Playdek has run into a major problem: they don't appear to have the funds to finish Unsung Story. Part of the team has moved on from the project to work on something else and in result, development has been halted... indefinitely.
Eurogamer picked up the news from a Kickstarter post that was published a few days ago, where the developers made the tough decision to break the news to backers, stating...
While the development goals that were spelled out in the previous update remain intact for now, the release window of those goals is affected, and at this time we do not have an update as to what the new release window for development rollout will be. This will be affected by the ability and timing of any outside support, as well as when the single internal team is able to get back onto Unsung development, and when we do know, we will update you all.
This puts the $660,000 tactical RPG on hiatus... again.
Unsung Story was supposed to be out back in July of 2015, but it clearly missed its development deadline. In place of releasing the game, there was a two-month late update on the Kickstarter page letting gamers know that Unsung Story was running into development hurdles and that it was not on track for release as scheduled.
In fact, the last couple of updates reveal that Playdek has done little more than announce delays for the project. To be fair, they did roll out a roadmap on what sort of development schedule they planned to utilize to complete the game, but in the most recent update, they reveal that the previous roadmap had to be scrapped because some of the “key staff members” have left the team. The post doesn't reveal if it was over creative or financial differences.
In the interim, the developers note that they will be focusing on another smaller project in order to stay afloat. Unsung Story is now being put on the back burner and there's no telling when it'll come off.
There is some small hope, however, and it's that Playdek is seeking external help from outside resources to either financially pick up the pieces or lend a hand with the actual development. Back in September of 2015, they noted that they were seeking investment funds from publishers, which would have turned the project into a traditional publisher/developer deal. Some other Kickstarter projects attempted to do the same but it's been rare that they worked out, with the exception of the Oculus Rift.
This is not surprising given that some Kickstarter projects do take a bullet and they don't always fulfill their obligations. Some games come close to the finish line like Woolfe: Red Hood Diaries, but the developers didn't have enough to fulfill all the backer rewards. Rebellion eventually stepped in to help out, but not every Kickstarter project gets an angel.
In some cases, like The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, they were actually found to be partaking in fraud. The FTC stepped in to force them to pay a fine for defrauding backers.
In the case of Unsung Story, it doesn't sound so much like the developers are trying to defraud backers so much as they didn't count the cost of what it would take to bring the Kickstarter project to life. The turn-based strategy game will now languish in development hell for who knows how long, but hopefully Playdek will be able to return to the game and finish it off at some point in the future.