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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.

New Video & Exploration in Bard's Tale IV

Posted by inXile entertainment (Creator)

Greetings, Adventurers! Nathan Long here, lead writer on Bard's Tale IV. Today I'm here to present something special to you. It's been a while since we last showed you video of the game, and now we want to give you a brand new glimpse into the world of Caith running in-engine.


This clip is meant to illustrate the tone that we are looking to capture for our environments and creatures in The Bard's Tale IV – a captivating and expansive landscape for you to explore, and a menagerie of creatures inspired by myth and Celtic folklore. We’ve also been feverishly working on the combat system and have made some amazing progress, but we don’t want to show our hand on it quite yet. For now I hope this gets your imaginations running wild and sets the mood for what I'd like to talk to you about today.

A Grappling Hook in My Hand and a Song in My Heart

Recently, lead designer David Rogers and I have been working on what we've been calling the "Adventuring Tools and Content Keys" systems for the game, and for this update we thought we'd share some details about how it all works.

Basically, what the adventuring tools and content keys do is give us some control over how you explore and experience the world of Bard's Tale IV. Now, right from the beginning, we made the decision that BTIV would be a game of free exploration. You'd be able to go in any direction you chose, ignore the main story to do side quests if that's what tickled your fancy, or just noodle around and find cool stuff. We therefore made Skara Brae and the land it resides in, Caith, big places with lots of space and lots of story, scenery and secrets to get lost in. Skara Brae is a city now, with multiple levels of sewers, catacombs, and crypts below it, while the lands that surround it are vast and varied, with broad fields, haunted villages, deep forests, treacherous fens, and looming mountains, all riddled with caves, ruins, dungeons, and hidden places, all ripe for exploration.

However, another decision we made early on was that we didn't want you to be able to grind through any of these areas all in one go. We wanted there to be doors you couldn't open the first time you found them, or rivers you couldn't cross, or ruins you could see but not reach. We wanted there to be mysteries that you couldn't unlock until you'd traveled to new areas and learned new things. We wanted to make sure there were always places you wanted to come back to, and that returning to previously explored lands would always be rewarding and fun, unlocking new areas, secret content, interesting lore, and of course, awesome loot.

So how to have it both ways? How do we make a world with a good amount of free exploration that at the same time keeps some content hidden, and do it in a way that doesn't feel artificial or unfair? Well, there are lots of ways, some simple and direct, some more subtle and writer-y, (I get to do those bits!) which act as the gates and keys of Bard's Tale IV. Let’s have a look at the main ones.

David Note: Writers are always speaking in fluffy generalities. I'll be popping into this update now and then to give you some cold hard facts.

Level Keys - One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor

Some areas won't be locked away behind an actual physical door, and you won't need a physical key to get into them. They'll just be too much for you to handle at your current level. If you walk into a new area and find that you're getting your ass handed to you by every enemy who gives you the stink-eye, that's a clue to come back later, once you've toughened up and upgraded your gear. Of course you might be a sneaky sort, able to dodge your way through enemy patrols to snag some serious swag, but you do so at your own risk. We accept no liability for any party wipes that may occur if you go around trying to punch above your weight.

David Note: This is one of the classic ways computer games keep you out of an area temporarily. The way level gating in Bard’s Tale IV differs from other RPGs is our willingness to have a pockets of high level enemies living inside low level areas. Consider them a signpost, letting you know that there are high level rewards to come back to once you're strong enough to fight your way past the gatekeepers.

And to elaborate on sneaking and patrols, in BTIV, enemies will often be found guarding various locations, walking patrol routes, or hiding in ambush. These enemies have zones of perception that show where their attention is focused, and these zones can be tip-toed around by an adventuring party with good timing, or stealthed through with the help of a sneaky rogue. If you're spotted, enemies will get the jump on you, putting you at a disadvantage. However, you can get the jump on them by attacking from behind, causing front row enemies to switch to the back row and back row enemies to switch to the front, exposing their weakest group members and putting their melee troops out of range. Ambushing in this way also guarantees your party the first turn in combat.

