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A rich, diverse Tactical RPG, envisioned by the master of the genre Yasumi Matsuno and you, the fans!
A rich, diverse Tactical RPG, envisioned by the master of the genre Yasumi Matsuno and you, the fans!
15,824 backers pledged $660,126 to help bring this project to life.

June Update - "Art" thou ready?

Posted by Little Orbit (Creator)

Dear backers,

It's E3 month! The Little Orbit team has been getting ready. We aren't talking about Unsung.. yet. But we're getting close to our first big public push so stay tuned in July and August.

We also did another developer blog about the UI design process. You can check it out here if you missed it.

This post is already loaded to the brim with content, so I'm only going give a brief general overview of where we're at. 

General Update

  • New more polished visualization of the Triangle Grid system.
  • Added a Mission intro screen that contains mission details and briefings.
  • Stat calculations for the core systems are now fully implemented. This does not mean the game is balanced. Ability balance is ongoing, and balance gets worse the higher leveled units are.
  • We've settled on 242 total abilities in the game. That's 12 for most classes, and a couple with 13. Only 19 abilities remain to be implemented.
  • There are 31 Battle/Mission Maps implemented as White Box levels utilizing a placeholder tile set that designers can manipulate to build various scenarios. There are currently 51 maps in the design, but we are on our third Pace Map. This new version will affect some of the levels, but we're hoping this is our last round of story/narrative revisions. (I'm very pleased with the current version of the story)

New Logo!

In keeping with this month's theme, I felt it was time to put our own stamp on the project. So here is the new Unsung Story logo. We hope you like it :)

New Unsung Story Logo
New Unsung Story Logo

A Personal Note about the Art

I have been pretty open about holding this area back, because I wasn't happy with the direction. Before locking in, I wanted the team to be able to explore a lot of different space. We're done exploring, and I'm very pleased to show off how that process is going.

Before I jump in, I want to acknowledge that this is the one place in the project where we have significantly deviated from the original direction set out by PlayDek. We couldn't get Yoshida back. 

We tried a number of different styles that were reminiscent of FFT, but we just couldn't make them work. So what you're going to see today is different.

I own 100% of the responsibility for the look. I chose this style, and I'm a big fan of how it's coming out. For some, you may like what I'm about to show off. And I'm sure there will be others who will be massively disappointed. Trust me, there are plenty of great medieval settings and character styles in the game. It just happened to turn out I don't have a lot of that to show off today. So I'm going to ask for a little patience, while we dial this in and integrate everything together for the final look.

I do also need to take a moment and give massive thanks to my tireless Art Director, Tyler James, and the team of artists working under him.

Even though I get to have all the fun writing these updates and sharing everything, he really did all the heavy lifting on what you're going to see this month. We've spent plenty of late nights comparing notes throughout each stage, but he has spent many hours working with the artists, giving feedback, painting guides, and generally bringing this game to life.

Art Update

I thought it would be fun to actually share that visual development process by focusing on four specific classes in the game - the Berserker, the Wildlord, the Sharpshooter, and the Disciple. Bear in mind the game will feature Human characters along with two other playable races in male and female forms with skin color, head, and hair variations. I'm only going to show off specific designs of each class, but there is a lot of diversity in how these will look in the final game.

Step 1 - Design Variations

Unsung Story takes place at the end of the 77-Year War between the Saxtel Empire and the Alionne Kingdom, so we started by collecting a concise description of Aramor, the capital city of the Saxtel Emptire and also the home of the School of Nature. This region of the game is influenced by a blend of Celtic and African inspirations. 

For the Berserker, we also created a written description based on his abilities and his Double Axes. Lastly, we thought this would be a fun place to start because it introduced the second major playable race - the Horned.

From there we did a series of rough sketches showing a bunch of design variations.

Horned Male Berserker Design Sketches
Horned Male Berserker Design Sketches

Since we were both exploring a new race and the classes, we decided to design a female variation using the Wildlord class and her Glaive.

Horned Female Wildlord Design Sketches
Horned Female Wildlord Design Sketches

On the opposite side of the 77-Year War conflict is the Alionne Kingdom with its capital city of Branholme and the School of Technology. This region contains heavy deposits of an ore that can store and release sound waves and is influenced by England.

For the Sharpshooter, we wanted to explore a female Human using the Infusion Rifle.

