Game Length

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Bankee
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Game Length

Post by Bankee » May 19th, 2017, 8:34 pm

Hi,
I was wondering if the length of the game has changed? I recall Brian saying something about it only being 20 hours long. This was during the kickstarter time. I remember when I heard this I undone my large kickstarter backing and went down to 5 bucks just so I could keep informed on the progress.
I am hoping they have decided to make the game much longer than 20 hours, as I do not see that giving the title it's fair shake. If anyone knows the answer to this please let me know and I would be more than happy to back this game for a much higher amount :)

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Re: Game Length

Post by Crosmando » May 19th, 2017, 11:15 pm

To be honest I am hoping for a 100 hour game, even if that means increasing game length through random encounters or respawning. An "epic length" game is what feels like Bard's Tale to me. I would be very disappointed with only a 20 hour game.
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Re: Game Length

Post by Bankee » May 20th, 2017, 7:15 pm

Agreed. Bard's Tale should be an epic length game. I am hoping for this. If it were 20 hours it would be in my eyes thrown together with just the Bard's tale name stamped on it. I truly hope someone with knowledge of the games length will enlighten us.

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Re: Game Length

Post by Lix » May 21st, 2017, 5:18 am

Crosmando wrote:
May 19th, 2017, 11:15 pm
I would be very disappointed with only a 20 hour game.
That's how they pitched the game on Kickstarter, and that's how Brian Fargo described it again three months ago:
How would you compare The Bard’s Tale IV to Wasteland 2 and what’s coming with Torment? Are they going to be of a similar size and scope?

Fargo: From a purely gameplay hours perspective? It is less ambitious, because with these games – with dungeon crawls – it doesn’t have the same reading component and the same slow motion component of those products. It’s still a solid role-playing game, hour wise, but it just isn’t going to be half what those games are.
viewtopic.php?f=43&t=16266&p=179631#p179631
Personally, I spent less than 30 hours on Torment, so "less than half, hour wise" would mean less than 15 hours for me.

But I can believe that the play time could stretch to 20 hours if you play very slowly and on the highest difficulty.

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Re: Game Length

Post by Yokohamalama » May 21st, 2017, 11:38 am

Yeah... here is where opinions differ. For me it's important to replay the game a 2nd or 3rd time. However I mostly fail to replay RPGs because of their length.

1st playthrough - taking my time, the magic of exploration, thinking the longer the better
2nd playthrough - "omg this shitty section again, this dumb riddle, omfg annoying quest... gawd this takes eternity!!

It's not so much about the shitty things, but about the length. If a game has shitty parts in it (every game has) and also is very long - then the amount of enjoyment is most likely surpassed by the long and tedious journey. If it's shorter, then it's much more likely you complete the game a 2nd and 3rd time despite all the shitty parts.

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Re: Game Length

Post by Ollieonly1 » May 21st, 2017, 2:03 pm

Please, make the game as long as you can possibly afford!

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Re: Game Length

Post by Crosmando » May 21st, 2017, 9:55 pm

Lix wrote:
May 21st, 2017, 5:18 am
Crosmando wrote:
May 19th, 2017, 11:15 pm
I would be very disappointed with only a 20 hour game.
That's how they pitched the game on Kickstarter, and that's how Brian Fargo described it again three months ago:
How would you compare The Bard’s Tale IV to Wasteland 2 and what’s coming with Torment? Are they going to be of a similar size and scope?

Fargo: From a purely gameplay hours perspective? It is less ambitious, because with these games – with dungeon crawls – it doesn’t have the same reading component and the same slow motion component of those products. It’s still a solid role-playing game, hour wise, but it just isn’t going to be half what those games are.
viewtopic.php?f=43&t=16266&p=179631#p179631
Personally, I spent less than 30 hours on Torment, so "less than half, hour wise" would mean less than 15 hours for me.