Tool Keys - The Right Tool For The Job

When exploring dungeons, some secret passages, shortcuts, or hidden rooms require a certain tool to enter. Sometimes it'll be a simple key or lock-pick kit. Other times it will be something rarer or more unusual. An inaccessible ledge becomes scalable only if you equip a grappling hook. A ten-foot pole sets off the traps that keep you from getting to the door at the end of a hallway. Igniting some Demon Dust blows a hole in a weakened sewer wall, revealing a new area. Once you learn what tool you need to bypass each obstacle, you'll begin to see other instances of that obstacle scattered throughout the world, and you'll know what to stock up on the next time you visit Garth's Equipment Shop.

David Note: These kinds of keys, what we're calling Adventuring Tools, are how we lock off hidden content. When visiting a vendor, we want you to think about purchasing some of these tools before delving into your next dungeon, on the chance that the reward for using them will be greater than the investment, or that it will make an otherwise difficult fight easier or entirely avoidable.

Song Keys - Music Will Set You Free

As befits a game with Bard in the title, music plays a large part in all aspects of BTIV's gameplay, from combat to puzzle solving to storytelling - and also, of course, exploration. From the Highroad Whistle that allows you to travel from one circle of standing stones to another, to the Smuggler's Lament, which grants you access to secret passages known only to members of the criminal underground, songs will get you into and out of all kinds of places. Some will reveal secret caches.

Some will open portals to new worlds. Some let faction leaders know you're a friend, so they'll show you their secret stores. Some are musical spells that cause waters to recede or broken bridges to reassemble, allowing you to cross into new areas.

The trick is finding and learning these songs. Some will be taught to you by your companions. Some you'll learn from quest givers, or find written out in ancient books. Some you will have to fight through the deepest dungeons to acquire. They will all be worth it. The more songs you learn, the more the world will open up to you.

David Note: So, there's an actual system to this, which we're calling Songs of Exploration. You have a song book (basically an inventory) where songs you've learned are listed, and when confronted with a broken bridge, or a bit of Trow graffiti, or a circle of standing stones, you can open the book and click on the appropriate song. The song then plays (a quick little riff) and the bridge reassembles, a cache opens, or the standing stone quick travel menu appears. Ta-da!

Lore Keys - Knowledge Opens Many Doors

The final kind of key is the key of knowledge. Histories read in books, rumors overheard in conversations, or relics found in ancient chambers, all can give the clever player answers to puzzles or riddles they can find nowhere else. Temples, sacred crypts, storehouses of powerful weapons and spells, all might be locked away behind a question or a map or a diagram, or a rune which requires translation. The knowledge needed to solve the puzzle will be out there somewhere. You only have to find it - and figure out what it means.

David Note: To spell this out, there is side content in the game that you will not be able to complete - or even find! - without reading the lore you find and using your brain to figure out what it means and how it applies to the world and the puzzles that abound in it. Lore comes from readable books you find in the game, as well as notes, drawings, ancient songs, inscribed weapons, and murals painted on dungeon walls, all of which can be examined up close and in detail. Nothing along the main storyline is hidden behind these more esoteric puzzles, but plenty of cool stuff will be. Cleverness will be rewarded.

Happy Exploring

Thus, to sum up, there are four kinds of keys in Bard's Tale IV - physical, musical, mental, and straight up being strong enough to fight your way in - and mastering all four is the best way to unlock and explore all of the wide, wild, wondrous world of Caith.

David Note: Good luck, Adventurers! The world of Caith awaits!


Before we leave you, we also have a few words to share about some other crowdfunded projects.

First, the Torment: Tides of Numenera team is finalizing its work on that title for when it releases early next year. Their next game will be Wasteland 3, and to help make it happen, we'll be crowdfunding it using Fig.


Wasteland 3 will be launching its campaign on October 5th, 2016, and if you would like to lend your support, we would most certainly appreciate it. You can check here to sign up for future news and get notified when the campaign launches.

Next, there's another nostalgic project on Kickstarter we wanted to direct your attention to. Those of you who are old-school PC gamers will, like ourselves, fondly remember titles such as Jazz Jackrabbit, Commander Keen and more. Rad Rodgers is a side-scroller inspired by those classic games of the early 90s which aims to revive this genre!


Their campaign has just about a week left to go and has managed to fund, but you can still get in for some of their stretch goals if you act now.

Signing off,
Nathan Long
Lead Writer – The Bard's Tale IV

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    1. George Fyvie on

      Any chance of actually answering the kickstarter messages I have been sending? What's happening with bards tale remastered as that's the only ras on I backed the project?

    2. Jeremie Lariviere

      very detailed update, thanks!