Human Female Sharpshooter Design Sketches
Human Female Sharpshooter Design Sketches

And lastly for the Disciple, we started with a written description of Lethanor, the city where the School of Mana is located. That region of the game has Asian and Indian influences. We wrote up a brief art description of the Disciple and his primary weapon, the Bo Staff.

Human Male Disciple Variations
Human Male Disciple Variations

We did a couple more classes in our initial rounds, so we could line them all up together in order to get an overall view of the look as it was coming together. 

I'll admit we did a lot of revisions, and we ended up throwing away a fair amount of work. Tyler and I made the difficult call to cut an entire early attempt at the third race in the game. I might show that work in a later update, but ultimately we felt the tone was wrong and it was pulling the visual design away from what we wanted.

For these four class designs, we made notes, identified color schemes and assembled the look we wanted to proceed with.

Sketch Feedback
Sketch Feedback

You'll notice specifically that with the Disciple we added bells around his neck to be a source of sound for some of his moves.

Step 2 - Final Renders

From there the team worked on a series of final renders to get as close to what the 3D model in the game might look like. 

For this part of the process, we have to take into account the angle of the camera. Players need to be able to look down on the field and easily recognize each unit. It means we need to be careful of embedding too much detail or using specific colors, because those will be lost or end up muddy. We saw this with PlayDek's early designs that looked amazing in the 2D stage, but then fell flat in their prototype scene.

Horned Male Berserker Final Render
Horned Male Berserker Final Render
Horned Female Wildlord Final Render
Horned Female Wildlord Final Render
Human Female Sharpshooter Final Render
Human Female Sharpshooter Final Render
Human Male Disciple Final Render
Human Male Disciple Final Render

Step 3 - 3D Model

Finally, we take the finished render and we make the 3D model. Here is how our Disciple came out.

Human Male Disciple 3D Model
Human Male Disciple 3D Model

And here is a quick animation test with one of his abilities.

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with

Early Mission Map Concept Art

Last month I showed white box progress on four different maps. This month I'm going to take one of those levels and show some early work on how that level is being conceptualized artistically.

Here it is in blocky white box form:

Branholme Map White Box
Branholme Map White Box

And here is the initial conceptual paint over. Branholme utilizes the local ore to power a lot of the city, and while this gives it a Steampunk feel, we had fun exploring how magic might be generated from the sound of steam instead of an actual steam engine.

Branholme Map Rough Concept
Branholme Map Rough Concept

That's all for now!

Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Sincerely, Matthew Scott


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    1. Missing avatar

      Devon MacLachlan on

      P.S. Please don't let this actually become the case:

      "I knew going in that this would be a lot of work, but I also felt that it couldn't get any worse than it already was, so why not try."

    2. Missing avatar

      Devon MacLachlan on

      So, like some others, I had written this game off as money flushed down a pipe dream. I was delighted to see that it was resurrected, but have since been catching up on all of the updates. I really, really hope this turns out to be a decent game. I, like others, am truthfully disappointed to see that after such a turbulent life this game has had, it genuinely seems to be becoming another game entirely. The new art style (again, as has been mentioned) looks like like the somewhat cheap cartoony style of Blizzard, and the jerky animation of a Dreamworks movie (ala KungFu Panda). I am saddened that the grit and realism has been abandoned, if only because it seems like a move to copy and capitalize on the proven success of such previous titles. To me, that speaks of neither innovation nor the spiritual homage upon which the idea of this game was founded. I must also echo the other posters' comments on the female models and designs. I really, really hope this turns out to be a decent game, and I hope this wasn't the last nail in the coffin on a true successor to games in the vein of FFT.

      The regular schedule and transparency is appreciated, though. Best of luck with the project!

    3. Missing avatar

      Ii Lii on

      I haven't commented here before - I really only read the production updates, the game details I try to skim. Digging for extra information about a product is something I generally only do if I'm on the fence about purchasing it, and since I have already put my money into this project, I've tried to keep myself as unspoiled as possible, especially when it comes to the developing game mechanics - I want these experiences to surprise me. This update stood out to me, however. I don't know if this will affect anything, or if it would have, even posted in a timely manner, but it bothers me too much not to add my voice to this conversation.

