The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

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The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by sear » February 12th, 2016, 3:04 pm

Today we have a new update from the NOLA office including the game's production status, a new screenshot, and a huge lore update from writer Nathan Long.

Image

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/in ... ts/1490489
Religion of the Fichti

Unlike the other peoples of Caith, the Fichti worship actual entities, not abstractions or totems. Grandmother River is a major river that runs through their lands. Mother Hazel and Father Oak are actual and particular hazel and oak trees, giants of their kind. Likewise, the animal gods who are the children of Hazel and Oak are actual and particular animals who live in the Fichti's forests - nigh-immortal animals of unusual size and supernatural powers - but animals none the less, that live and sleep and hunt and can be seen in the real world.

This makes the Fichti especially protective of their lands and secret places, because their gods can be destroyed, and if their gods are destroyed their culture dies - and if their culture dies, they believe they will die as well.

The Fichti's religious leaders are all women, known as Sisters of the Sacred Grove, which is the grove where the two massive trees, Mother Hazel and Father Oak, face each other across a bend in Grandmother River in which is reflected Grandfather Sky. Thus all four of the prime gods are present in the glade, making it the holiest of holy places. This is where the leadership of the Sisterhood live and train young women to become priestesses, and since many of the mysteries there are not to be seen by men, the guardians of the grove are Spear Daughters, young women of a martial nature who are also trained there.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 12th, 2016, 6:58 pm

Einarr... like Einherjar, Norse heroes who died in battle. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einherjar)

Norn... like Norseman/Norman, but perhaps not like the Norns of Norse myth. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norsemen)

Fichti... living in part of what is now Scotland, known to the Romans as Picti (the Painted People). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picts)
'P' and 'F' are related consonantal phonemes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internati ... Consonants), often through 'PH'.
Matriarchy... the Picts are believed to have practiced matrilineal succession to their thrones. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picts#Kings_and_kingdoms)
Caith... Cait or modern Caithness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Cat)

Dael... perhaps like Gael (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaels) or as in Dal Riada (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A1l_Riata), a Gaelic kingdom

Not hugely original, I must say - the ties to our world's history and geography are too obvious.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 12th, 2016, 7:22 pm

Should also add that the bit about the Fichti religious leaders being women and the bit about the Spear Daughters sounds pretty close to the Aiel from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books. (http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Aiel, http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Far_Dareis_Mai)

And, the practice of killing boys who show magic potential sounds like what was practiced in lands dominated by the Aes Sedai in those same books. And, of course, Robert Jordan probably stole the Aes Sedai name from Gaelic folklore and myth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aos_S%C3%AD). Full circle back to our world again.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by kilobug » February 13th, 2016, 12:22 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Not hugely original, I must say - the ties to our world's history and geography are too obvious.
Isn't that the goal ? The Bard's Tale is supposed to dwell heavily into celtic (and related) lore, and that's good. Sometimes it's great to create a fully original and weird world (like Planescape did, or Numenéra does), but sometimes it's also fine to dwell into the very rich cultural history of humanity.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Sacred_Path » February 13th, 2016, 2:19 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Not hugely original, I must say - the ties to our world's history and geography are too obvious.
so obvious as to be intentionally obvious ;)

It's not inherently worse than pulling an entirely fictional setting out of your arse - and it certainly sounds more interesting than, say, Pillars of Eternity's setting, where the semi-historical elements were too sparse and didn't result in a coherent picture.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by ZiN » February 13th, 2016, 2:38 am

kilobug wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Not hugely original, I must say - the ties to our world's history and geography are too obvious.
Isn't that the goal ? The Bard's Tale is supposed to dwell heavily into celtic (and related) lore, and that's good. Sometimes it's great to create a fully original and weird world (like Planescape did, or Numenéra does), but sometimes it's also fine to dwell into the very rich cultural history of humanity.
Nope, i think Bard's Tale IV should rather dwell on Bard's Tale "lore" and not Celtic (and related) lore. The originals never had to do anything with the rich cultural story of humanity, save for some heavily abstract moments, like traveling time and dimensions in BT3 to visit the great battles on Earth and beyond.