    3. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Muad'Dib: Thats a strawman. In interviews Fargo made it clear that he doesn't think of them as evil guys but that he doesn't like when they have influence into the game design. Probably he also doesn't like having to beg publishers into financing a game he wants to do without success (as can be seen in the videos) or (here I'm guessing) has to sign contracts that are to his companies disadvantage.

      When publishers (or investors) have no influence on the game but just invest money or take up the distribution, InXile had no problems working with them in the past. They used publishers as distributors with WL2 and Torment (probably even loaned money from them for WL2, but without giving away any control), they probably will do that with BTIV again.

    4. James Arthur Eck on

      @Grasher While they haven't bothered to update their estimate with a year of the project already in the rear view, it's a safe bet that it will be well into 2018 at the earliest. It would be nice if this kind of update came with projections and risk windows for completion, but I've only had a few projects that did that.

    5. Muad'Dib on

      Nerdy Suit
      "[Fig] that allows backers to actually make money off of their investment."

      Uh no.
      You are either a backer or an investor.

      If you pledge $20 or $50, you don't get anything in return. Aside from the game.

      If you invest money (from $1000 upwards) into a LLC, you will get back money. Probably. If the game is successful.

      Fig is also about professional investors who do not love or care about games, but how successful games will be. Like publishers. You know, these evil guys Mr Fargo condemned not long ago. But that was before Fig and Techland, of course.

      Oh and Tim Schafer is a Board member of Fig, and this guy can't even handle petty cash.

    6. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Rivethead: Well, in my case at least I don't like to just echo what nearly everyone is already saying: Beautiful graphics, can't complain. But in the interest of motivating the graphics team inside InXile, maybe it is the right thing to do. So my contribution: Beautiful graphics.

      On the backtrack stuff, again, everything worth saying has been said. If done right, good stuff, if done badly, lots of critics available to say 'I told you so' ;-)

      What I like is that they found a way to include music into the game mechanics so that the game title has some justification besides "part 4 of a series".

      And lore keys: Since google will have solutions ready for anyone who wants to take the easy road, please include lore puzzles of any possible difficulty. Players with self control will look up remaining puzzles after playing through, players without self control will search google anyway no matter how easy you make the puzzles, because difficulty is highly subjective and the most intelligent person can get lost with an easy puzzle if he just takes the wrong mental turn.

    7. Rivethead on

      Very disappointed that there are more comments on Fig for this update than the actual game content/update provided.

      @Grasher: I do not think BTIV will be released in October 2017 as projected. Can you name any other game that has been released as projected two years in advance? I can't. Having said that, development is picking up. This game is being made in a NOLA in a studio dedicated to its creation. It's up and running and now we're starting to see the some of the results.

      I'm not asking for much: just a Scottish-themed dungeon crawler blobber that's fun. I think they'll deliver just that.

    8. Grasher on

      Fig = nono. I really forgot about this game and about my 20$ that I spent on it. Hope it will be released in 2017 at least.

    9. Nerdy Suit on

      Fargo and InXile have made KS a ton of money via 3 separate campaigns, the kick it forward campaign, etc. Especially after considering all the money Fargo has made KS, he owes them nothing. He's now doing the smart thing by launching a new campaign on a platform that allows backers to actually make money off of their investment. And yea, besides being much better for the backers, it also makes sense for him to use Fig because he's part of that business. What's wrong with that exactly? That's called backwards integration, folks -- a strategy that literally thousands of businesses across the world employ. But Fargo is evil reincarnate because he's doing it?

      Honestly, people need to get over themselves.

      Oh look, it's the internet complaining about everything because that's what the internet does. That's fine, don't follow them to Fig. The community will probably be better without those people looking to complain about anything and everything.

    10. Missing avatar

      Chris on

      @RC Very sorry to have offended you with my careless comment. I will try to avoid that phrase in the future.

      @Glenn McMath You addressed the issue much better than I could have, thank you.

      On topic: I can see what some people are saying about backtracking, but I am personally looking forward to it. In my experience the only time re-visiting areas is a horrible chore is when there *should be* a fast-travel mechanic but it doesn't exist. That part is presumably addressed by the "Highroad Whistle" song and the circles of standing stones.