      My first reaction was very positive. The art style isn't at all what I was expecting, but while it isn't something that grabs me on its own merits, there was something more interesting present in the first designs: diversity. I stopped scrolling and immediately my eyes were drawn to that skinnier guy in the top right corner, his shoulder span and the way his hips fall at a completely different angle. There were differences even in the postures, a detail easily ignored. Huh, I thought. This level of attention to the individuality of people's bodies, I'm even more stoked up for this game than I was before.

      It was all downhill from there.

      Every single female design is copy-pasted from the exact same body. Every single female design has the same body. Every SINGLE female design is the EXACT same design. One body fits all. This isn't fun. I can't even see the boob windows, because honestly, looking at that same waistline over and over you can tell that the designer has zero interest in female bodies. I can't begin to tell you how heart-breaking that is.

      The third (yes, third) design sealed the deal. The male-ideal muscle type body didn't set off any alarms bells, at first, because it seemed like a racial feature. But the human designs are practically speaking the same design. Sure, there are some difference in ratios, but the bulging muscles are the defining trait, and it was used already. Previously I had gotten the idea that the horned race is particularly impressive, physically speaking, but the human designs negate that impression. Now NEITHER of them stands out.

      By the way, did you notice that the horned race has noticeably shorter, bowed legs? By which I mean, the male designs of the horned race do, because, I can only assume, the designer doesn't care about female bodies. I can understand that, I don't care about these assembly line Barbies either. There is one female body that spans across even the species. One. Nothing can excuse this.

      I don't know where the fault lies, exactly, for these designs to have gone so wrong. But if I had been looking for a game to buy, they would have killed my interest. As it stands, I have only been able to get excited about updates long enough to check if the designs have been salvaged, somehow. And I am so sorry for that.

    4. Missing avatar

      Jayton Kenealy on

      I think it looks good overall, but I'm with others that have commented about the female body shapes. I think they should come in all shapes and sizes within reason for their classes and abilities. I think you should play to your art team's strengths and not worry so much about if everyone likes it - if you're making art specifically for your audience it really loses something.

    5. Alexei Kozlenok on

      If I am honest, I am not a fan of hyper stylized art styles and where this another ks this probably would have driven me to not jump on board as I feel this is over-represented in gaming today(much to the fault of Blizzards runaway success with using similar art styles). There are some good reminders to Vanillawares work as well, and the recent Pyre comes to mind when looking at this. As I said, it looks great for what it is, just pulls me out of the game, as if the goal is to have a serious story this kind of art style annihilates the immersion required to connect with it (to me). [Looking at FFT vs FFTA1/2 the art style is vastly different between those two, even though they are both of the same origin. The feel/mood of the games is different, taking FFTA serious is an almost impossibility, because of the bright colours and stylazations]

      That being said(honestly), I understand your reasoning and not utilizing your teams talent direction would be folly(just because degha looks amazing, doesn't mean i can get a bunch of cubist painters to make great works in his style). As sad as I am to say this, I wish you the best of luck in driving this forward in the best way that you can, and if anything this kind of style definitely will have a wider modern appeal then the darker tone (even if still slight unrealistic[lol faces] one used in FFT).

      For me it does reduce the feeling that I will get the type of game I have been yearning for all this time, and I will still have to look sadly onto the list of upcoming releases without seeing a deep stories immersive tactics game. But I think I think this is what is best for this project and give you all of my best feels, support and wishes that I can. And most definitely will still play and recommend the game when it comes out.

      Thank you again. (both for taking the time to work on this, and for dealing with a comment that's not entirely positive, just trying to be honest as you'd asked.)

    6. KC on

      Art looks pretty cool. I love the concept art for the map. Thanks for the consistent updates!

    7. Missing avatar

      Olivia Schwartz on

      Count me as another person disappointed with the direction you chose to go with for the art. I respect that you couldn't get Yoshida back, but I would expect the direction to stay in a old school JRPG/anime-esque style, not a modern western video game/Blizzard-esque style.

      The female character designs are seriously eyeroll inducing, especially the extreme sexual dimorphism between the hulking male Horned and the "just the same wasp-wasted human model again" female Horned. It's not quite as bad as the meme about Blizzard character design, but it's close.

