Unsung Story Battle Designer Wants Enemy Behaviour To Be Unpredictable

By Ishaan . May 27, 2014 . 4:31pm

News of Unsung Story, a tactical RPG being developed by Playdek in collaboration with Yasumi Matsuno, has been fairly quiet ever since the game’s Kickstarter campaign ended a few months ago. In a recent Q&A, however, the game’s battle designer answered a few questions about the battle system you’ll see in the game.


Christophe Boelinger, who is serving as “Game Battle Designer” on Unsung Story, says that the game will feature unpredictable opponents, rather than enemies that simply follow a static script of coding.


“I think we should follow the rules of life. When you are facing an opponent you can never be sure of his reactions or his future course of actions,” Boelinger says. “Of course judging from his look or outfit you can have a good guess on how he should try to act. But if he always acts the same way, where’s the fun? And most of all, where are the surprises?”


“So to my POV I would say that most units will react according to their class or sub-class, but every now and then they could and should go for another direction / type of action that will totally surprise the player. And that’s real life again!”


Boelinger also says he isn’t a fan of situations where one or two strategies tend to be the best solutions throughout the entire game, rendering any other tactic pointless.


“I think the variety of scenarios, objectives, missions, and classes and sub-classes evolution should bring sufficient challenges and choices to avoid that,” says Boelinger. “Each scenario should place the player in front of difficult situations that he should have to adapt to. Trying the same strategy on each and every scenario should tend to fail at some point.”


He adds later, “Once the basics are acquired, I would like the players to be successful in their mission only after a few tries, not right from the start. The players should learn from every failed attempt and try again while changing their strategy, deployment, selection of troops, etc…”


Finally, Boelinger also comments on how much the game’s battle system and its story will tie into one another. Unsung Story’s world and characters are being designed by Tactics Ogre creator Yasumi Matsuno, while Boelinger is working on the game’s mechanics.


“So for each story or scenario that Matsuno creates, my goal is to adapt it as best as possible, bringing a new twist and challenge to the player for each one of those scenarios,” he says. “I will create and input little twists that will surprise the player and always push them to review their strategy and experiment new tactics.”


Unsung Story is in development for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Windows Tablet devices.

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  • BlueTree

    “You can never be sure of his actions”

    I’m feeling very worried about where my money just went.

    • God

      Wasn’t there supposed to be a console release anyways? Or did i back them up for no real reason?

      • mikebrand83

        The stretch goals, after they’ve revised the PS Vita and 3DS stretch goals closer to the top (the “top” being the $600k base goal):
        $1m – PS Vita
        $1.25m – PS4
        $1.5m – 3DS

        … The funding only reached $660k, and even PayPal is unlikely to push it past $700k at best.

        • BlueTree

          I get that some people want super realism in their game or variables… but I think those goals would be against the design I expect of a game with Matsuno’s name branding it. Frankly, it sounds incredibly stressful (and stupid) to have variable AI like that because it only makes me think of stress factors like RNG or games that read your inputs.

          I am by no means a completionist or speed runner or w/e. I just don’t typically associate someone talking about realism in terms of reacting to the player with anything but tedium. And tedium is something I have very little patience for.

        • God


    • Morgan Rodgers

      I do like the concept of this. I love Fire Emblem, but it is always kind of annoying how predictable the AI can be (though I would settle for some more intelligent AI over something random or variable).

      • BlueTree

        I’m a bit concerned, since I do enjoy being able to glean some form of mastery over my game. I don’t view “predictability” in and of itself a bad thing. But the strategies in Fire Emblem to me can be a bit different in my mind than something like Tactics Ogre. Either way, I really just want them to avoid making something tedious.

        If I have to to through a battle multiple times to understand it as he says, the problem isn’t that I’m necessarily doing that, it’s that I have only so much time to dedicate to a game like that and that wasn’t the impression I had when I handed over my money.

  • Luis Camargo


    If this is in the same league as the original Final Fantasy Tactics it will be incredible.

    • Kaetsu

      I honestly don’t see that happening. Matsuno seems to be less connected to this project then you think. He’s only supervising it. He’s not a game designer or a producer for this game.

      • Luis Camargo

        Did not know that. But he is creating the story and scenario even by being only a supervisor ? Seems odd.

        • Yause

          He’s not a supervisor but rather an external contractor for the original concept and scenario.

          Part of Playdek’s process involves requests for feedback as they make changes and evolve the design. In that sense, he’s sort of a supervisor, but it’s ultimately a contractor/client relationship (I suppose it’s like hiring a music composer; as a contractual term, you can request that the composer advise you on how to handle music placement as development progresses. Or you might just throw everything out if the compositions are unsatisfactory).

      • Shiki

        This is why I didn’t support this game. Matsuno is almost some figure head they paid to get fanboys to go crazy about, while the executive decisions are being made by Chris Boelinger and the Playdek crew.
        I’ll just play FFTactics on my iOS and wait for another strategy RPG.

        • mikebrand83

          Their continued unwillingness to simply admit that their “triangular tiles” actually turns out in practice to just be inverted hex grids, doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence about the direction of the project, either.

          • Morgan Rodgers

            Exactly. They seem to think it is some revolutionary system when it is completely equivalent to hexes. I do think some aspects of the game look like they could have some promise though.

        • rurifan

          It really seemed to me they were deliberately misleading people to drum up funding. I thought the KS failed, honestly…

  • Ethan_Twain

    You know, I think this article should be credited to me instead of Ishaan. That last question about narrative integration into the strategy side of the game was mine :P Basically it’s an interview done by me. Basically.

    • Shippoyasha

      Hey, we all love both of y’all. =)

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Ishaan will make up for it by tagging his in depth review and analysis of the Is the Order A Rabbit anime with your name.

  • chibidw

    They haven’t been all that quiet… they update about once a week on their Kickstarter page.

  • AJ

    “I think we should follow the rules of life. When you are facing an opponent you can never be sure of his reactions or his future course of actions…”

    I hope this means that all enemies have a .001% chance of pulling out a selection of cheeses and loudly commenting on the proper wine pairings.

    • That’d be cool. Or a .0001% chance that one of them is Tim Curry talking (and recruitable if talked to).

  • Chunky

    I just hope they have a proper AI. Not like an enemy mage suddenly going melee with their staff because that is stupid(unless the mage is out of casts/mana/whatever).

  • Slickyslacker

    Nearly forgot this is a thing. I thought about it recently, but couldn’t remember the name.

  • Ferofax

    I’m a melee warrior, about to beat your high horse to the ground, but RNG dictates I should throw a potion at one of your guys.

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