    11. Jon Woods on

      Thank you for the update! I loved the video and the music and am really itching to dive into this game when it is released. I have a stack of graph paper and a box of #2 pencils at the ready :)

    12. Dawn_

      Well, like some i won't follow you on fig. A shame but the idea of giving money on a crowdfunding platform..where Brian Fargo is a board member..using an update on KS to announce it..all this really lack tact. I understand the choice. But i think that if i had received an email rather than read this update i would have backed W3 on fig. The contrary kind of irks me the wrong way. But if there is a paypal option on your site, i'll gladly back it.

    13. Lee Sweeney on

      Why would anyone give these folks money again.
      They lie over and over, make things cheaper on Steam than the KS like early access.
      Time to let this failed group that preys on games we loved years ago to shutdown.

      Please just don't give a fig.

    14. Cindy Parker Hoskey on

      This looks so exciting! I love open-world games like this. And backtracking is fun and satisfying when you have some sort of fast travel. I like seeing / finding something inaccessible, or getting my ass handed to me by a monster, only to learn more and get more powerful and come back as a conqueror. Fun!

    15. Lee Sweeney on

      So in other words to make the wored seem larger we will be forever backtracking, much like Doom.
      Innovation I do not think this word means what you think it means.

    16. jeffrey dugan on

      Very excited about everything that Bard's tale is looking to offer, love the idea of backtracking for some good loot and the idea of equipment puzzles. Loved WL2 stinks they are going to FIG and I wont be able to back the game. Guess Ill get it late on a steam sale.

    17. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Sean Hillmann: Read the second paragraph of the update again. There is your answer, or at least the announcement, that they want to answer that in another update, probably when they can show us in a little video.

      @Todd: At least from the crowdfunding community their result will be less than spectacular, I'm sure you are right there. But they probably hope to get some investors too. I imagine they found out that crowdfunding usually can't finance games in the 10 to 20 million range. So they either have to fund it themselves (and take all the risk), crawl back to a publisher, or try to find a crowd of investors without any influence in the game.

      About your other complaint: InXile started the BTIV KS campaign while Torment was unfulfilled and (I think) the DC of WL2 still in the working. They explain it with their design/writer team being finished long before their programming/graphics team. That design team needs work and if their decision what (and how big) to do depends on a crowdfunding campaign then they need to start that campaign while the previous project is still in the programming/bugfixing phase.

    18. Todd Ferrullo on

      I think the decision to go with Fig is going to really hurt the Wasteland 3 campaign, it will likely take in less than half of what it would on KS. While that is the main reason that I will not back it, the fact that they still have several other unfulfilled KS campaigns is another and the fact that we cannot even get an estimate on when the remastered versions of Bards Tale I to III are going to be done is another (seriously these were due back in December at least an updated timeline would be nice by now)

    19. Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on

      I would back Wasteland 3 on Kickstarter.....but on Fig?? Not happening. Full stop....not dealing with some shady ass crowdfunding site I never heard of before.

    20. Missing avatar

      Frankenfruity on

      I really like all of what is described here. If I would add one thing it is to have a more fleshed out song (as short or long as it is) for each "action" that you can either listen to in full or skip - or have a setting whether you would like to listen to an "action song" or just hear the short riff. I think having the option to hear all of it would add to the immersion.

      To all those worried about backtracking, I just say stick to the main storyline and you'll be fine. Leave the proper exploration to those who are willing to boldly and blindly go into the unknown and accept the consequences and are willing to mark all the places that they have to come back to later once they've done the proper research or buffed up or otherwise got properly equipped for the task.

    21. S. on

      Love the song keys... I suddenly got the urge to play 'Ocarina of time'.
      Everything ounds great. Cant wait to pay it.

    22. Andrew Tuckett on

      Checklist of Hype
      - Explore off the beaten path
      - Secrets and puzzles to discover
      - Awesome realised city
      - Fun Combat
      - Awesome graphics

      Hyped to the moon!

    23. Muad'Dib on

      Wasteland 3?
      WL2 was a disappointment, dull and riddled with bugs, and i got my CE weeks after the release.
      I won't register for another crowdfunding platform, and definitely not throwing money at cheater Tim Schafer.

    24. Dusk Shadow

      MINE FRAGGIN EARS!!!!! ROFLOLMFAOMFG!!!! Warning...dont listen with headphones on T.T

    25. Missing avatar

      Rick on

      I like what I see. Awesome level of detail and aesthetics. And how the forest emits a great atmosphere even in the video. Also liking the fact, that creatures move around, allowing for run and hide tactics. Somewhat like Wizardry 8, only better. This is the quality an RPG blobber deserves.