As _noblesse_oblige_ nicely pointed out, this isn't too original even though trying hard to be. Where is the connection to the original trilogy? I read absolutely nothing that gives me the "Bard's Tale vibe". What i get is (rather clumsy) alternate Celtic mythology and history, mixed with popular new-school fantasy vibes.

So instead of Fichti and Einarr, here are some stuff i'd like to read about:

- The rebuilding of Skara Brae after Tarjan's demise, the ascendancy of the heroes and what happened to the remnants of evil.
- Kinestia and the fate of the dwarves and machines.
- Chronomancy and the use / risks of time and dimension traveling magics.
- The story of Tangramayne and its location in the world.
- Ecology of Slathbeasts, Nefasts, Ingroids and other unique Bard's Tale life-forms.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Sacred_Path » February 13th, 2016, 3:19 am

It seems pretty obvious by now they're not doing a rehash of old plots flavored with 80's sensibilities.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by kaiman » February 13th, 2016, 4:57 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Should also add that the bit about the Fichti religious leaders being women and the bit about the Spear Daughters sounds pretty close to the Aiel from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books. (http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Aiel, http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Far_Dareis_Mai)

And, the practice of killing boys who show magic potential sounds like what was practiced in lands dominated by the Aes Sedai in those same books. And, of course, Robert Jordan probably stole the Aes Sedai name from Gaelic folklore and myth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aos_S%C3%AD). Full circle back to our world again.
That's exactly what came to my mind as well, and I came here to write something similar. Note that I do not necessarily think that this is bad, it just sticks out. I guess there is only so much variety in fantasy (and real world history) that similarities with previous works are hard to avoid, especially if both draw from the same source of inspiration.

What concerns me a bit, however, is that this is quite a lot of background for a game such as Bards Tale. With so much details, I guess it's safe to assume that we do not simply trek through the forest, slaughtering Fichti left and right.
Sacred_Path wrote:It seems pretty obvious by now they're not doing a rehash of old plots flavored with 80's sensibilities.
I somehow get the impression that they are expanding on the game mechanics and gameplay elements, too. Hope this is all just for flavour and the final result will still have close ties to the originals, both regarding lore and mechanics.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 13th, 2016, 8:55 am

kilobug wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Not hugely original, I must say - the ties to our world's history and geography are too obvious.
Isn't that the goal ? The Bard's Tale is supposed to dwell heavily into celtic (and related) lore, and that's good. Sometimes it's great to create a fully original and weird world (like Planescape did, or Numenéra does), but sometimes it's also fine to dwell into the very rich cultural history of humanity.
Sacred_Path wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Not hugely original, I must say - the ties to our world's history and geography are too obvious.
so obvious as to be intentionally obvious ;)

It's not inherently worse than pulling an entirely fictional setting out of your arse - and it certainly sounds more interesting than, say, Pillars of Eternity's setting, where the semi-historical elements were too sparse and didn't result in a coherent picture.
A few points:
  • About the only connection the original game had to the Celtic and Nordic history of our world was the name Skara Brae, an archaeological site in the Orkneys. Aside from that, it was a pure fantasy setting.
  • What inXile's intent is and what my desires are are clearly two different things. ;) I would prefer the retention of a pure fantasy setting and would like them to stop trying to tie into Celtic and Nordic myth and folklore. I will continue to protest this and certain other design decisions until they either acquiesce to my demands :!: or I decide that it is an exercise in futility to continue.
  • If inXile is going to draw clear connections to our world, then why do it in a half-assed manner? Why not actually use words like Picts and Norse? Turn this into historical fantasy with high fantasy elements rather than high fantasy with barely-masked historical and geographical elements.
  • I actually am not a fan of a large background story for this particular game. Having an evil wizard to defeat is actually sufficient, imo. I would rather inXile spent the money on developers and artists rather than writers.
ZiN wrote:Where is the connection to the original trilogy? I read absolutely nothing that gives me the "Bard's Tale vibe". What i get is (rather clumsy) alternate Celtic mythology and history, mixed with popular new-school fantasy vibes.
Exactly.
ZiN wrote: - The story of Tangramayne and its location in the world.
Yeah, I would heartily support additional exploration of Tangramayne.
kaiman wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Should also add that the bit about the Fichti religious leaders being women and the bit about the Spear Daughters sounds pretty close to the Aiel from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books. (http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Aiel, http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Far_Dareis_Mai)

