The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

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The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by phimseto » June 16th, 2017, 12:41 pm

Hey everyone,

In the latest backer update for The Bard's Tale IV: some big news across the production, a backer contest to be a small part of the game, tidbits on other projects, and an old friend returns to The Bard's Tale series!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/in ... ts/1901203


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In the end it's a balancing act. Fighting to keep as many of the touch-points of the original Bard’s Tale series as we can, while at the same time filling out the story, giving the background some consistency, and updating the combat, graphics, and game-play to state of the art standards. And with every design decision, we are doing our best to make The Bard's Tale IV a game that new players will love and old fans will welcome as a true sequel to the original Bard's Tale trilogy.
All that and more at the link above. Enjoy!

- The inXile Team

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by kidnova » June 16th, 2017, 12:53 pm

Nice update. Cross platform on RPG's usually makes me nervous because it typically means that functionality will have to be limited so that it can be ported to a controller, but given that BT4 was contemplated as an action-oriented RPG from the get go I don't feel that will be a problem here.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Zombra » June 16th, 2017, 1:03 pm

Would love to hear any details about Michael Cranford's involvement.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Serjo » June 16th, 2017, 1:10 pm

We will have more to announce, including which consoles and who our publishing partner is, at a later date.
BT4 was listed on Techland's E3 page, and bardstalegame.com shows an error message in Polish...

Either this is one of the worst kept secrets in recent memory, or something has suddenly changed.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Scalpel » June 16th, 2017, 1:12 pm

Yep thanks for the very thorough update Paul from Brian et alia. And yes, I remember Michael Cranford's picture on the game's foldout box back when it came out (emblazoned with the red sticker announcing compatible with Apple //c and the dragon breathing fire). I see that you're going for a non-watered down experience. I also like the fusion of traditional Celtic lore with Bard's tale lore.

I fondly remember my *experience* of playing Bard's Tale 1 back in the day. The actual game experience doesn't translate as well, as Brian deftly capture's in his statement. I suppose as a kid any new cutting edge experience was welcome back then and yes Bard's Tale was a big deal.

I don't think this is an action-oriented RPG as alluded to above. The latest video showed a pseudogrid based world with turn-by-turn combat.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Drool » June 16th, 2017, 1:22 pm

Just sneaking in a quick note since I'm at work: y'all need to spend more time in BT3 as there was a lot of lore in there. Lord knows I've written thousands of words on it. For instance, Tarjan just being some dude corrupted by ancient evil really misses the point: he was the Ancient Evil From Before Time.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by thebruce » June 16th, 2017, 1:25 pm

Chiming in too as I have to run - love the update, and the Cranford news. Good to hear! Little nudges here and there are encouraging about the direction BT4 is taking, especially considering the 'modern age'. Can't wait to sit down to read chapter 1 of the novells too :)
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Crosmando » June 16th, 2017, 1:52 pm

Drool wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 1:22 pm
Just sneaking in a quick note since I'm at work: y'all need to spend more time in BT3 as there was a lot of lore in there. Lord knows I've written thousands of words on it. For instance, Tarjan just being some dude corrupted by ancient evil really misses the point: he was the Ancient Evil From Before Time.
But Tarjan himself started off as a mortal who attained godhood through magic, correct?
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Sacred_Path » June 16th, 2017, 1:53 pm

"third non-human race"

it is then as I suspected, and the human clans actually count as races.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Zadkiel » June 16th, 2017, 1:54 pm

Best update in a long time. In the last year there was only 1 update which actually had anything I felt worthy of being an update on the progress of BT4, but this one was full of pertinent and interesting information, and I truly felt 'updated'. Keep up the good work!

I too am looking forward to reading the teaser chapter.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Crosmando » June 16th, 2017, 2:17 pm

Pretty disappointed by the sounds of that update lorewise, seems like BT4 is going to be more like a complete reboot than a sequel, what with Orcs, Half-Orcs, Gnomes and Hobbits being erased out of the lore and replaced by Trow. Will Half-Elves be playable?
Last edited by Crosmando on June 16th, 2017, 2:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by sear » June 16th, 2017, 2:23 pm

Zadkiel wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 1:54 pm
Best update in a long time. In the last year there was only 1 update which actually had anything I felt worthy of being an update on the progress of BT4, but this one was full of pertinent and interesting information, and I truly felt 'updated'. Keep up the good work!

I too am looking forward to reading the teaser chapter.
I'll send Paul your regards. He's been doing great work in pulling all the news together.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Infinitron » June 16th, 2017, 3:38 pm

What a curiously apologetic update. Post-Torment, the new humbled and contrite inXile?