    26. Jedra7609

      Looks lovely. Thanks for the update - much appreciated.

    27. Claus Bornich on

      This is truly music to my ears: "...right from the beginning, we made the decision that BTIV would be a game of free exploration."

      Your vision is excellent and I am a fan of the art style and outlandish monsters. Nothing is better than setting out on a exploration into the unknown, not knowing what you will encounter and finding something unique you have never seen before.

    28. Missing avatar


      So the four types of keys are: material, musical, mental, and muscle.

      About the standing stones and a 'quick travel menu' - might be nice to lose a bit of UI there, and instead have the various destinations displayed with a swirly glowing image floating in front of each stone, or something to that effect.

    29. Missing avatar

      Robert Silesius on

      The song was amazing, though!

    30. Missing avatar

      Robert Silesius on

      Must admit, not a fan of the art style. It tries to be Skyrim/Witcher but nowhere near as high quality. Why not go stylized instead? Also, why nightmarish monsters? Where's the light fantasy feeling of the classic Bard's Tale?

    31. RC on


      Brian sold us on this project personally, then didn't mention Bard's tale once on Twitter in over 2 months until this update, while he did mention a ton of other games and projects, some inXile's, some not. Along with his other interests. If he's interested in or excited about something, he tweets about it frequently.

      To me, that pretty much says everything.


      I'm done on this subject for now. I'm still cogitating on what I think about the rest of the update. There's a lot of "no shit, that's to be expected common for video games of this type" filler. There's also some interesting mental picture painting of how the game might play. A lot of it is exactly what we expected or were already told during the Kickstarter itself. Reinforcement isn't necessarily bad, and this type of info is good for backers new to these types of games.

      I guess I'll wait a while for updates with a more meat. At least this gives us a little something to chew on. It's a lot better than zero communication.

      I wish I were more hyped. I want reasons to be hyped. I'd love to love everything about BTIV. I have hope it'll be a game I have fun playing. Right now, it's definitely not the Bard's Tale game I felt I backed. There's still time for that vision to come together though, and I've been through a few long Kickstarter campaigns. I can be patient when it's warranted. ^_^

    32. Missing avatar

      Reupel on

      Really like the visuals so far.

      Regarding exploration gameplay, I think their plans sound great, if they execute it well. Backtracking can be an interesting experience, but it mustn't be boring or "grindy".
      Locking off areas behind thougher enemies was done in the past, e.g. by Gothic, and it worked well there. Others mentioned, that they wanted some hints, that an enemy is too hard at the moment, and I would agree to that. It shouldn't be some intrusive UI-marker though, but some subtle information you get from the game world (e.g. NPC dialog).
      Generally speaking I really would appreciate if they would cut back on the handholding so common in modern games/RPG's. So no quest-markers, press-button to solve riddle things and so on.

    33. Missing avatar

      Glenn McMath on

      @RC: I agree, that would have been a more tactful way of handling the Fig announcement; but after re-reading what they've posted in this update, and clicking the link to check the website, I still really don't think this is slimy or insidious. They didn't do an awful lot of Fig promoting here, all they said was "we're using Fig" and given a date for when the campaign will start. Fig is mentioned once in the update, with a small logo appearing in the WL3 teaser image. Neither of the links (the image or the one in text) goes to the Fig website, just a separate site with the teaser image telling you to sign up to a mailing list for more info.
      Now if they launch their Fig campaign and there's no mention anywhere on it about Brian Fargo's position on Fig's board of advisers, then yeah I'll be right there with you crying shenanigans. Until that time though I just don't see enough for me to be suspicious or critical.

      As for infrequency of information/updates, from what I understand BTIV is still pretty early in development, so there might not be all that much to share. They've taken to providing very long but fairly infrequent updates on KS, which isn't my favourite, but I believe is a legitimate approach. As for Brian not sharing/promoting more, and not signing off on this update, I checked back about 4 updates and he hasn't been the one writing or signing off on them for a while. This makes sense since BTIV is being developed by inXile's second studio, so Brian isn't on the ground with this team at all times. I have no doubt he's still in the loop and contributing to development, but these days I wouldn't be surprised if most of his time is being put toward managing T:ToN as it approaches release. This is all speculation on my part, though. I certainly wouldn't complain if they were more communicative with their backers, but I'm not complaining.