And, the practice of killing boys who show magic potential sounds like what was practiced in lands dominated by the Aes Sedai in those same books. And, of course, Robert Jordan probably stole the Aes Sedai name from Gaelic folklore and myth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aos_S%C3%AD). Full circle back to our world again.
That's exactly what came to my mind as well, and I came here to write something similar. Note that I do not necessarily think that this is bad, it just sticks out. I guess there is only so much variety in fantasy (and real world history) that similarities with previous works are hard to avoid, especially if both draw from the same source of inspiration.
You have a fair point. As time goes on and the corpus of fantasy works becomes larger, avoiding redundancy is harder and harder. That said, I probably could've hacked this backstory together in an afternoon. If inXile is going to employ the services of a professional writer for this game, then I think that they could at least take it to the next level. Robert Jordan clearly drew upon a number of myths and ethnic stereotypes when creating the world of the Wheel of Time, but it was much harder to draw parallels there because of the way he snipped various ethnic characteristics and story pieces and created fresh, new hybrids from them and because the geography of his world was significantly different.
kaiman wrote: What concerns me a bit, however, is that this is quite a lot of background for a game such as Bards Tale. With so much details, I guess it's safe to assume that we do not simply trek through the forest, slaughtering Fichti left and right.
Sacred_Path wrote:It seems pretty obvious by now they're not doing a rehash of old plots flavored with 80's sensibilities.
I somehow get the impression that they are expanding on the game mechanics and gameplay elements, too. Hope this is all just for flavour and the final result will still have close ties to the originals, both regarding lore and mechanics.
As do I.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Crosmando » February 13th, 2016, 11:26 am

Not much in the way of new concrete information about the game, not really interested in the lore.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Sacred_Path » February 13th, 2016, 11:33 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote: [*] What inXile's intent is and what my desires are are clearly two different things. ;) I would prefer the retention of a pure fantasy setting and would like them to stop trying to tie into Celtic and Nordic myth and folklore. I will continue to protest this and certain other design decisions until they either acquiesce to my demands :!: or I decide that it is an exercise in futility to continue.
Uhm... did the Julie Fowlis thing work out? Because if it did, I'd assume the Celtic references are pretty much set in stone.
[*] If inXile is going to draw clear connections to our world, then why do it in a half-assed manner? Why not actually use words like Picts and Norse? Turn this into historical fantasy with high fantasy elements rather than high fantasy with barely-masked historical and geographical elements.
That sounds like something reminiscent of Spiderweb Software's Nethergate. It didn't work particularly well there IMO, too many fantasy elements make the historical aspects seem silly, and BOY do we want a heap of fantasy elements in this game. Ultra powerful Bard's Tale spells + historical Picts and Norsemen? Sounds weird.
[*] I actually am not a fan of a large background story for this particular game. Having an evil wizard to defeat is actually sufficient, imo. I would rather inXile spent the money on developers and artists rather than writers.[/list]
Certainly understandable, I like a dungeon crawl as much as the next guy. But, I really expect more from an InXile game than Legend of Grimrock 3. I'd play the game for deep mechanics alone, but we do have indie games for that nowadays, where it's usually out of scope of the project to focus both on story and mechanics.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Drool » February 13th, 2016, 11:36 am

Sacred_Path wrote:It seems pretty obvious by now they're not doing a rehash of old plots flavored with 80's sensibilities.
Yeah. Whereas many of us would like an actual sequel, not a sequel in name only.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 13th, 2016, 12:12 pm