    8. Missing avatar

      Cory Chatwell on

      Really quality work, the studio clearly has the skills to pull this off, however while I appreciate the visual quality that has been achieved here, I definitely feel like this has too much of Blizzard style influence, looks a lot like DOTA or Overwatch as some people have pointed out. The environments have still retained some of that painterly quality of Final Fantasy Tactics that we all came here for. I'm hoping that you are able to push the characters even a tiny bit further in that direction, color palettes of muted dusty greens, browns and golds with some splashes of color are what I think of when I think Final fantasy tactics, and brutal simple attacks, a sword rending an enemy unit as they scream out in agony before dropping still to the ground, rather than a whirligig spin fest like we see with that monk for example.

    9. Andrew on

      I wasn't expecting such an exaggerated art style but I kind of dig it. While the designs could be a little more streamlined and the proportions more realistic it works for me. Although I have to admit I'm disappointed that the technology stuff isn't more steam engines and flinklocks and less magitech, I still like it. Also loving the colors. And the logo.

      But maybe tone down the animations a little. Disciple jumping and flipping with every attack might get old and/or look out of place with what I imagine will be the sharpshooter taking aim and firing much more sedatedly.

    10. Sean on

      I'm encouraged by this update, it seems like some real progress is being made. Personally I like the art direction for the most part. My only gripe is that the Horned look a little too similar to humans in their general body shape, which is exacerbated slightly for the female models where all the curves are in the exact same places between both races. Similarities of body shape to humans aside, I do like the look of the Horned a lot though.

      After cutting the early designs, will the 3rd race still be in the game? If so, I'd quite like to see something that is strikingly different, rather than another similar proportioned humanoid.

    11. Timothy Hames on

      I can get into this art style and it makes me happy.

    12. Missing avatar

      Andy Siu on

      I might have lost hope about this game but this update changed my mind. I especially like the art of the map. I am now excited to see this game finish. Thank you for your hard work and the update!

    13. JK Clark on

      I'll comment briefly on why I chafe at the remarks of "over-sexualisation" and "objectification".

      I've known a few women who were very busty and started developing at a very young age. They were often picked on, and shamed, because of something they had no control over. Their bodies were "sexualised" by society at large; not them, not God, not their genetics. America told them they had shameful bodies that had to be hidden. They were encouraged to hide themselves because of how they made OTHER people feel, not how they felt about themselves. Their ideas about themselves were warped and twisted by peers and adults who forced their own inner struggles with sexuality onto other people who had nothing to do with it.

      Sorry, but that's bs. It's wrong. Your hangups about what is or is not 'sexual', and what 'sexual' means, and how 'sexual' should be presented do not determine what another persons body looks like or how another person dresses. That's not your choice to make for them. It's pretty sick what people do to each other in the name of what's proper or provocative. Is it not okay for someone to wear snug fitting jeans if they have wide hips? Should they not wear a certain blouse because you can see their breasts? If there is a problem with these things, whose problem is it? Theirs, or yours?

      When a girl goes to a convention and wears a costume that presents her body in a way that she finds interesting or appealing or beautiful, who is responsible for the reactions to that? Is it HER fault if someone behaves poorly around her? Or is the fault of the thinking adult human being who behaves poorly? Do you see how that's a bizarre question to have to ask in a reasonable society?

      I apply much of the same reasoning to art, and perhaps moreso. It's not the artists job to make you feel less aroused or more comfortable with their art. It's their job to create. And once that job is done, the art is itself. It's it's own "person" so to speak, and you either accept it, or you don't and move on. Your feelings about the art are yours to deal with. The artist is done. Society has to deal with their own hangups.

      Art CAN change minds. That's why I ask for diversity in character design, as opposed to saying "Stop doing this!" I don't want artists to stop. I want artists to create MORE art. I want to see as many ideas as possible. I want to get people to look at themselves and each other and accept what they see, instead of judging appearances based on "norms" that nobody ever agreed to. Is "thin" not sexual by default? Who determined that? Who made that choice for us? Is "thin" normal? Who says?

      It's a shame what we do to artists like George Kamitani because of our weird relationship with our bodies. We have to grow up.

    14. Missing avatar

      Flynt on

      I'm going to echo what a lot of folks here are saying: Please dial back on the overly sexualized female designs; don't show skin in areas where it normally wouldn't be shown. Give them a body similar to that of the males. Dial down the hair. Give us 'real' proportions, if possible, please?

      Let's try and set a tone of females in games that are not objects, but rather characters that are more than just eye candy.