    34. Tomimt on

      This looks really amazing, so thumbs up. What comes to backtracking, Divinity Original Sin had a ton of it, and didn't do it in particular finesse either. Still that one was one the best reviewed games the time it game out.

      Also in general backtracking is still pretty common things in many modrn games that aren't corridor runners.

    35. Missing avatar

      Saxon1974 on

      I really like the ideas on making secret areas and some places too hard for low level characters. Cheers to that.

      The video shows nice graphics and I like the Celtic theme but I really couldn't tell a thing from the game out of it, no gameplay yet, hopefully we get some of that soon.

      I also wonder if doing a large realm to explore is maybe a bit too much to tackle for smaller Indy project? I just hope the areas are interesting and flushed out.

      Anyways, thanks for the update, hope to see some gameplay soon!

    36. Sean Hillman on

      I love the graphics and the music. I hope the Bards have a lot of tunes to play. However, from what I have seen of the UI, especially the combat UI, I wonder how that will interact with the lovely monsters trying to eat me. Will the UI pop up only in combat? Will I be walking in first person as my entire party (as in the original games) or is there a third person option? When combat occurs will the attackers and my party be pulled out of normal time for the fight, fight it, then be put back? If so will this affect the graphics such as moving leaves and what not or rain? Will those these continue while we fight? Will the denizens interact with one another? Are they free form or do they spawn in place? Are there say a finite number of kobalds in forest area X or will they come back after I kill them? I guess where I am going with these questions (and sorry if they have been asked and or answered somewhere else) is that video looks amazing, but from what I have seen (via these updates) of the UI/Combat UI it does not seem that the two can be compatible or that going from wandering to fighting will break immersion. Again though, that looks pretty amazing so far. KUTGW.

    37. Solaris on

      Just fantastic! Gaelic vocal? Loved it.

    38. RC on

      @Glenn case in point... inXile and Brian had no information to share with Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter backers on either Kickstarter or social media for over two months. No investor would accept a lack of communication for a couple of weeks, let alone a couple of months. Yet now inXile will post a project I might otherwise have been interested in, to Fig - a crowdfunding investment service, and Brian is a Advisory Board Member of that investment service.

      Why would I want to invest in a company or service that might ignore me and my fellow investors when repeatedly requesting information on the project we've invested in?

    39. RC on

      @Glenn The whole issue of propriety could have been offset by telling people to "find out more about Wasteland 3's crowdfunding project on our website" and then on their site explain what Fig is, who's involved with it, and why they've chosen it, with a link there to their project on Fig.

      They didn't do that. And with all the smart people at inXile and Fig, and financial investment business-as-usual promotional practices in general, this seems to me like a calculated approach, rather than a simple lack of tact or the sort of networking that happens naturally. I'm not angry. I was hoping last year that Fig would turn out to be a shining star I could get hyped about. Instead, I'm disappointed and wary of anything they do, because of how Fig has presented itself, and how those involved with Fig have acted.

    40. RC on

      @mega It's obviously an issue that isn't relevant to your perspective, and that's okay. It's relevant to mine and touches on matters of integrity, particularly in finance and investment, which affect the world around us on a daily basis, and as the past couple of decades have shown, is often not handled well, or with the interests of investors at heart.

      If the owners of game companies are going to promote a financial investment tool with interest payments that require accounting we can trust, to video gamers, those people involved in operating that tool (Fig) should be beyond reproach, especially if they're also promoting their own games through that tool while simultaneously having a position of trust at the investment company.

      When a finance/investment company or broker engages in disreputable behavior or activity, the average person, even those with some investments, tend to not understand how they're being fleeced. Just looks at the S&L "crisis" of the 80's and 90's due to thousands of scandals affecting millions of people, the housing scandal, Bernie Madoff's Ponzi Scheme, and the current Wells Fargo scandal. Financial malfeasance happens at all levels and in all businesses, including gaming and crowdfunding.

      Note that I'm not saying any financial malfeasance has occurred. I'm saying something seems inappropriate, and that harms trust.

      It helps to hold the people asking us for investment funds to an ethical standard, and when they do even small ethically squishy things, we have to question whether or not they might not have the ethical or moral fiber to stay themselves from doing some... "creative accounting" later on with the money they ask us for, when we expect returns on investment, based on their stated accounting methods.