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by demeisen » June 16th, 2017, 3:58 pm

Thoughts from the update:

The screenshots are looking nice. I guess, given prior info about asset sharing between BT4 and TMT, that the TMT screenshots are also somewhat indicative of the sorts of environments we'll see in BT4. I have zero interest in anything Facebook/Occulus related, but if that lets BT4 have more and better art assets, hey, great. Other good stuff from the update:
So let's deepen that - give it the mood, melancholy and menace of an old Celtic fairy tale.
Yes please! I've been hoping for a more sombre world, so "melancholy and menace" sounds like just the ticket.
the puzzles are clever,
Also sounds good. Too many modern games hold your hand and never ask you to think, because players can look up answers to puzzles online. While that's true, a lot of us won't, because we don't want to spoil our own game experience. The modern tendency to avoid puzzles has taken a whole dimension away from CRPGs. The Grimrock series brought some of that back. Glad to hear BT4 is aiming to as well.
We dug deeper into the Orkney fairytales and found a race with a long and storied connection to Scottish legends, the Trow
This is promising. I like the premise of giving the world more cohesiveness than it had in the original series.

I'm looking forward to the story. Downloaded CH01, and will read when time permits.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Zadkiel » June 16th, 2017, 7:39 pm

Crosmando wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 2:17 pm
Pretty disappointed by the sounds of that update lorewise, seems like BT4 is going to be more like a complete reboot than a sequel, what with Orcs, Half-Orcs, Gnomes and Hobbits being erased out of the lore and replaced by Trow. Will Half-Elves be playable?
Honestly, a smart move on their part. Back then you could 'steal' whatever IPs you wanted and stick them in your game, but these days it's wiser to avoid the potential wrath of the copyright/trademark lawyers. Hobbits are straight up Tolkien, Orcs... Iffy - they have a history in many fantasy IPs so under normal circumstances you'd be OK, but put them in a game with Hobbits and things get tricky. And if you're going to get rid of them then it makes sense to also get rid of Gnomes if they don't fit the lore and Trow do.

I wouldn't be too upset, I suspect we'll see direct or almost direct replacements via the human clan system, in terms of the stat biases. Or maybe we'll see some sort of half-giant or giantkin to replace the Orc, to fit the lore. After all they only said the Trow are the 3rd non-human race, not that there wouldn't be more than 3 :)

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Drool » June 16th, 2017, 9:24 pm

Zadkiel wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 7:39 pm
Honestly, a smart move on their part. Back then you could 'steal' whatever IPs you wanted and stick them in your game, but these days it's wiser to avoid the potential wrath of the copyright/trademark lawyers. Hobbits are straight up Tolkien, Orcs... Iffy - they have a history in many fantasy IPs so under normal circumstances you'd be OK, but put them in a game with Hobbits and things get tricky.
Orcs aren't a Tolkien invention. Furthermore, for Hobbits, you can just do what everyone does and call them Halflings. While this isn't exactly a game-breaker, it's a worrying sign of their seeming willingness to chuck vast swaths of the originals out the door for their current obsessions.
Crosmando wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 1:52 pm
But Tarjan himself started off as a mortal who attained godhood through magic, correct?
It's not fully clear. Going by what Urmech says, it certainly seems that Tarjan is actually a Satan-like character who was banished by the True God. My theory is that the Tarjan statue in the Baron's castle is an avatar or projection of Tarjan, because he's locked away in oblivion. Then, when Ferofist broke the gods' pact, Tarjan was set loose and he was able to wreck shit everywhere.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » June 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm

Crosmando wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 2:17 pm
Pretty disappointed by the sounds of that update lorewise, seems like BT4 is going to be more like a complete reboot than a sequel, what with Orcs, Half-Orcs, Gnomes and Hobbits being erased out of the lore and replaced by Trow. Will Half-Elves be playable?
Similarly disappointed about the lore. Aside from the name Skara Brae matching an archaeological site in the Orkneys, the original games essentially had no connection to Celtic myth or folklore. I don't know why inXile continues to be so keen on pushing this at the expense of uprooting parts of the original game. Also, the original game was escapist high fantasy - Mangar didn't need to have his motives or methods explained in great detail - he was "evil", for some general value of evil. Adding in themes of explicitly-described evil, like slavery (e.g., elves keeping humans as pets), ruins the escapism. Real life has enough grit in it, if one cares to look - would be nice to play a game where can escape from real life rather than be reminded of it.