Sacred_Path wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote: What inXile's intent is and what my desires are are clearly two different things. ;) I would prefer the retention of a pure fantasy setting and would like them to stop trying to tie into Celtic and Nordic myth and folklore. I will continue to protest this and certain other design decisions until they either acquiesce to my demands :!: or I decide that it is an exercise in futility to continue.
Uhm... did the Julie Fowlis thing work out? Because if it did, I'd assume the Celtic references are pretty much set in stone.
I have no idea whether that is still happening or not. Presumably she can sing in Gaelic about non-Gaelic things. Or even about Gaelic things and most people would be none the wiser. Having pretty music sung in a particular language is fine.
Sacred_Path wrote:
If inXile is going to draw clear connections to our world, then why do it in a half-assed manner? Why not actually use words like Picts and Norse? Turn this into historical fantasy with high fantasy elements rather than high fantasy with barely-masked historical and geographical elements.
That sounds like something reminiscent of Spiderweb Software's Nethergate. It didn't work particularly well there IMO, too many fantasy elements make the historical aspects seem silly, and BOY do we want a heap of fantasy elements in this game. Ultra powerful Bard's Tale spells + historical Picts and Norsemen? Sounds weird.
Bard's Tale spells plus pseudo-Picts and pseudo-Norse also feel weird. Which is what I am getting at. I would rather that they just dropped the whole Gaels, Norse, and Picts thing altogether. But, if they are going to keep it, then I don't see much difference between "my Pictish axeman just repelled a dragon's breath" and "my Pictish, *cough* I mean Fichti, Spear Daughter just repelled a dragon's breath".
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Themadcow » February 14th, 2016, 12:36 am

One of the team replied in the Kickstarter comments to say that there would be a combat update but it wasn't ready yet :

"we will have more on combat. There is some awesome stuff coming that we want to share with you, but it is not ready just yet"
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Sacred_Path » February 14th, 2016, 8:48 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:I have no idea whether that is still happening or not. Presumably she can sing in Gaelic about non-Gaelic things. Or even about Gaelic things and most people would be none the wiser. Having pretty music sung in a particular language is fine.
THAT would really be misspent money though, wouldn't it? ;)
Bard's Tale spells plus pseudo-Picts and pseudo-Norse also feel weird. Which is what I am getting at. I would rather that they just dropped the whole Gaels, Norse, and Picts thing altogether. But, if they are going to keep it, then I don't see much difference between "my Pictish axeman just repelled a dragon's breath" and "my Pictish, *cough* I mean Fichti, Spear Daughter just repelled a dragon's breath".
IIRC (and without consulting wikipedia ;) ) not much about Pictish culture is known though. So there's a lot of room for fiction and imagination - in which case, it's better to go with a purportedly "fictional" people, rather than making up a culture and then slapping the name Pictish on it.

I can understand though that real world references in fantasy writing don't work well for some (or a lot) of people. I find the writing so far to be tasteful, and not in-your-face.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 14th, 2016, 11:38 am

Sacred_Path wrote:
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:I have no idea whether that is still happening or not. Presumably she can sing in Gaelic about non-Gaelic things. Or even about Gaelic things and most people would be none the wiser. Having pretty music sung in a particular language is fine.
THAT would really be misspent money though, wouldn't it? ;)
Hmm... would it be? I am not sure I follow your argument. Are you saying that if the purpose for which Julie Fowlis was hired was removed, then it would be a waste to still have her music in the game? I am arguing that having pretty folk music, which just happens to be Gaelic in origin, would be fine in the game, regardless of whether the game is Gaelic-themed.