    15. Kevin Felker on

      People commenting on overly sexualized women?
      The men are half naked, so it's equal sexual IMO. LOL

    16. Missing avatar

      James Arnold on

      Being a visual artist in the games industry, I can say that the most nerve-wracking days of my life are when something I make goes live. I've seen the bottoms of a lot of coffee cups and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with an army of people who have done the same. I can see how much hard work has gone into what we've been shown here and I applaud your willingness to own such a massive decision. I have my preferences in aesthetic, we all do, but beyond the individual style I want to acknowledge the love that has gone into everything you and your team have made happen. This is excellent, and I'm inspired to think that this is just the beginning. Please pass on my congratulations to all the artists who have helped make this happen.

    17. kingsword on

      Good that you're moving on with the project but this is the embodiment of art style I detest, but I guess it's my fault for getting my hopes up back again. I'd either be fine with a knock-off of any Japanese styles or just a generic, classic western look. Instead you went with this that's as far off from the original designs as possible. Sorry for being blunt but I'm extremely disappointed and doubt that I'll ever play Unsung Story looking like this. I don't play them when they're free and I should cut my losses with money instead of investing more time as well.

      I feel for you but also I feel no less scammed now than I felt before you took over. Maybe you tried, I don't know. This is not proving to me that you did though. Excuse me for being blunt.

    18. Hechizero on

      More than disliking the art style, I dislike the "gaze". All the females look super sexualized and dress with impractical attire. I know the environment/world is filled with fantasy, I just don't want the "young boy sexual fantasy" part of it.

    19. Jason Lepage on

      The actual style of the art is fine, you're not Yoshida and that's perfectly fine. But I do wish we could dial it back on the over sexiualizations of you females. It marks the difference between "I want to BE THAT" and "I want to OWN THAT".

    20. Missing avatar

      Kyle on

      Please don't be afraid to include exaggerated proportions or have characters showing some skin! The squeaky wheel doesn't always deserve the grease! The playful and exaggerated features are just fine. If it's inspired by Frank Frazetta you can't go wrong.

    21. Chris Conley on

      My favorite is the Disciple design. The only issue I have with it in the static renders is the absolutely massive weapon ends: it makes it more like a warhammer than a quarterstaff. I get that the weapons help make the silhouettes identifiable, but I wish it could be toned down a bit, especially the ends of the Disciple's.

      But I don't think that animation works. The speed with which he swings the bo around and doing those ludicrous spins with his wrist ironically undermines what the animation is trying to do: make him look strong and agile. Instead, he jerks around like a hyperactive chipmunk, and the weapon appears to be a 1 pound stick with paper mache addons because he can spin it around like a parade baton. The animation does not sell the weight and heft of the weapon at all. I think I would rather see his movements more at the smooth and graceful end of things, except at the moment of contact if he's making a melee attack, than gotta go fast.

    22. Missing avatar

      Neil Cameron on

      The animation test looks really cool.
      Very excited to see the whole game in action!

    23. Missing avatar

      David Skiba on

      I love the art style overall, but holy cow, please dial back on the ultra-sexualizing of the female characters a few notches. The proportions, the outfits, the hair, just everything is so over the top.

      The disciple's animation was great, though! I have very high hopes for what you guys are putting together here!

    24. Missing avatar

      Daniel Ortiz Nieto on

      The new art style loosk to me like a crossover beetween Blizzard's Warcraft III and Wakfu, and I'm 100% OK with that.

      But I have to say I'm a little worried that it might end up loooking a little too much like a mobile game, but on the other hand It might end up loking something alike Dota2 aswell so... keep up the good work!!

      I'm confitend that it will grow on everyone once we have the chance to see more of it in action.

    25. fabooster on

      This look VERY promising. Keep it up!

    26. Henri Polso on

      I don't really dig the artstyle but fortunately it's not an absolute dealbreaker like say, Rainbow Moon had. It just looks like one of the hundreds of mobile gacha RPG games.

    27. Jeremy Collins on

      It may bear mentioning that certain art designers' styles are distinctive enough that we come to know that artist's name. Yoshida Akihiko, for example, has done work that made all of us aware of his name. Amano Yoshitaka's etherial, dreamy feel suffuses numerous classic Square games. Similarly, Samwise Didier at Blizzard pioneered a style that has been echoed all over the world for a decade or more. Luc Bernard's games are instantly identifiable, and George Kamitani's work makes Vanillaware games unlike anything else out there.

