Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Simmeon » February 13th, 2018, 7:20 am

Honestly, my two cents is that it's not. For me anyway. So far nothing I've seen or heard connects the old Bards Tale games to this one other than that it's a dungeon crawler. If they just want to bring back the dungeon crawler genre, fine that's great. The problem is that they're bringing back Bards Tale, not just some first person dungeon crawler. That carries a lot of weight with it. The game so far that I've seen doesn't have anything to do with Bards Tale. It's an updated Lands of Lore with a Celtic spin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYq1aK8JstI

I'm afraid this is going to piss more people off than anything. I loved Wasteland 2 but this just doesn't feel like a Bards Tale game at all and I think that's very troubling.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 13th, 2018, 9:12 am

Simmeon wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 7:20 am
I'm afraid this is going to piss more people off than anything. I loved Wasteland 2 but this just doesn't feel like a Bards Tale game at all and I think that's very troubling.
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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Lucius » February 14th, 2018, 6:59 pm

Gizmo wrote:
February 11th, 2018, 1:31 am
What exactly did (do) you consider BT when in combat? It transitions out of FPP; into an abstracted combat mini-game.

(...just as Realms of Arkania, and most of the Gold Box SSI titles do.)

JRPGs —IIRC, tend to resolve combat statistically, where as BT (and that example gif; though admittedly impossible to read at that size) resolves by player committed intent of each PC for each round. That's not JRPG in my (limited) experience of them; that was the BT series combat—at least until now. :(
My earlier comment was mostly a reference to the early days of the kickstarter when we were having these JRPG debates. I found amusing that here we are many months later, and your demo is very, very similar to 80's and 90's JRPG's.

As for the above quoted post, early JRPG's combat was very similar to Bard's Tale. Final Fantasy (1987 original) was nearly the exact same combat system as Bard's Tale, except you can see your party. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx0c7jXbA_E The link isn't the best because it's a single monster, in fights with more enemies you would select your target. Then order of actions was based on something; some stat likely, can't remember.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by demeisen » February 15th, 2018, 11:11 am

Gizmo wrote:
February 9th, 2018, 7:39 pm
But you've played Bard's Tale (1, 2, or 3)...yes?
Image
To be fair, the Amiga version, while still clearly a mid 80's game, looked a lot nicer than most of the other platforms. Mostly I think that was due to the richer color palette it had available. I remember being impressed by the artwork in BT1 when it was released, which by the standards of the day, was quite nice. At least, it was a big step up from Temple of Apshai :). The PC was a rubbish gaming platform in those days.

Image

Image

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by demeisen » February 15th, 2018, 11:48 am

Simmeon wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 7:20 am
Honestly, my two cents is that it's not. For me anyway. So far nothing I've seen or heard connects the old Bards Tale games to this one other than that it's a dungeon crawler.
...
Somehow I'm not too bothered by that.

I might have a limited perspective since I only finished BT1, played around half of BT2, and never bought BT3, so I only saw about half the original series - and haven't played any of it since the 80's. I don't remember the BT classics as having very much in the way of lore, plot, or a highly crafted game universe though. I recall them as more like, "let's throw a random assortment of creatures at the character's party, with an absolutely massive helping of RNG, and some location and bad guy names sprinkled around for good measure". It had dungeons that (I think? - been a while...) re-pop the moment you leave as if you'd never been there to begin with. It had a very haphazard, kitchen-sink kind of feel to it, which was fine by the standards of 1985 and largely driven by the technical limitations of the day, but we're not talking highly-polished-story based game here. BGII or PS:T it was not. The parts of it that were constrained by technical limitations, I wouldn't hold up as either defining the series, or as desirable things to bring forward into 2018. And some of those things they're still going to allow if you want them, like hand-mapping.

So I'm pretty flexible on what they do with BT4. Just give me a good, party based dungeon crawler, some clever puzzles, and I'm happy. As long as it has a sense of danger, some fun exploration, some satisfying challenges, and they do something better with the combat system than what the BT-classics had, then I'm fine calling that BT4. Just stay away from the 2004 slapstick thing, please. That didn't feel like BT :).

