The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Announcements & media coverage pertaining to Bard's Tale IV. Only moderators & inXile can make new threads on this forum.

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demeisen
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 3rd, 2017, 7:43 pm

thebruce wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 7:22 pm
What I'm advocating for is a mechanic that is keyboard-friendly ...

Get the core game mechanic theme down first, then find out how graphics and sound and complexity can enhance all that without fundamentally altering it. Own the style. An independent title has more room to create a unique style; a sequel has a history, a brand, an existing theme to draw from.
I'm certainly in agreement with all that. Keyboard friendly, yes please. And totally agreed that an indie or small studio title has a lot more room to find its own road. Particularly, to stay far away from the AAA-studio RPGs that play exactly like an FPS, but where you shoot a fireball instead of a rifle.

I get the sense they are indeed trying to get their game mechanics down first, at least as much as that's practical. E.g, they've talked about playing around with mechanics in a tabletop sense to work out the core of a fun system. Of course when the rubber meets the pixels, there will always be things to fine tune, or change what seemed like a good idea but wasn't once you saw it in game.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 3rd, 2017, 7:58 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 5:48 pm
I would rather see BT4 closely match the originals in terms of mechanics, at first, as that can help recapture the essence of the originals.
Have you seen Devil Whiskey? If not, you might want to check it out. Very BT1-ish. Bet you'd like it.

I suspect the problem with "closely matching the originals in terms of mechanics" (aside from that it's way too late now to change course) would be down to commercial viability. On a small enough scale like DW you can manage, but InExile, I dunno... they're a medium sized studio with the associated expenses, top tier developers to pay, etc. You'd get some nostalgia driven sales, but I'd be surprised if it did very well without some significant changes to how the originals worked.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by thebruce » May 3rd, 2017, 8:08 pm

And that's why this was a Kickstarter :) Ideally, it's already paid for, so the primary focus isn't recouping development costs, and the goal is providing the product that the backers were backing. Market it as a return to the Bard's Tale world, and the classic theme and mechanics is certainly more important. If they were developing it in-studio, they'd have more sway in that regard. If the project was advertised as the next sequel, and supported as such, and they stray too far from that, then it a) either won't be nearly as successful as intended or b) will leave the supporters to essentially made the project possible feeling abandoned and duped.

I certainly don't envy inXile's position, having to find that balance point between "Bard's Tale brand nostalgia" and "successful modern RPG". :lol:
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 3rd, 2017, 9:06 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 7:58 pm
Have you seen Devil Whiskey? If not, you might want to check it out. Very BT1-ish. Bet you'd like it.
It's what I would have wanted. 8-)
Image
I suspect the problem with "closely matching the originals in terms of mechanics" (aside from that it's way too late now to change course) would be down to commercial viability. On a small enough scale like DW you can manage, but InExile, I dunno... they're a medium sized studio with the associated expenses, top tier developers to pay, etc. You'd get some nostalgia driven sales, but I'd be surprised if it did very well without some significant changes to how the originals worked.
Except that the title was pre-funded, and that includes their markup. The core audience paid for it in advance. It's already sold.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Crosmando » May 4th, 2017, 12:54 am

demeisen wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 7:58 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 5:48 pm
I would rather see BT4 closely match the originals in terms of mechanics, at first, as that can help recapture the essence of the originals.
Have you seen Devil Whiskey? If not, you might want to check it out. Very BT1-ish. Bet you'd like it.

I suspect the problem with "closely matching the originals in terms of mechanics" (aside from that it's way too late now to change course) would be down to commercial viability. On a small enough scale like DW you can manage, but InExile, I dunno... they're a medium sized studio with the associated expenses, top tier developers to pay, etc. You'd get some nostalgia driven sales, but I'd be surprised if it did very well without some significant changes to how the originals worked.
Well considering that DW was by far the highest budget Bard's Tale clone ever made, I would hope that the BT4 devs might want to at least read the manual and play it through once, it has a lot of ideas and concepts which could be useful for BT4.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Yokohamalama » May 4th, 2017, 4:06 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 9:06 pm
It's what I would have wanted. 8-)
Image
This clean and sober UI is really tempting. However nowadays I'd expect "visual attack effects" and "visual subtraction of healthpoints" instead of a pure textwall. Also the party formation should be visible somewhere. But this could be combined like this:

Image

The text area on the right could stay and be used for... text, log messages, map, inventory, character equipments or so.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 4th, 2017, 10:13 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 9:06 pm
Except that the title was pre-funded, and that includes their markup. The core audience paid for it in advance. It's already sold.
Maybe, but all the more reason to not stray too far from the KS teasers - of course while realizing that was very early work and things always change as development hits reality. They did put some concept work out there to see which didn't look anything like a DW-style BT1 clone. I backed the KS while knowing that it wouldn't be another BT1. I think if they changed the direction too much after the KS finished, a lot of backers would be unhappy.

Anyway... I absolutely do empathize with wanting different directions than actually end up happening. E.g, I'm pretty sure BT4 is going to be different from my ideal in some ways that are important to me, e.g, around the "unit of strategic consideration" (not sure how to phrase the concept succinctly). Trouble is, if they did what I would hope for, they'd probably alienate too many potential customers.

(This thread does have wanting to go play DW again though! Last time I tried was right after it released and it was unstable and crashed way too much to be playable. Maybe it's better now...)

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 4th, 2017, 2:45 pm

I'd be fine with a simple text list for the party; and it could show the PC's picture (or even just their archetype) when clicked.

(But I understand that they already rely on iconography for party positioning in combat.)

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Lucius » May 4th, 2017, 3:25 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 9:06 pm
Except that the title was pre-funded, and that includes their markup. The core audience paid for it in advance. It's already sold.
While this is true, every Kickstarted game they've made, they have shot for being at least somewhat commercially viable. I don't think this contradicts their statements in not having to market to the mass market. That's true, but I think they will make games they want to play, which most people, those games are going to be somewhat commercially viable. I think there would be a very, very small percentage of people who play PC games that would want a Devil's Whiskey-esque BTIV. Thus, I'd say there are probably very, very few people on the dev team that would want to make that game, given the option to make something more elaborate instead.

I doubt the question "is this feature commercially viable?" ever comes in the development cycle. But those features are being decided by people who undoubtedly have been influenced by commercial games, thus their opinion of which is more fun will be influenced by those interactions as well.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 4th, 2017, 4:15 pm

Lucius wrote:
May 4th, 2017, 3:25 pm
I think there would be a very, very small percentage of people who play PC games that would want a Devil's Whiskey-esque BTIV.
Oh I agree, and I have said the same of Fallout [and FO3]... but that just means that it's not commercially viable —to do it right. :twisted:
Hence one shouldn't really do it at all, not if they aren't going to really do it. But if they had to conform it [FO3]... then they should have given it a different name [than Fallout #3].

Bethesda's FO3 is a great TES re-skin, but it didn't need the Fallout license, or to permanently occupy the #3 and #4 slots in the Fallout series with practically unrelated games that have precious little to show of the series' name and reputation. They could have sold it as Tamriel in an alternate Earth 1940s [and have the setting cost them nothing]; would it have sold any different? They didn't use the Fallout license for anything but a [radically skewed] slice of the setting and a couple of names [they re-did all the art].
*A setting that most of their player-base [and some of their own developers] had probably never heard of.

Basically the only people that could be disappointed with it were those that understood the source material for it; and they get labeled hardcore grognards. :(

What Bethesda did was quite akin to selling Nutella re-branded in a Vegemite jar to people that wouldn't know the difference.
[...and got high praise for it]

Bard's Tale 4 could have just as easily been called "The Bard" —provided the availability of the name. Image
Their last Bard's game was a spin off too; and so is this one, it would seem. [This doesn't diminish it]