      In other words, just because they're well-known or well-liked game developers doesn't put them above appropriate scrutiny when it comes to asking us to make a financial investment, not a purchase or donation. This is why Fig is different, and these matters are important. It's not as simple as providing a list of physical or digital Rewards like on Kickstarter. When it boils down to proper reporting and accounting a percentage of real world money, things get more complex and a greater focus on propriety is necessary to protect otherwise innocent investors.

      More specific to your reply, there's a big difference between folks in the comments section posting links to projects of interest to them, and statements or actions by the creator of a project whose company founder is involved in a financial investment service, which is overseen by the Security and Exchange Commission, that promotes that service in its competitor's community under the guise of being a customer of that competitor. That seems to me to be kind of shady in the business world.

      Granted, we come from different countries and cultures, and it's possible these issues aren't relevant to you. They are to me, and should be to anyone interested in an a crowdfunding investment service like Fig, not just those who want to see the next installment of a game series we all love, especially when our favorite game developers aren't just using these financial investment platforms as customers, but more so when they're doing so while being deeply involved on the back end of that financial investment service which we'll have to rely on for ongoing accounting of the returns on our investment. ^_^

    41. Missing avatar

      Glenn McMath on

      @RC: Thanks for the follow up. I remember some of these issues from Fig's launch, but I feel like they've corrected a lot of them since then. It would be easy to infer some sort of nefarious intent to the way they started, or talk about conflict of interest with regards to Brian Fargo's position at both inXile and Fig. I'm not going to try to dissuade you of those opinions, but I have a different way of looking at it.
      It's clear that Brian Fargo has been an enthusiastic supporter of crowdfunding from the beginning. It makes sense that he'd take up a position on the board of a new crowdfunding platform if he believed in what they were doing, and his industry experience (including running successful crowdfunding campaigns) means he'd have a lot to offer to Fig as a board member. In his time on the board, he'd become pretty well acquainted with the Fig platform and the people who run it, so it makes sense that he would want to use it if he believes in it. Honestly I think it'd be a bit more sketchy of him if he were in a high up position at Fig but still used KS (it would speak to a lack of confidence in the platform for which he's a board member).
      There's certainly an argument to be made that using a KS update to promote a Fig campaign lacks a certain amount of tact, but as I and others have stated, this is their means of reaching the audience who have supported their crowd funding campaigns in the past. A large portion of that audience will want to hear about the WL3 campaign, regardless of what platform its using (especially, I'd imagine, WL2 backers).

      I'm not going to try to dissuade you of your views on this issue, but what strikes you as shady backroom dealings akin to what's going on with big banks and wall street looks more to me like the sort of networking that naturally happens in a fairly tight knit industry, and a company leveraging their audience to try to successfully fund their next project.

    42. Jan Veidt on

      Backed WL2, Torment & Bard's Tale. Really liked Wasteland 2, excited about Wasteland 3. But I'm gonna pass on backing it. Fig just creeps me out, I'm sorry.:S

    43. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @RC: I can't comment on the investment part of Fig, but I'm not a fan of mixing investment and crowdfunding on one platform either. But on the issue of announcing WL3 on KS I don't see anything wrong. inXile doesn't promote fig on kickstarter, it promotes WL3 on its backer news/community channel inside kickstarter.

      That is no mincing of words, because kickstarter is also a community tool and social website, one could even say mailing list provider. I don't entirely like that, but KS is successful that way. The comment section for example is used to promote other projects and those projects might be on kickstarter but also on indiegogo or anywhere else. All projects promote their followup projects on their own mailing list, even if it isn't crowdfunded at all or the crowdfunding was unsuccessfull.

      On the contrary, I would go up on the barricades, if kickstarter tried to forbid hints only about crowdfunding projects that are on other sites. I.e. either they forbid all hints or none. I would also protest if a forum tried to prevent me from mentioning other forums. It is the web and linking is the norm.

    44. RC on

      @Glenn When Fig started out, there were a lot of questionable things going on from a crowdfunding standpoint. For example, hiding the project investors, while folding their investment numbers into the publicly presented promotional information without proper accounting which resulted in math that didn't add up. There were other issues that gave me the impression the folks behind Fig were playing it fast and loose with little common sense oversight going on. The same way we've seen many banks and Wall Street brokerages do things.

      While a company using a second company's platform to seed interest in a 3rd company's platform might be "good business" it's also unscrupulous, and ethically questionable. More so, when the first company is founded and lead by an Advisory Board Member of the 3rd company.