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 15th, 2018, 4:45 pm

demeisen wrote:
February 15th, 2018, 11:11 am
To be fair, the Amiga version, while still clearly a mid 80's game, looked a lot nicer than most of the other platforms. Mostly I think that was due to the richer color palette it had available. I remember being impressed by the artwork in BT1 when it was released, which by the standards of the day, was quite nice. At least, it was a big step up from Temple of Apshai :). The PC was a rubbish gaming platform in those days.
While the Amiga was a very capable platform in its day, its talents were hardly showcased by this game. The graphics were on par with the IIgs and Atari versions, both of which I've played in addition to the Amiga version. On par, in both terms of color and resolution. The Mac graphics were black-and-white but were higher resolution, iirc, than any of the other platforms. If you're comparing against the C64, the IIe, the Sinclair, or DOS machines, then I'll agree the Amiga version was nicer-looking than the versions on those machines.

The Amiga version was also extremely slow at times and loaded data from disk annoyingly often. The sound wasn't that great either, even though the platform was capable of supporting better. Both the IIgs and Mac versions have it beat in terms of sound. The font on the Mac version is also much smoother than seen on any other platform.
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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by SuperDave17 » February 15th, 2018, 5:32 pm

demeisen wrote:
February 15th, 2018, 11:48 am
Simmeon wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 7:20 am
Honestly, my two cents is that it's not. For me anyway. So far nothing I've seen or heard connects the old Bards Tale games to this one other than that it's a dungeon crawler.
...
Somehow I'm not too bothered by that.

I might have a limited perspective since I only finished BT1, played around half of BT2, and never bought BT3, so I only saw about half the original series - and haven't played any of it since the 80's. I don't remember the BT classics as having very much in the way of lore, plot, or a highly crafted game universe though. I recall them as more like, "let's throw a random assortment of creatures at the character's party, with an absolutely massive helping of RNG, and some location and bad guy names sprinkled around for good measure". It had dungeons that (I think? - been a while...) re-pop the moment you leave as if you'd never been there to begin with. It had a very haphazard, kitchen-sink kind of feel to it, which was fine by the standards of 1985 and largely driven by the technical limitations of the day, but we're not talking highly-polished-story based game here. BGII or PS:T it was not. The parts of it that were constrained by technical limitations, I wouldn't hold up as either defining the series, or as desirable things to bring forward into 2018. And some of those things they're still going to allow if you want them, like hand-mapping.

So I'm pretty flexible on what they do with BT4. Just give me a good, party based dungeon crawler, some clever puzzles, and I'm happy. As long as it has a sense of danger, some fun exploration, some satisfying challenges, and they do something better with the combat system than what the BT-classics had, then I'm fine calling that BT4. Just stay away from the 2004 slapstick thing, please. That didn't feel like BT :).
Play BT3 all the way through and you might reconsider that opinion. Great story, but left a lot of unanswered questions about the nature of the cosmology and the seven dimensions, and what has taken place since Tarjan's defeat by way of epilogue.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by demeisen » February 15th, 2018, 9:02 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
February 15th, 2018, 4:45 pm
The Amiga version was also extremely slow at times and loaded data from disk annoyingly often
Haha, yes I remember. "Click... click... click... click... click.... (eons later) click... click... I'm in the dungeon!"

I think I only had one floppy drive at the time, too, to saving required a physical disk swap.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by thebruce » February 16th, 2018, 3:46 pm

So this happened earlier today...
The classic FPS System Shock has a Kickstarter to create a modern remake of the classic popular game. It's been a long time... but the developers Nightdive Studios just realized what was happening with the project, and made this announcement.

I truly hope inXile doesn't get to the point of even considering such a digression from the classic trilogy that this even becomes a question. I really hope BT4 isn't going down this road for an inevtiable crossroads decision of this scale.

Please keep the classic trilogy as the core stylistic theme of this project - that's what the Kickstarter was marketed as, that's what it should remain.