In the Dominions games, Swedish folk music, produced by a group called Draam (http://www.draam.com/engindex.htm, http://www.draam.com/engmusik.htm), is used for the sound tracks, even though the games have very little to do with Nordic myth or folklore. (There are three nations, based on Nordic myth, out of something like thirty plus nations (closer to seventy, if you count the nations of each era separately). And, unlike BT4, the designers didn't bother with thinly-disguised name changes to mask the identities of those nations. For example, the Jotnar of Jotunheim are indeed the giants (jotnar) of Nordic myth. Jarls are jarls. Etc....) As it turns out, the music from Draam is highly suitable for the game, regardless of the fact that about the only thing truly Swedish about the game is that it is developed by a couple of guys in Sweden.
Sacred_Path wrote:
Bard's Tale spells plus pseudo-Picts and pseudo-Norse also feel weird. Which is what I am getting at. I would rather that they just dropped the whole Gaels, Norse, and Picts thing altogether. But, if they are going to keep it, then I don't see much difference between "my Pictish axeman just repelled a dragon's breath" and "my Pictish, *cough* I mean Fichti, Spear Daughter just repelled a dragon's breath".
IIRC (and without consulting wikipedia ;) ) not much about Pictish culture is known though. So there's a lot of room for fiction and imagination - in which case, it's better to go with a purportedly "fictional" people, rather than making up a culture and then slapping the name Pictish on it.
True that not so much is known about the Picts, but the connection between the Fichti and the Picts is too obvious, especially in context of their neighbors, the Einarr (Norse colonists) and Dael (Gaels). Also, there is enough known about the Picts that one can pick out parallels from the real world. I've already mentioned the matrilineal succession and matriarchy correlation and the Caith and Caithness correlation.
Sacred_Path wrote: I can understand though that real world references in fantasy writing don't work well for some (or a lot) of people. I find the writing so far to be tasteful, and not in-your-face.
I am not necessarily offended by the writing so much as I simply don't want it in this particular game, if it is being advertised as the successor to the original three games.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Drool » February 14th, 2016, 11:41 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:True that not so much is known about the Picts, but the connection between the Fichti and the Picts is too obvious, especially in context of their neighbors, the Einarr (Norse colonists) and Dael (Gaels).
The more I look at it, the more I think it's because it's so obvious, especially Dael/Gael. I mean, they just changed one letter there. If you want to transpose the Picts, the Norse and the Gaels, that's fine, but at least be subtle about it. I'd expect more from Ethan Distance.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 14th, 2016, 11:47 am

Drool wrote: I'd expect more from Ethan Distance.
:lol:

I see what you did there. But, yes, that actually gave me a brief pause, where I thought, "who.. oh, I get it". Didn't have that pause with the Fichti or the Dael.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by Sacred_Path » February 14th, 2016, 3:01 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:Hmm... would it be? I am not sure I follow your argument. Are you saying that if the purpose for which Julie Fowlis was hired was removed, then it would be a waste to still have her music in the game? I am arguing that having pretty folk music, which just happens to be Gaelic in origin, would be fine in the game, regardless of whether the game is Gaelic-themed.

In the Dominions games, Swedish folk music, produced by a group called Draam (http://www.draam.com/engindex.htm, http://www.draam.com/engmusik.htm), is used for the sound tracks, even though the games have very little to do with Nordic myth or folklore. (There are three nations, based on Nordic myth, out of something like thirty plus nations (closer to seventy, if you count the nations of each era separately). And, unlike BT4, the designers didn't bother with thinly-disguised name changes to mask the identities of those nations. For example, the Jotnar of Jotunheim are indeed the giants (jotnar) of Nordic myth. Jarls are jarls. Etc....) As it turns out, the music from Draam is highly suitable for the game, regardless of the fact that about the only thing truly Swedish about the game is that it is developed by a couple of guys in Sweden.
"Guys, we just hired a famous musician for the soundtrack! Her music has absolutely nothing to do with the game. However, it sounds pretty!" I can see the reactions to THAT.

They could put a Norwegian black metal band in charge of the soundtrack for all I care, as long as they don't pay for it. But there's more to it; you can take the argument both ways. The fact that they spent additional funds on this shows their earnestness in creating a semi-historical setting. It's not gonna be a hack job, and this updates reassures of me of that.
True that not so much is known about the Picts, but the connection between the Fichti and the Picts is too obvious, especially in context of their neighbors, the Einarr (Norse colonists) and Dael (Gaels). Also, there is enough known about the Picts that one can pick out parallels from the real world. I've already mentioned the matrilineal succession and matriarchy correlation and the Caith and Caithness correlation.
I'm not arguing that they didn't try to establish parallels to the Picts. What I'm saying is that it would be somewhat in pure taste to create a fictional people in a fantasy game, and then slap a historical name on it, be it Celts, Teutons or Scythians. Not to mention that, from what I gather, such an approach would be even worse in your eyes (farther removed from the original games).

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 27: NOLA Office Update, Production Status, and the Fichti

Post by sear » February 14th, 2016, 3:17 pm

Themadcow wrote:One of the team replied in the Kickstarter comments to say that there would be a combat update but it wasn't ready yet :

"we will have more on combat. There is some awesome stuff coming that we want to share with you, but it is not ready just yet"
That was me. Right now we are in a state where a lot of cool stuff is being done but it's still too early to share. ;)

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