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From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy. Thank you for making this game a reality. The bard is back!
From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy. Thank you for making this game a reality. The bard is back!
33,741 backers pledged $1,519,680 to help bring this project to life.

Character Art Progress

Posted by inXile entertainment (Creator)

Hi everyone,

I'm Maxx Kaufman, Art Director on The Bard's Tale IV. The world of Caith is a place of fantasy, adventure, and a bit of mystery and magic as well. In our previous updates and in our original Kickstarter text and touch points document, we've talked a bit about the game's art direction, and how we are building a world that is inspired by Scottish culture.

The Bard's Tale IV is based on legends and folktales, and our artwork and designs are meant to be evocative of all the beauty and artistic traditions of the Celtic and other pre-Christian peoples of the north. This world and its inhabitants are accented everywhere with Celtic elements that we are using to bring a particular personality and design that feels unique to the game, with its own mystical and ancient flair – while also still feeling true to the high fantasy feel of the classic Bard's Tale games.

But you came here for art, so I'd like to share a few new examples of that with you today.

Characters & Monsters

The last few months, we've been churning away on new character art for the game. We've shown you a fair number of environments previously, but now we'd like to show you some of their inhabitants, too. Some of these are familiar to old fans, while others might be new faces.

With all our characters, we're instilling a sense of personality into everything, with ever-so-slightly exaggerated features that touch on their most iconic elements. We're also using things like varied clothing and equipment (with either animation or simulated physics) to avoid repetition and give a sense of physicality to them.

Note that the shots below are renders of our in-game models, but are still works in progress so may change. And, while we are peppering in some hints at gameplay ideas below, bear in mind those details may change as well.


The Trow are a mainstay of Scottish folklore, and they will be making an appearance in The Bard's Tale IV. Trow are a bit like goblins – short, a bit ugly, and mischievous, with goatlike features. They are most often found in dark places, like mounds, caves and dungeons, far from the light. We're exploring including them as playable characters in your party, but they will also appear throughout the game in other forms, including as enemies.

In gameplay terms, Trow are intended to be lower-level creatures, but still have some tricks up their sleeves. In battle, they will attack with simple weapons like clubs, hammers, and thrown daggers. We want to bring a lot of personality to our creatures in the game, and in the case of the Trow, that means they'll be troublemakers for your average adventuring party. For instance, some of them may be able to cast spells to confuse or charm the player's own summoned creatures, or summon their own magical underlings, making it important for you to deal with them quickly.

Magic Mouths

Almost everyone who played the original Bard's Tale games will remember the Magic Mouths. Found in the dungeon walls, they would speak riddles and hints for you, some more cryptic than others. We offered a glimpse at these in our initial in-engine video, so it's no surprise they will make a return, but we've been testing out a few new designs as well.

The Magic Mouths in The Bard's Tale IV will have a wide variety of styles. Some might appear from within stone blocks, while others have a bit more ornamentation around them. We want their designs to reflect the environments they appear in, rather than using the same everywhere. And like the classic games, their role will be to inform and assist you… but not always in the most helpful or straightforward way.

Ghillie Dhu

The Ghillie Dhu also come from Scottish folklore, but are distinctly more fearsome and mysterious than creatures like the Trow. Ghillie Dhu are large, hulking creatures that are cloaked in roots, grass, leaves and bark – though they share a little bit in common with your traditional ents and other tree-like creatures, they have their own distinct flavor that makes them feel a little bit otherworldly.

In combat, the Ghillie Dhu fight with their heavy fists or tree branches, and use spells related to the natural world, such as roots and vines that will constrict and bind your party members to make them easier targets. The Ghillie Dhu, owing to their appearance, blend into forested environments very well – meaning they might get the jump on the party at the start of combat before you even know they're there.

Maxx Kaufman
Art Director
inXile Entertainment

Thomas Stump, Graeme Rigg, and 172 more people like this update.


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    1. Jeremie Lariviere

      thanks for the update!

    2. Missing avatar

      Sylvain Martel on

      Honestly, I'm only interested in knowing how many monsters the engine can throw at us in a single room. If it's anything under 200, re-think the whole design ;)

    3. Fimbul on

      hm... i go not into, why al beings with beast like legs, need to be kind of same heigh and proportions of normal bipedal beigns. But the mass center of your Trow is awfully and they would just fall by standing this way or allways need to have a leg up front for stabilizing. sorry for being fussy, but it hurts my eyes. ;)

    4. Rivethead on

      Very exciting to see some assets. The Trow, in particular, is gorgeous. I really like the plaid kilt. And I LOVE hearing that you're focusing on giving the world and the characters in it a distinct personality. I think that's missing in a lot of games these days. Give us a great story with beautiful artwork (with personality) and fun gameplay and you win. I know, it's easier said than done. But I'm confident you guys can do it.

    5. Bulldozers

      Thanks for the update!!

    6. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      @Todd Ferrullo: We have a beta available for backers interested in helping Old Skuul test and improve it:…

    7. Todd Ferrullo on

      Nice to see something finally posted but an update on the expected final release of the now long overdue remastered I-III would be even nicer.

    8. Manny Melo on

      Looking great!

    9. Carl Wippert on

      I can't wait for this to come out! I once stayed up 4 days straight playing Bard's Tale II when I first got it. Lots of Jolt and tortilla chips with salsa! haha

    10. Missing avatar

      Saxon1974 on

      Its interesting to have some different enemies in the world as opposed to goblins, orcs etc....I like the Scottish folklore vibe...

    11. Mal on

      Looking good folks, very much looking forward to this! =) Cheers

    12. Missing avatar

      Manalishi on

      Finally ! Some news... thanks!

    13. Missing avatar

      Ritchie Tiongson on

      The Magic Mouths alone has me raising my optimism by a notch. I loved those annoying bastards. ^__^

    14. Jordan Joestar on

      WOW!!! Very good job. Awesome characters. :)

    15. Missing avatar

      Michel Thater on

      Very nice! I like the ideas behind the creatures. They are not just random things with repetetive appearance. They have character and vary even among their own kin. Very good!

    16. Trendane on

      Very nice character design! I find it somewhat amusing that, based solely on appearance, I figured the Trow as an absolute enemy and the Ghillie Dhu as probable friends. Maybe I play druids too much.


    17. Trevor Martin on

      I like the character models and agree with the Grimrock comment. However, it would be really... really good to have more of an update on the actual game design and mechanics. I like that this art is accompanied by hints at active roles for binding / stunning / summoning mechanics but those kind of things are pretty much par for the course in a modern dungeon crawl blobber.

    18. Brian Bagnall on

      Very nice! This game looks like it could exceed Legend of Grimlock in the visuals department.