Just a friendly commentary from a diehard fan ;) (who also loved the original System Shock, backed the linked project, and has mixed feelings but is generally supportive of Nightdive's decision)

PS: this isn't to start an OT discussion about SS, but to interate the importance of the Bard's Tale series branding to the Kickstarter project!
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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Gizmo » February 16th, 2018, 4:43 pm

That was depressing... but at least he caught the bait & switch in time; that might have lead them into a class action lawsuit for fraud.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Lucius » February 17th, 2018, 2:23 pm

Gizmo wrote:
February 16th, 2018, 4:43 pm
That was depressing... but at least he caught the bait & switch in time; that might have lead them into a class action lawsuit for fraud.
I don't know enough about that project specifically, but I doubt that would be successful at all. I think the only way someone could win a lawsuit like that is if they devs said they are making Battletoads and the game is a Formula 1 racing game with frogs instead of cars. I think the only way would be to convince a judge that there's a difference in reboot and remaster and even then, I think they would also have to proven that they took people's money with a promise of one thing, but knew at that time they would be delivering a different thing. If the dev can prove that the project evolved from it's original scope, I don't think fraud would fly considering game development is an iterative process with a fluctuating budget. At any rate, personally I'd be shocked if a plaintiff won a case like that.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 17th, 2018, 2:57 pm

As would I. Following the spirit of a predecessor is a fairly subjective thing and unlikely to withstand the rigors of the courtroom. Unless the developers very specifically promised certain features and those features were not present in the final deliverable, I am not sure that much could be done. Even then, one wonders whether if it could even be held as breach of contract, since a KS pledge might not be held as a legally-enforceable contract.

I won't be suing inXile if BT4 doesn't turn out to be a worthy successor in the BT series, as it probably won't based on everything seen thus far. :) However, you can be sure that I won't be giving them any more money ever again.

But, speaking of breach of contract, it would be interesting to know if inXile and Old Skuul are still talking with each other at all about the delivery status of the remasters....
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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Crosmando » February 18th, 2018, 2:26 am

Lord of Riva wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 1:47 am
Not only that, there are a vast amount of Blobbers with japanese Origin to boot as the genre never really died down.
Probably would be a good idea to make sure BT4 has a Japanese translation, it could develop a modest following over there.
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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Simmeon » March 6th, 2018, 8:04 pm

demeisen wrote:
February 15th, 2018, 11:48 am
Simmeon wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 7:20 am
Honestly, my two cents is that it's not. For me anyway. So far nothing I've seen or heard connects the old Bards Tale games to this one other than that it's a dungeon crawler.
...
Somehow I'm not too bothered by that.

I might have a limited perspective since I only finished BT1, played around half of BT2, and never bought BT3, so I only saw about half the original series - and haven't played any of it since the 80's. I don't remember the BT classics as having very much in the way of lore, plot, or a highly crafted game universe though. I recall them as more like, "let's throw a random assortment of creatures at the character's party, with an absolutely massive helping of RNG, and some location and bad guy names sprinkled around for good measure". It had dungeons that (I think? - been a while...) re-pop the moment you leave as if you'd never been there to begin with. It had a very haphazard, kitchen-sink kind of feel to it, which was fine by the standards of 1985 and largely driven by the technical limitations of the day, but we're not talking highly-polished-story based game here. BGII or PS:T it was not. The parts of it that were constrained by technical limitations, I wouldn't hold up as either defining the series, or as desirable things to bring forward into 2018. And some of those things they're still going to allow if you want them, like hand-mapping.

So I'm pretty flexible on what they do with BT4. Just give me a good, party based dungeon crawler, some clever puzzles, and I'm happy. As long as it has a sense of danger, some fun exploration, some satisfying challenges, and they do something better with the combat system than what the BT-classics had, then I'm fine calling that BT4. Just stay away from the 2004 slapstick thing, please. That didn't feel like BT :).
Let me ask you this. What is it, then, that has made the Bards Tale series so endearing to so many people? All of the criticisms you listed are true, and even as you say were entirely the fault of technical limitation of the time. Remember, Bards Tale was never in the vane of Baldurs Gate or even any of the old Gold Box D&D games. It was a dungeon crawler like the wizardy series. They're trying to renew the dungeon crawler genre, not the story driven RPG genre.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by demeisen » March 7th, 2018, 1:34 pm

Simmeon wrote:
March 6th, 2018, 8:04 pm
Let me ask you this. What is it, then, that has made the Bards Tale series so endearing to so many people? All of the criticisms you listed are true, and even as you say were entirely the fault of technical limitation of the time. ... They're trying to renew the dungeon crawler genre, not the story driven RPG genre.
Interesting question... I've pondered that myself.