      Fig, and everyone involved with Fig's business should be going out of their way to show they can be trusted with our money as potential investors. If they engage in questionable practices, no matter how small, their integrity comes into question.

      Additionally, Fig is a hybrid of a community crowdfunding site and an investment platform. If the folks running the show have proven to not respect their communities or showing less than a vested interest in the games they're making (e.g., not tweeting about them for months, but instead tweeting about other games and everything else they *are* interested in, being asked by their community for a little feedback and being ignored) then turn out to be both Advisory Board member, and head of a company with a project on Fig... I dunno, to me it all stinks to high heaven. And these are just some of the reasons I feel this way. Others, are likely not appropriate for me to mention here

    45. Andrew Hows on

      Surely you mean Garth's Equipment Shoppe!

    46. Rivethead on

      My opinion:

      I've watched the video and am blown away by the art style. BTIV will truly be a work of art: visually, musically, and mentally.

      Keep up the great work! I'm very happy I backed and the waiting will be torture.

      I have no problems backtracking through that world you just showed me. I'll happily zig zag across the entire expanse of Caith. The level of detail you've shown absolutely proves there is no way you'll be able to take it all in the first time you visit an area anyway. And I do hope you incorporate seasons into the world. That deep, dark forest looks mighty different in cold, grey winter than it does in warm, flowery spring (and who knows? Perhaps cold, grey winter freezes over a previously impassible river allowing me access to an island of danger and wealth?).

      In short, backtrack me baby. You have my trust.

      Next, I have no problem with frustrating and difficult puzzles as long as there are readily available hints to be discovered. Make me earn it (the reward, that is). This game is supposed to be challenging. I want the challenge to be: don't force me to pull up Google to watch a walk through to get by a certain obstacle/puzzle.

    47. Tina Tipton

      I love the song idea. I am so looking forward to this game.

      Glenn McMath has terrific and valid ideas for satisfying game play, especially about backtracking. I love puzzles, yet it can be frustrating to discover you don't have a needed item before you try working the puzzle out. If I have to backtrack through an area, I'd enjoy having something new there to deal with.

    48. Missing avatar

      Glenn McMath on

      @RC: I'm not sure Chris meant for his comment to be as abrasive as you took it, but I can't speak for him (or tell you how to feel), so I'll leave that where it is.
      For my part, I don't really see what's shady about inXile moving to Fig, or telling us about it via a KS update. Yes, they could've been a bit more forthcoming about the fact that Brian Fargo is a Fig board member, and yes I'm sure that KS would rather they not talk about competing services in KS updates... but at the end of the day, these updates are the only means for inXile to contact the people who have crowdfunded them in the past. They could always ask us to join a mailing list without really saying what it's about, but chances are they'd only get a small percentage of their backers to do that. So it doesn't seem to me like they have many other methods of contacting the people who have crowd funded them in the past (who probably want to hear about a WL3 campaign), other than a KS update. And between their three successful KS projects and the Kicking it Forward movement, it isn't like Brian Fargo and inXile haven't done anything for the platform.
      I guess one of the reasons I don't mind the move as much because I think Fig is a more appropriate platform for well established companies, since it bridges the gap between crowd funding and more traditional investment. While there's nothing that explicitly states it has to be this way, I see KS as being a better platform for startups and smaller companies, and it sort of irritates me when companies come back to it again and again (unless there are some mitigating circumstances).
      Of course this is only my opinion, and you're entitled to yours. I guess if you were more specific about what you found shady about the announcement we could have a more substantive debate/discussion, and its entirely possible there are elements of shadiness that I'm not seeing here. At the same time you don't have to justify your opinion to me or anyone else so don't feel pressured/compelled to do so.

    49. RC on

      @inXile "Cleverness will be rewarded"

      I love puzzles. Sometimes, puzzles are presented that require specific cultural knowledge or awareness. Please don't create puzzles that requires someone to know Scottish or American, or British, pop...etc culture unless that foundational information/knowledge is also well communicated in-game.

      Especially, if there are puzzles that require us to know something about another game series to solve such as Wasteland or Torment. References are fine, gateway knowledge for in-game benefits aren't cool. Please don't do this.

    50. Kevin on

      All of this is simply glorious, take your time. We'll gladly wait for this vision to complete.