That said, I am happy to hear that Michael Cranford will be engaged. Hopefully, he will understand the virtues of the games he created better than Fargo & co. seem to.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by ZiN » June 17th, 2017, 12:08 am

Games today demand a deeper lore and sense of world than back in the day.
If you ask me, they demand deeper gameplay, first and foremost, especially dungeon-crawling RPGs. Bard's Tale 3 definitely had a strong sense of world, in its own crazy way. I hope you're not planning to ditch that and replace it with something new (ie. Celtic fairytales).
When we created Bard’s Tale back in 1985 we were young and excitable...more interested in mapping dungeons and torturing our players with teleporters, brutal combats, spinners, and darkness areas, than we were in telling a coherent story. We threw everything except the kitchen sink into those games - Nazis, ninjas, zen masters, robots, vampires, lizard men.
Funny, those things i was pretty much looking forward to. Bard's Tale without spinning darkness and (lots of) robot ninja vampires is unimaginable (for me at least).
But knowing the lore is a bit thin and inconsistent (a lot of players made up better stories during their play-throughs than the games actually told) we needed to add some depth to the world.
Yeah, that's old-school: Making up these stories (and comparing them with others') was more fun, than reading (listening to) yet another wall of text lore dump in a modern game.
Drool wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 9:24 pm
Crosmando wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 1:52 pm
But Tarjan himself started off as a mortal who attained godhood through magic, correct?
It's not fully clear. Going by what Urmech says, it certainly seems that Tarjan is actually a Satan-like character who was banished by the True God. My theory is that the Tarjan statue in the Baron's castle is an avatar or projection of Tarjan, because he's locked away in oblivion. Then, when Ferofist broke the gods' pact, Tarjan was set loose and he was able to wreck shit everywhere.
Yes, i too think that Tarjan was more like a demonic entity, as opposed to Mangar and Lagoth who were corrupted mortals.


Glad to hear Michael Cranford is on board, hope we will hear some more soon!
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Crosmando » June 17th, 2017, 4:55 am

Zadkiel wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 7:39 pm
Crosmando wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 2:17 pm
Pretty disappointed by the sounds of that update lorewise, seems like BT4 is going to be more like a complete reboot than a sequel, what with Orcs, Half-Orcs, Gnomes and Hobbits being erased out of the lore and replaced by Trow. Will Half-Elves be playable?
Honestly, a smart move on their part. Back then you could 'steal' whatever IPs you wanted and stick them in your game, but these days it's wiser to avoid the potential wrath of the copyright/trademark lawyers. Hobbits are straight up Tolkien, Orcs... Iffy - they have a history in many fantasy IPs so under normal circumstances you'd be OK, but put them in a game with Hobbits and things get tricky.
Lolwut? There's no copyright on using Orcs as they are mythological:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orc#Old_English

As for Hobbits, D&D has been using Halflings for decades with no legal trouble.
And if you're going to get rid of them then it makes sense to also get rid of Gnomes if they don't fit the lore and Trow do.
I understand the reasoning, I just think it's a bad idea to basically erase so much of the original lore of BT 1-3 just so you can replace it with a Gaelic theme. Either way though don't really see how Orcs or Hobbits could not be interpreted in such a way to fit the Gaelic theme, you don't have to depict them as everyone else does. From the combat video it seems BT does have goblins, which are just as standard fantasy as Orcs. It seems like InXile is just making excuses.
I wouldn't be too upset, I suspect we'll see direct or almost direct replacements via the human clan system, in terms of the stat biases. Or maybe we'll see some sort of half-giant or giantkin to replace the Orc, to fit the lore. After all they only said the Trow are the 3rd non-human race, not that there wouldn't be more than 3 :)
There's no guarantee that their will be any replacements, for all we know they'll only be Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Trow, 3 less races than the original game. It seems like a big simplification similar to how Baldur's Gate had 7 races but Dragon Age: Origins had 3, it means the game will have less class/race combinations to customization characters.

Again though, I wouldn't have a problem if BT4 ends up having 7 races, if they replace the Hobbits/Half-Elves/Half-Orcs/Gnomes with some other races. But I fear this might be because of the cost of having different voice sets for every gender/race combination.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 37: Bringing an Iconic Series into the 21st Century

Post by Zadkiel » June 17th, 2017, 5:29 am

Crosmando wrote:
June 17th, 2017, 4:55 am

Lolwut? There's no copyright on using Orcs as they are mythological:

As for Hobbits, D&D has been using Halflings for decades with no legal trouble.

Again though, I wouldn't have a problem if BT4 ends up having 7 races, if they replace the Hobbits/Half-Elves/Half-Orcs/Gnomes with some other races. But I fear this might be because of the cost of having different voice sets for every gender/race combination.
Eh, I specifically said Orcs were a standard fantasy trope, not sure what point you're trying to make there.

Hobbits =/= Halflings. And as you say Halflings are D&D so you can't use those either.

I can't remember where i read it, I *think* it was a previous update from a long time ago, but didn't they once talk about there being multiple, different, human clans/villages? I presume some of those will fill the race 'holes'

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