      With all that being said, art absolutely matters. Art matters. The conversation we're all having now may just lead to one a decade from now when people are talking about Tyler James in the same breath as some of those other brilliant and original stylists. Viewed from that perspective, as far as I'm concerned, we've got a chance to do something incredible with this game. I want so damn badly for this project not to be a one-and-done, but a launchpad for a robust new identity for Little Orbit and partners.

      The title of the game carries a weight of promise. That colon implies that there may be other stories as yet unsung, beyond the eponymous guardians' tale. We get this one right, and those future stories may yet be sung.

      So with that in mind, I hope this conversation ultimately takes us to an art style that is both distinctive and accessible, absolutely, but maybe most importantly, original.

    28. Sam on

      Art style is definitely super different, but I can dig it.

    29. Missing avatar

      DragonForce on

      @JK Clark Exactly, and I will add to your post that, while I'm really happy Unsung Story has been resurrected, that happiness is because I thought the team was interested in the project because they were passionate about Matsuno and Yoshida's previous works and wanted to do this project justice by keeping faithful to its original pitch, even if obviously with their own creative twists. The change in art direction shown in those artworks, however, is so drastic it makes me wonder if they are really considering the expectations set by the Kickstarter and by the countless references to Matsuno's previous works that, let's face it, are the main reason people have been interested in this project all this time.

      @forgottenlor I agree with you on everything but that paragraph about a game failing or succeeding regardless of its art direction. I think art direction is incredibly important in building a game's success and identity, especially when your audience already has precise expectations about its tone. The example of Vandal Hearts Flames of Judgement, again, is all too fitting to this situation, but there could be a lot of others. There are many games that were successful because of their art direction, and others that were brought down by their lackluster style even if they had strong mechanics or narratives.

    30. JK Clark on

      By the way, my impression was that the animation was a combination of a few different phases. Someone seemed to think it was too much, but I don't think all that movement is for one attack. I could be wrong.

      It also seems to be sped up a bit, if that eases anyone's mind.

    31. MammonAzrael on

      I have not read all of the comments.

      The art is well executed, and entirely reasonable. I would like to echo the other comments I *have* read in that this aesthetic, while perfectly reasonable, is not something that would draw me to this game. In fact I worry that it will be visually forgettable, lost in a sea of similar styles. I don't know if this style is locked in at this point and I trust that you tried a great many, but I am concerned. It's entirely possible that things will flow better when we see all the pieces interacting together, but right now it comes across as not terribly inspired, and also rather busy or over-designed.

      Notes about the models and thoughts on inclusion:
      I support the suggestions to push for higher diversity, regardless of the style you go with. Particularly with body types that aren't represented. Given the fatphobic nature of society this mostly means larger and/or fatter bodies. Fat people, weight lifters, and real people that have more than 1% body fat (the Disciples muscles are stupidly hyperdefined). Further, please don't "paint on" clothing.

      I HATE the design for the female sharpshooter. Why must she have a wasp-thin waist? Her breasts showing? High heels? Objectifying and sexualizing female bodies like this is an industry-wide systemic issue. It's lazy, it doesn't stand out from the crowd, and worst of all it broadcasts to all what the game thinks women's bodies are for (to be sexually attractive). You can do better.

    32. Missing avatar

      forgottenlor on

      I personally liked the original realistic artwork. That was one of the reasons I originally backed. I do like this style at least as well as the FFT inspired artwork that you showed in an earlier update, which I personally did not like. I think the artwork in itself is very good, even if I personally would have not chosen this Warcraft style. In any case you've already invested heavily in it, so you should stick to it. Yes, not everyone will like it, or they would have chosen a different art style, but in the end the game will succeed or fail not based on the art style, but on the gameplay. And even if the art direction is not particularly original, the artists have done a good job, and its an accessible art style, so maybe it will appeal to a broader audience.

    33. Missing avatar

      Gabriel Rogasner on

      "It's a tough situation. I don't envy Little Orbit."
      You can say that again.

    34. JK Clark on

      @DragonForce Upon consideration, I agree with you in principle. (I won't lie: I let the excitement of progress influence my opinion a great deal.)

      I have to agree that even though I really like the designs, they are extremely far from ogre/tactics style. They strike me as being very much "Western mmo game" style artwork. Honestly, If I were less excited to be getting the game at all, I'd probably be angry at this direction myself. I've had a lot of time and distance from FF Tactics to become less attached, but if you had shown me this at back when my love was fresh? OUTRAGE!!