But I can believe that the play time could stretch to 20 hours if you play very slowly and on the highest difficulty.
I really have to disagree with that. Classic dungeon crawlers historically have always been long adventures. Not to mention that game length can always be extended with random encounters/respawning and other things like crafting/enchanting. Especially considering that BT4 is a blobber, what the developers don't have to spend on animations, modelling and textures they can spend on more dungeons etc. I don't think I would be exaggerating when I say that a 20 hour game would be disappointing to most backers, even if it was a good game. Heck even most JRPGs these days are 70-100 hours so I doubt it would be that hard.
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Re: Game Length

Post by Drool » May 22nd, 2017, 10:01 pm

On the one hand, the originals weren't particularly long games, if you don't count the grinding. I mean, BT1 has, what? half a dozen dungeons? And while Kylearan's Tower was a pain in the neck, but it's not especially long, especially if you have a map. Looking at BT3, the longest section is grinding your way up to level 30 or so to beat Brilhasti, but once you do that, you can pretty much power on through the rest of the game in a few hours. If they're counting quest time less grinding, 20 sounds pretty robust.

But on the other hand, that grinding is pretty integral, and if they're planning for 20 hours, top-to-bottom, all grinding included, that's gonna be a pretty short game.

But, on the gripping hand, comparing to what I have handy, I did a full run of Pool of Radiance in roughly 9 hours, and I did Wasteland in about 8 (and using superloots, I can do Wasteland in under an hour). Granted, these aren't Bard's Tale, but I don't have any playthroughs of those handy to time. So... I'm not entirely sure what to think about this 20 hour target. I mean, the Bard's Tales certainly feel longer than 20 hours, but PoR sure felt longer than 9.
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Re: Game Length

Post by thebruce » May 23rd, 2017, 6:43 am

Yeah there are certain aspects that draw the game out. I mean, a plot could be told by having a character travel from A to B and take minutes. But in a dungeon crawler where you actually have to travel, it takes much more time. Depending on the mechanics of the game, that could provide a necessarily long game, or a very very short one (say with instant travel). BT was all manual. So I'd think that the story itself may be quite short in general, but it was the game mechanics that made it a long game.

Today, I think generally speaking people don't like mechanics drawing out a game length, because if it becomes routine they often just want to skip it, and thus we got things like instant travel and whatnot. BT needs to be long, but the mechanics need to provide an interesting game extensiveness; whether or not the plot and story is long and complex, or short and supplemented by side quests or fun routine dynamics... it just really should be long.

Some of these other open world RPGs can be played and completed in a matter of hours, using only the game. In BT, mapping was also a big time suck - but if you used past maps you still had to overcome time for character progression. Many factors made the BTs long games. I don't want the game to be fast-forwardable. It just gives it a very different feel; like the game itself isn't epic, it's only epic if you choose 'the long way'. I want the basic game itself to be 'the long way' :)
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Re: Game Length

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 23rd, 2017, 4:55 pm

Yeah, I think mapping is the huge contrast here. That's the main thing what made the game feel long. Also, the occasional grinding, if you swapped out party members and wanted to get the new one up to speed, or because you didn't feel quite ready for the next dungeon yet. Take those away and the games are actually fairly short.
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Re: Game Length

Post by Crosmando » May 24th, 2017, 4:21 am

I dunno, I spent ages in BT1/2 (especially in 2), and I had pdfs of manual and maps open at all times.

According to howlongtobeat.com, BT1 was 24 hours (30 hours as completionist), BT2 was 35 hours, and BT3 was 60 hours long.
Last edited by Crosmando on May 25th, 2017, 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Game Length

Post by Drool » May 24th, 2017, 1:25 pm

Crosmando wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 4:21 am
According to howlongtobeat.com, as a BT1 was 24 hours (30 hours as completionist), BT2 was 35 hours, and BT3 was 60 hours long.
This seems about right to me, frankly.