My theory is that it hit a magical sweet spot in CRPG history and managed to advance the genre quite a bit. It wasn't the first CRPG I'd ever played, but the prior ones were either text-only (e.g, Colossal Cave, which has its own kind of charm), or fairly simplistic overhead view games such as Temple of Apshai:

Image

In contrast, Bard's Tale was much a more sophisticated experience, boasting (for the time) immersive graphics, coupled with an extensive spell system, lots of classes, and generally provided a great sense of exploration, for its era. I guess there were some slightly earlier games of this type such as Wizardry, but I never played that, so BT1 was a huge step up in immersion and complexity for me:

Image

On top of that, while I I don't think the core combat mechanic of BT1 has held up very well, other aspects of the gameplay were brilliant (even if accidentally so), and many modern games have moved away from those dynamics to chase a mass market audience. Among those I'd include:
  • in BT1, you had a lot on the line, so there was a palpable sense of danger. Some of that was due to technical limitations of the day (e.g, saving could require a multi-minute process, particularly if you had just one floppy drive), and some due to the lack of save-anywhere quicksaves. You might have 2 hours of game time on the line, end up in a severely weakened state, and have to dig deep to make it back to the inn with someone left alive. I recall sometimes making it back with a single live character, down to just a few HP left... using magic users as emergency tanks... and the flood of relief at getting back to safety. Now, it's easy to argue that's all "bad" game design, certainly it was frustrating when you didn't make it, and certainly many players today expect to mash F5 before each fight and be able to quicksave anywhere and everywhere... but that also means the sense of risk is gone.
  • BT1 was willing to let the player fail. You could get deep into a dungeon, run yourself low on SP, and become "dead characters walking": you're still alive but you have no real hope of getting back. You could back yourself into a resource starvation corner, and had to think about your whole outing to avoid it, not just a single fight. Modern games seem to be set against expecting any long term thinking from the player. When you insta-restore my party's SP/HP/whatever after each fight, you make sure I can never get in such a corner... but you also deny me the satisfaction of not having my hand held. It's no fun to succeed, if you won't let me fail. BT1 was a much less "managed" experience. It's hard to express just how much per-fight insta-regen destroys the RPG dynamic, for those of us who prefer the older way.
There are others like that, but generally, I think BT1 "worked" in some important ways, even if it fell short in some others. It was also much more advanced than most games recently before it. How much of those gameplay dynamics we'll see in BT4, I don't know. I'm certainly hoping they retain the best ones, while retooling others that didn't hold up so well over time. It can be commercially difficult though, because many players today will rip a modern game to shreds in reviews and forums for some of those older dynamics, even when they led to, as you say, a sense of endearment for the older games that had them.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by thebruce » April 6th, 2018, 11:19 am

An update on the System Shock KS...
I like what's happening. A lot. How they're responding, how they're prioritizing, how they're valuing backers, how they're shifting things around to regain what was lost... this was a good update.
Only posting for the look at how Nightdive is handling their situation.

Granted, theirs is a "remastering" of the original System Shock, whereas Bard's Tale IV is a brand new game in the series... so this isn't so much about how they're adhering to the original as it is their ethic in delivering their Kickstarter project.
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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Gizmo » April 6th, 2018, 11:30 am

demeisen wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 1:34 pm
I don't think the core combat mechanic of BT1 has held up very well...
I agree with this; and I wasn't really ever a fan of the series' combat. However... I am always of the opinion that a direct sequel needs to be a direct evolution of the series, and so would need the series' core mechanics—or don't call it a sequel.
Mechanics can (and should) be improved upon, but they should not be substituted with trending, or otherwise unrelated systems (regardless of those being potentially better, or even more fun to play... and if that is the case, then make some other game instead of a sequel.)

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by ZiN » April 7th, 2018, 6:10 am

I'm wondering, if this game will live up to my expectation, of trumping Ultima IX and Fallout 3-4, as the most unfaithful sequels, in video game history. Electronic Arts and Zenimax/Bethesda made sure, that these two beloved series' are thoroughly raped, let's see, if InXile would earn a spot next to these, a special one, for doing it without publishers, by crowd-funding. Also Disney/Lucasfilm SW7-8 level, as mentioned by Michael Cranford. Way to go!