      I definitely see that point of view, of have no ill-will for those who feel betrayed.

      It's a tough situation. I don't envy Little Orbit.

    35. Missing avatar

      DragonForce on

      @Gabriel Rogasner: Agreed, so far it seemed the team was really doing its best to preserve the project's roots and its original identity, but this art direction is so strikingly different from anything vaguely reminiscent of Matsuno and Yoshida's work they should have anticipated this kind of reactions.

      A game should be thought of as a whole: even if the script and gameplay end up being in line with Matsuno's vision but the art direction is taken straight from League of Legend or Warcraft, the end result will be tonally dissonant and a major disappointment for those that backed the original pledge and hoped to see something along those lines.

      It isn't even the first time this happens with a Japanese strategy RPG: years ago Vandal Hearts was resurrected by a western team with Flames of Judgement and, while the game itself wasn't bad at all, its art direction was so different from the original games (and frankly, just bad even out of that context) that most of the Vandal Hearts fanbase didn't even give it a chance, while mainstream gamers probably didn't even know the game existed. As a result, Flames of Judgement bombed and Vandal Hearts didn't get another chance.

    36. Missing avatar

      Gabriel Rogasner on

      @DragonForce Fair enough! I get being disappointed that the project took a different direction than originally anticipated. But to be fair to LittleOrbit, they have seemingly taken this project from the biggest disappointment of my history with Kickstarter and turned it into something I am excited about, so as far as I'm concerned, they have earned some goodwill. I trust that they still have the original vision in mind, or they wouldn't have picked up the project at all.

      I'm definitely not saying "don't express your disappointment," just that we as backers don't have the entire thing in front of us. I find that art assets often look a LOT different in-context than out-of-context. (But I could very well be wrong...)

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      DragonForce on

      @Gabriel I think the whole issue here is that this isn't a completely new project by Little Orbit, otherwise we would have had a separate Kickstarter where they could have described the tone they wanted for their game's story, gameplay and art style.

      This, however, is the continuation of Unsung Story, a project that was sold to its backers a long time ago with a very clear focus on following in the footsteps of Matsuno and Yoshida's previous works. To put it bluntly, I think I wouldn't have backed this project if this art direction was the one outlined in Unsung Story's pitch.

      If Little Orbit wants to make a new game that goes for the Warcraft aesthetic, more power to them. As you say, in that instance no one but them should influence their creative process. In this situation, however, I think backers are entitled to express their disappointment and to suggest they rethink this art style in order to make the game more similar to its original pitch and tone, even if maybe it's too late to go back to the drawing board.

      I guess I'm even more disappointed because, from the past updates, I had the impression the Little Orbit team is extremely passionate about keeping that Matsuno identity in their game, something I really appreciated, while this art direction seems to go in a strikingly different direction.

    38. Missing avatar

      Gabriel Rogasner on

      Ultimately whatever you guys came up with, there will be people who like it, people who don't like it, and people who hate it. That's the nature of subjectivity.

      I agree that from what we see here, I think the characters have proportions that are a bit exaggerated, but I know some people like that, and maybe it fits great into your game world like it does into WoW, so I am giving you guys the benefit of the doubt that you have thought all this through and don't need the two cents from people without the whole picture in front of them.

      In other words, thanks for the update!

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      John Hollar on

      It looks good on a base technical level. But I think there are some issues.

      First, I am getting the feeling that each class is going to look extremely distinctive across the entire character model. I am not a fan of that art direction, and would prefer if each model for a race had a set of base size/mass/coloring characteristics then having the class weapons and armor overlayed on top. It makes it feel more like the army is composed of people with different jobs, rather than being composed of different jobs.

      Second, that animation. It's too much. Imagine doing that move with 5 guys for 5 turns in a row. It's too much moving around and twirling and jumping. It feels like wasted time.

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      DragonForce on

      @JK Clark: I feel the complaints have been mostly addressed at the art style itself, rather than at one or two characters. It's not even a matter of being against said art style regardless of context, rather some of us (at least from what I can gather from other like-minded comments) are disappointed to see a project that was presented with a Yoshida-like aesthetic turn into something completely different, something which can't really be associated in any shape or form with the art style seen in Matsuno's previous games.