The beginning of BT3 is incredibly grindy. On my last playthrough (with extensive map use), I'd say 40-50% of the game is Skara Brae. Which potentially means, if you brought over a party from 1 or 2, you'd drop its length to par with 1 and 2.
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Re: Game Length

Post by Ether » May 24th, 2017, 9:32 pm

Of course, how much time playing the game was spent on the C64 disc drive taking its sweet time loading and saving?
That and trying to solve the puzzles legitimately.

As far game length goes, short works well when the game is designed to be played multiple times. Dishonored, Mass Effect, and The Witcher 2 are a few that come to mind.
If it's done like the originals, not sure that the Bards Tale really fits that bill.

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Re: Game Length

Post by ZiN » May 25th, 2017, 8:02 am

20 hours is rather short even for a non-completionist playthrough. As there are supposed to be many secrets and exploration, i think it should be defined more like an interval, like 30-100 hours.

BT2 in 35 hours? I doubt it. Actually, i doubt any sane person would be able to complete it at all, without walkthroughs and maps. Certain dungeons (eg. Dargoth's Tower) are very tough and take quite a few hours even with those.
Ether wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 9:32 pm
Of course, how much time playing the game was spent on the C64 disc drive taking its sweet time loading and saving?
Yeah, disk-swapping ate up quite some time, especially if you reloaded a save. Contrarily the in-game loading times were surprisingly quick, compared to other games of that time.

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Re: Game Length

Post by Drool » May 25th, 2017, 12:33 pm

ZiN wrote:
May 25th, 2017, 8:02 am
BT2 in 35 hours? I doubt it. Actually, i doubt any sane person would be able to complete it at all, without walkthroughs and maps. Certain dungeons (eg. Dargoth's Tower) are very tough and take quite a few hours even with those.
Looking at a walkthrough, I'm seeing 8 major "dungeons". A 35 hour playtime gives you 4 hours per dungeon.
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Re: Game Length

Post by Alation » May 26th, 2017, 3:08 am

I am hoping that it will be between 30-50 hours in length. A good RPG that is 20 or so hours long tends to make me feel "where is the rest of it". While the majority of games that are over 50hrs long I loose interest in before I finish them. I like grinding if you are not "forced" to do it but rather just do it to get a little bit of an edge in the next area. But with Bards Tale 3 if you didn't import characters, over 90% of it was grinding.

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Re: Game Length

Post by Crosmando » May 26th, 2017, 5:57 am

FYI, Might & Magic X was a 65 hour game (completionist) and that was made on a tiny budget (probably a few hundred thousand), and it didn't have respawning or random encounters. I think InXile can do better than that, 1.5-2 million is a huge budget for a blobber.
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Re: Game Length

Post by thebruce » May 26th, 2017, 2:12 pm

If the game is designed well enough to be flexible enough, there isn't really a technical limitation to length, it'sjust how well the storytellers can produce a lengthy story, and how easy it is to incorporate it into the engine. Another reason grid maps are so great - design multiple levels and layers in a jiffy, add in some random encounters, a few key encounters, and scatter about some hints and nudges for the plot development, and you may have added hours to the game :)
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Re: Game Length

Post by Iiago » May 27th, 2017, 12:51 am

I'm going to be an outlier here and say that I think 20hrs is about perfect.

I like RPG's but unless there's a lot of interesting dialogue or text (a la Wasteland 2) I find very little additional fun is had between a game's 20th and 60th hours.

Ultimately I want maximum fun per hour, and that ratio often decreases the longer a game gets.

Also there's a lot of games out there, and my time is finite. A 60hr game basically means I can't play anything else for a good 3-4 months, and variety is nice.

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Re: Game Length

Post by thebruce » May 27th, 2017, 7:33 am

The game should never end.
;)

But seriously, what if the BT4 world were set to be expandable with new content? It comes as a standard game with the intended plot, but occasionally inxile could release a new 'chapter'. Not an original game idea, but I wouldn't be against it :)
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