I know that in the grand scheme of game development 660,000 USD isn't all that much money, but I've seen games made with far less. FTL, for example, was made on one third the budget. Banner Saga was made with only the slightly higher sum of 723,000 USD. I don't think it was unrealistic to expect Playdek to make a game with the money they had. Maybe it would be barebones. Maybe it would be somewhat lacking in terms of graphics, but what backers ultimately ended up with was nothing. Granted, the project has been handed over to another company. However, the new custodians of Unsung Story (Little Orbit) say they are going to have to start from scratch. What the heck was Playdek doing the last couple years? To take over half-a-million dollars and 2+ years of time with nothing to show for it reeks of the worst kind of incompetence. Who are these inept fools? I doubt Yasumi Matsuno was one of them. It's my understanding that he already submitted all his design work long ago. Then again, if his handling of FFXII is any indication, he's not the most capable individuals out there either.
On the flipside, the backers of Unsung Story are surprisingly mellow about being swindled out of their hard-earned cash. Even one super backer simply mentioned that he was glad the game still had a chance of coming out eventually. Maybe it's because I didn't throw any money at the game, but I don't share their optimism. Looking at Little Orbit's credentials, they've successfully made several licensed games none of which are particularly good. I shouldn't be too hard on them though. At least they got their projects out the door...and who knows...maybe this is a breakout chance for them. For all we know this new development team might be chomping at the bit to do a turn-based strategy title. Regardless of their disposition, I do hope the dev team over at Little Orbit go back to the original concept art, and try to build something akin to that design. What little pre-alpha footage that we did see was pretty rough and felt very generic. I know Unsung Story is supposed to be a throwback to those classic strategy RPGs, but at least go with the chinese checkers layout instead of the generic square boxes that practically every game in the SRPG subgenre uses. After all this is supposed to be an unsung story, not a story that's been told many times before.