      Diversity is not an issue whatsoever, the issue here is having a character design that reminds of Warcraft, Wakfu and League of Legends in a strategy RPG that was sold to its backers as heavily inspired by Matsuno's previous works. Even if one accepts the idea the team wants to give the game its own spin, which of course is totally normal, this kind of character design feels (again, I realize it's subjective) very derivative, unoriginal and far from unique even putting aside Unsung Story's previous identity and the way it was marketed to Matsuno and Yoshida's fans.

      I must stress again that I really appreciate the work the team has done, but, at the same time, I feel a little betrayed (maybe a strong word, I realize) in that, even if this game now seems likely to happen despite all odds, it will end up being completely unappealing from a design perspective to, at least going with the comments here, a sizeable part of the backers who supported it all this time.

    41. JK Clark on

      I enjoy the cartoonish proportions for some characters. I like the general direction, and was actually disappointed with the final disciple/monk render, as it seems to have toned down his color and anatomy to be more realistic. Keep the more interesting style of your original designs!

      I have no problem with the female anatomy. I'll never understand why people need to make weird demands of female characters to conform to their specific desires. Notice how most complaints were indeed about the female designs. Why is that?

      If I have any desire, it's that there should be MORE diversity in the body types. Larger, smaller, fat, thin, realistic, outrageous, let it be as diverse as possible.

      By making the classes more distinct, it'll be easier to become emotionally attached. Everyone will have their favorites, not just based on stats, but also appearance and body language.

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      Dan Martland on

      I mentally wrote this game off a long time ago, but these updates and the progress we are seeing have given me hope for it. Thanks for your efforts, Little Orbit are shaping up to be a class act.

    43. Luis Magalhaes on

      After such a long disclaimer I was expecting the worst, but I really like this direction. The female models in particular look gorgeous, but the berserker is also super bad-ass. Well done.

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      Andrew Small on

      I am grateful for the phenomenal amount of effort you've been putting into not only reviving this project but documenting your progress in detail, so it really pains me to say this...

      These character designs are not only not very faithful to the aesthetic of Its predecessors or the overall tone of this game (keep in mind that I don't mind if you put your own "slant" on things) but I think they're horrendous even by the standards of the overexaggerated "Blizzard" style that you seem to be going for.

    45. Giga_Force on

      Thanks for the update! I really like the logo with the sword going through the U and the character sketches remind me a bit of Ogre Battle 64, which is one of my favorite games!

    46. David J Plamondon

      I didn't/don't really care about the original art promised in this game. I think the new character designs look really interesting and I appreciate the passion and hard work you've put into trying to right this sinking ship. Keep up the great work and don't get discouraged !

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      Karl Ritter on

      So I guess we can forget about a FFT-inspired art style now?

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      koenil on

      I generally don't comment on these posts and a lot of people have said things better than I can regarding the female character designs. What I will say is this: the fact that so many people (including myself) see these images and immediately think of another game isn't a point in your favor. I would much rather see designs that clearly identify these characters as being from Unsung Story at first glance. That's not an easy thing to pull off and I'm not suggesting that it is, but it's something to aspire to.

      Thanks again for the thorough update. I had given up all hope on this project years ago and these monthly updates are a true breath of fresh air. The transparency you've given to this project hasn't gone unnoticed.

    49. Matt Lohkamp on

      alright look. if I could change one thing about this, it would be the female character's tits. I mean - look at the designs you've chosen. What do the female characters' outfits have in common? Bare skin shown at the fingers, forearms, face, aaaaaand... their tits. Why? This is kind of a rhetorical 'why,' because we all know 'why.' But what I *thought* we were starting to understand is that we can do better than this. It's a tired, potentially toxic trope, and honestly it's a huge disappointment to see a new indie game like this one, whose development has been marked by a need to closely reconsider what works and what doesn't.

      I'm not saying girls shouldn't have boobs (that's fine) I'm not saying the guys need to have equally bare chests (that's also fine) - I'm just saying that when I see your female armor designs, I see the same goddamn puerile fascination with titties that every other slimy stereotype of a male gamer has drooled over for decades. You're already trying to push the envelope a little and explore new design spaces with the Triangle Grid - why not take the same care with how you approach gendered representations of your characters?

    50. Ralph Chilton

      Love the character art, it's abstract enough that anyone complaining about 'idealised' shapes looks a bit silly!