering with one of the most legendary game designers, as well as you the fans, to bring out a refreshing, immersive new take on the tactics genre.

In the hands of the veteran tactical RPG master himself, Unsung Story will re-imagine a classic game genre, as Yasumi Matsuno weaves together one of the complex and rich game worlds that he is known for, with inspiring class based tactics game play.

I backed this at the $165 "Behind-the-Scenes Adventure (Design)" pledge level. That's subject to change. None of the rewards especially appeal to me, except for the opportunity to play test and balance the game, since I always have opinions on that stuff (why, for example, I think Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is, in many ways, a more mechanically polished and balanced game than Final Fantasy Tactics, but Final Fantasy Tactics is more fun and, ultimately, better). Of course, I don't think I even own a system presently that would be able to run this game, and if I'm being honest, I also don't know that I'd have the motivation to sink much time into play testing it, given that I don't even spend much time playing games for fun anymore. But there's a month to go on this Kickstarter campaign, and if I end up committing on that pledge, maybe the expense will encourage me to commit further and make the most of my rewards. I'm also hoping they'll come up with some better reward options before funding closes. I think it's kind of stupid that the coolest rewards—play test access and the art book signed by Yasumi Matsuno—are mutually exclusive.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to seeing this project realized. The developer, Playdek, does not appear especially distinguished, but they have clarified in the comments that "the storyline is being written by Matsuno himself." I'm also hoping that they'll reach the $1.3 million stretch goal to get Hitoshi Sakimoto on board as composer. But Matsuno's story is what I'm mainly investing in. Matsuno's writing was what crucially distinguished the great tactical RPGs I've played (Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together) from the imitations that bore similar design yet proved mediocre and forgettable (Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Final Fantasy Tactics A2). And, yeah, Matsuno also more recently wrote Final Fantasy XII, which I didn't dig so much, but I chalk a lot of that up to how his storytelling style—that is, the way he doles out story via short, closed-door conversations in between lengthy stretches of just guys whaling on monsters—lends itself especially poorly to a game with a world of the scale of a traditional JRPG. With this being a smaller-scale turn-based tactical RPG, I have high expectations. I wouldn't very well be funding this otherwise, would I?

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