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 4th, 2017, 5:14 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 7:58 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 5:48 pm
I would rather see BT4 closely match the originals in terms of mechanics, at first, as that can help recapture the essence of the originals.
Have you seen Devil Whiskey? If not, you might want to check it out. Very BT1-ish. Bet you'd like it.
Haha. Of course I've played Devil Whiskey. I think you'll find that a good portion of the diehard fans of the original BT series on this forum have. ;)
If I owned an Apple mobile device, I would've played Silver Sword too.
demeisen wrote:
May 3rd, 2017, 7:58 pm
I suspect the problem with "closely matching the originals in terms of mechanics" (aside from that it's way too late now to change course) would be down to commercial viability.
You're not the first person to make that argument in this forum. Significant threads of conversation have revolved around this topic. I'm here to advocate for what I want to see in a game that bears the Bard's Tale name. I'm not that blind that I haven't noticed that inXile isn't moving in a direction very compatible with my desires. That it appears a lost cause does not deter me. I'll probably bow out at some point... but not today.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Lucius » May 4th, 2017, 6:16 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 4th, 2017, 4:15 pm
Bard's Tale 4 could have just as easily been called "The Bard" —provided the availability of the name. Image
Their last Bard's game was a spin off too; and so is this one, it would seem. [This doesn't diminish it]
Yes I definitely agree with where you are coming from with this. InXile seems to have a problem with making direct sequels to old games. Honestly, this is why most old games shouldn't actually be given sequels, but reboots. If you want a commercial product, and not take some extreme internet hate, a reboot or spinoff is the only way. Doom is a great example of this. Tomb Raider an even better example. Wolfenstein as well to some extent. And then XCOM to a lesser extent (regarding internet hate anyways). InXile should have done this with both WL and BT series. Just reboot it. Regarding BTIV, that is EXACTLY what it is, a reboot, from what I can tell of it so far. Story-wise, obviously we don't know yet.

Fortunately it seems they are moving away now from sequels to classics and into, sequels to sequels of classics? Either way, their next batch of games should be more of a known quantity going forward.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Cappy » May 4th, 2017, 8:43 pm

I don't believe the kickstarter covered even half this game's budget. Pretty sure most of their funds come from game sales. So no, I don't think it wise for them to completely ignore market viability. I just think it would be better they strove to make BTIV a fun well-designed game rather than just a nostalgia trip. Not that they should just ignored the originals( It wouldn't be much of a sequel at that point), but that they should keep the good and replace the bad. Luckily for me it appears that's their design philosophy.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 4th, 2017, 11:21 pm

Cappy wrote:
May 4th, 2017, 8:43 pm
I don't believe the kickstarter covered even half this game's budget. Pretty sure most of their funds come from game sales. So no, I don't think it wise for them to completely ignore market viability.
However... I'd think that the Kickstarter funds were far more than they'd need to create a game like Devil Whiskey. :D
I just think it would be better they strove to make BTIV a fun well-designed game rather than just a nostalgia trip.
And so the question is... Why then call it Bard's Tale 4? [Instead of some other name that sounds fun and/or loosely related]

I think that any new game of any type is a grand thing, but that an official sequel to an established series... inherently cannot be just any kind of game that happens to be fun & well designed; nor qualify for just making allusions and minor references to the earlier games. Mechanics matter.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Cappy » May 5th, 2017, 4:59 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 4th, 2017, 11:21 pm
I just think it would be better they strove to make BTIV a fun well-designed game rather than just a nostalgia trip.
And so the question is... Why then call it Bard's Tale 4? [Instead of some other name that sounds fun and/or loosely related]

I think that any new game of any type is a grand thing, but that an official sequel to an established series... inherently cannot be just any kind of game that happens to be fun & well designed; nor qualify for just making allusions and minor references to the earlier games. Mechanics matter.
But that's the thing, It's a sequel not an HD remake. The goal of a sequel should be to surpass it's predecessor.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Gizmo » May 5th, 2017, 8:08 am

Cappy wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:59 am
The goal of a sequel should be to surpass it's predecessor.
This is true, but the way a sequel does this should not be unrelated to the previous games; it should build upon them, with the series mechanics as its foundation. An evolution [of those mechanics] that seeks to extend them, rather than an abrupt mutation. Else it's like a cuckoo in the nest; [like FO3 was :evil: ].