Ehh, sorry about being honest, I had to do that after the latest! : )

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by demeisen » April 8th, 2018, 11:58 am

Gizmo wrote:
April 6th, 2018, 11:30 am
would need the series' core mechanics—or don't call it a sequel.
But... why not?

Sequel does not mean "the same thing as before". Sequels are allowed to evolve and hopefully improve. Since you agree the combat in the originals was not that great... why not improve it? Most comments I've seen both here and in playthroughs about the new combat scheme seem to be positive about the core idea of it, though sometimes wanting refinements and alterations. I also think it has a lot of potential as something good to build on, though I hope to see some changes (e.g, most melee weapons should have just 1 rank of range).

Now don't get me wrong - I'll certainly agree that I don't want to lose mechanics I see as good about the originals, and to some degree we are going to lose some in BT4. So yeah, that is not ideal. E.g, long term SP spools, (possibly? maybe we don't know for sure yet) semi-permadeath mechanics, and others. I'd like to see those make a comeback when possible.

But if they improve things players commonly agree weren't great in the originals, that's still firmly in "sequel" territory for me. Sequels should not slavishly copy the dubious stuff, just because that's what an earlier installment did. Keep the good, improve the bad. Or if you can't restore all the good stuff due to dev resource limitations, put them on a list of things to do for next time around when you can re-use a lot of other systems from the last one.

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Re: Is this Game going to Live Up to Expectations?

Post by Gizmo » April 8th, 2018, 12:53 pm

demeisen wrote:
April 8th, 2018, 11:58 am
Sequel does not mean "the same thing as before". Sequels are allowed to evolve and hopefully improve.
Since you agree the combat in the originals was not that great... why not improve it?
'Evolve' is the key word here; and I mentioned it in my earlier post. A sequel IS a continuation, even with changes to the format... it should still retain its roots. It should evolve from them—not mutate away from them.
Now don't get me wrong - I'll certainly agree that I don't want to lose mechanics I see as good about the originals, and to some degree we are going to lose some in BT4. So yeah, that is not ideal. E.g, long term SP spools, (possibly? maybe we don't know for sure yet) semi-permadeath mechanics, and others. I'd like to see those make a comeback when possible.
In a game like Halo, a sequel should not be an RTS, or a card-combat game... That's not what the series' name and earned reputation evokes. 'World of Warcraft' is not a Warcraft 3 sequel (and not trying to be), it's a different game set in the same world. It's like this for all of the Warhammer games; they are all set in the Warhammer universe, but Spacemarine is not acceptably interchangeable with 'Sanctus Reach', as a sequel to 'Dawn of War', (nor vice versa for either case). These games are of completely different intents, and mechanics, and what is great about each one of them, is poison to the other two.
Sequels should not slavishly copy the dubious stuff, just because that's what an earlier installment did. Keep the good, improve the bad.
Why not improve both? What the earlier installment did was —define the game. Spin-offs are for defining a new game in the old setting. When you strip out what defined the game, it is no longer recognizably the game. This is what happened to the Fallout series. Bethesda draped their TES game template with whatever fit from Fallout 1&2 (regardless of whether it made sense to include it), and they discarded...
  • Its combat system
  • its world setting
  • its precept of living with the consequence of one's actions
  • its interconnected locations and quests
  • its UI perspective
  • its choice that all menus appear as salvaged in-world technology
  • its cost & risk to travel long distances
  • its barter system (you can't barter anything, you can only sell it for caps)
  • its tight integration of SPECIAL stats with combat and PC limitations—made moot by the new format
There is nothing in that game from the Fallout series, except a good extrapolation of the landscape, and few cherry picked names, and they are always out of place; shoved in for the sake of brand identity.

Consider VATS (a location in Fallout; a magical device in FO3). Fallout's combat was about risks, and an aimed a shot was a more costly risk; one that put them at a disadvantage if it failed. In FO3, VATS was a parody of the aimed shot (that cost them nothing). It slowed time for all but the player, let them do multiple attacks on the slowed victim(s), and protected them from any return fire—with a 90% damage shield.

Everything I just mentioned is done in FO3 as a polar opposite to the original games. That's not evolution. That is them putting a TES cuckoo bird in the IP nest, and it pushing the other two eggs out over the edge.
Last edited by Gizmo on April 8th, 2018, 1:34 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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