A 'Halo 6' should not play like 'Halo Wars', 'BloodBowl", or ''Madden 2017'. Come to think of it... What if Madden 2017 was a polo simulation that surpassed the previous games in every way —except footbal? Sequel much?

There is a difference between using an IP, and creating a sequel to a game that uses that IP. There are more than a dozen Warhammer video games. They all use a warhammer setting; they are not all sequels to one another. The game 'Spacemarine' could be said to surpass 'Dawn of War' [technologically], but aside from use of the 40k setting, they are entirely unrelated games; wholly unsuited as sequels to one another.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by maxheadroom » May 5th, 2017, 9:11 am

Has any more mention been made with regard to the tone of the party banter?
Really not a fan of the slap stick, corny 1-liner direction it looked like it was going in.
It would seem they're trying to appeal to both fans of the original and the god-awful 2004 game

I know BT 2004 has its fans, and that's fine, each to their own, but I don't imagine there's much overlap between fans of the classic trilligy and that. So they may just end up alienating everyone

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by Cappy » May 5th, 2017, 9:33 am

Gizmo wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 8:08 am
Cappy wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 4:59 am
The goal of a sequel should be to surpass it's predecessor.
This is true, but the way a sequel does this should not be unrelated to the previous games; it should build upon them, with the series mechanics as its foundation. An evolution [of those mechanics] that seeks to extend them, rather than an abrupt mutation. Else it's like a cuckoo in the nest; [like FO3 was :evil: ].

A 'Halo 6' should not play like 'Halo Wars', 'BloodBowl", or ''Madden 2017'. Come to think of it... What if Madden 2017 was a polo simulation that surpassed the previous games in every way —except footbal? Sequel much?

There is a difference between using an IP, and creating a sequel to a game that uses that IP. There are more than a dozen Warhammer video games. They all use a warhammer setting; they are not all sequels to one another. The game 'Spacemarine' could be said to surpass 'Dawn of War' [technologically], but aside from use of the 40k setting, they are entirely unrelated games; wholly unsuited as sequels to one another.
Halo and Halo Wars are fundamentally different types of games, and Fallout went from being isometric turn-based CRPGs to first-person shooters with RPG elements. BT 1-3 are turn-based first-person dungeon crawlers, and BT 4 is also a turn-based first-person dungeon crawler.
Last edited by Cappy on May 5th, 2017, 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 5th, 2017, 11:36 am

maxheadroom wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 9:11 am
Has any more mention been made with regard to the tone of the party banter?
Really not a fan of the slap stick, corny 1-liner direction it looked like it was going in.
Agreed; I'd also prefer a more serious tone overall (while still realizing different characters would have their own personalities, so some would naturally be lighter than others). I feel that if you're imagining diving into a dangerous underground lair, too much slapstick detracts from the mood.

Another thought about the video: we saw a bit more environmental graphics in this installment, and that's looking great. Not hard to imagine exploration being a lot of fun in this game.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 35: Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

Post by demeisen » May 5th, 2017, 11:51 am

Cappy wrote:
May 5th, 2017, 9:33 am
... Fallout went from being isometric turn-based CRPGs to a first-person shooters with RPG elements. BT 1-3 are turn-based first-person dungeon crawlers, and BT 4 is also a turn-based first-person dungeon crawler.
I agree with that sentiment. It's not like they're building an FPS here. It's still still a proper RPG, still the small party blobber sub-genre thereof, still promises puzzles and deviousness, still phase based combat, music still part of gameplay, still has a similar exploration vibe to the originals but with graphics that would have seemed like science fiction in BT1's day, still the same game universe... it's still got magic mouths even. Heck, they're even going to some lengths to support hand mapping on graph paper! (I still have a binder with my BT1 maps, with scribblings about nasty teleporters and turnabouts and such... but I'll be happy to let BT4 auto-map for me).

As a fan of BT1 back in the 80's, I'm pleased with the direction. Oh sure, not in every detail, but certainly in the big picture.

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