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Join the RPG renaissance! From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy.
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 Gameplay Video

150 likes

Greetings Exiles,

I’m excited to finally be able to show you our vision for how exploration and combat in Bard’s Tale IV will be presented and played.

Combat is the core of a dungeon crawler and our goal has always been to make sure that it is tactical, deep and pays off visually. We also knew to stay with our roots with combat being party based and phased based, yet we’ve come up with a unique way to present this style of gameplay. You’ll note that we still support six characters for the player to command along with two empty slots for summoned creatures.

 

Obviously, this is still in development and there are things we’re not in love with yet.  Namely, the characters on the HUD are still at a first pass. We will be updating their visual look and likely not have them bouncing around as they speak. And the visuals will only continue to improve as we layer on more VFX for world atmosphere, spells and combat effects, add additional post processing, upgrade the materials for the character models and greatly dial up the ambient life in scenes. Already you can see small touches in our use of planar reflections in the puddles of water, and what you can’t see is our system for dynamically corrupting the forest based on the actions of the player. We want you to feel the effects you have on the world constantly.

Additionally, though the camera movement allows for and shows off free movement, we have laid the maps out such that you can snap into grid movement as well.

Getting personality and character into games is paramount to me, and you get a small glimpse of one of the moments when the party runs across the goblins. Expect more of these small scenes that show the world operating outside of what the player chooses to do.

Welcome to the Dungeon

The video above is a select portion of the Fichti Forest, one of the areas we've been building for the game. Our goal with it is to show you a number of the game's elements and give you a feeling for how the it will actually play out. Doubtless, many of you are wondering about some of the things you're seeing. So I'd like to clarify a few of the points in the video. Many of these are aspects of gameplay we hinted at in previous updates, but now we're able to talk about them in more detail.

Exploration Tools & Abilities

 

One of the defining features of the classic Bard's Tale games was the use of exploration-focused songs and spells. This is a feature that will be returning in The Bard's Tale IV. Songs of Exploration and Adventurer's Tools were discussed in an earlier update, and can be thought of as specific puzzle-solving or traversal tools that you'll use when going through the world. This includes usable items you will collect, such as keys, torches, and more, as well as special bardic songs that you can play. The song you're seeing in the video, The Stone Remembers, allows the party to rebuild certain rune-emblazoned pieces of architecture, opening up new paths and routes.

Party Chatter

Part of our expanded CNPC system stretch goal for the game comes in the form of our party chatter system. As you explore the world, your characters will banter among themselves, offering personality-filled insights into the events you are seeing. You can also bet some of these will feed into side content, like hidden treasure or secret rooms and puzzles in the depths of our dungeons.

Combat System

This is what many of you have been waiting to see. We talked about some of our high level ideas in previous updates, specifically with respect to our grid-based system. Now you are seeing it in action. On the game HUD, you can see your party occupying 2 rows of 4 spaces each. Enemies will line up on the opposite grid with the same number of slots. The exact positioning of enemies, as well as your own party, will determine which attacks can land, and which will swing wild past their mark.

Another system you are seeing in place is opportunity. The blue and yellow gems on the HUD represent your party's and your enemy's opportunity. Opportunity is a shared resource that each side has, and it is granted each turn in combat. Unlike some other games where you will be forced to use action points for each character (or skip their turn), opportunity is a bit like a shared action point pool. The flexibility of this system means that party members can set up multi-hit combos, reposition for multiple attacks, or evade danger more effectively.

One thing that is harder to see in the video is our input queuing system. When you take an action in combat, you can begin ordering another party member before the action has played out. Although we intentionally slowed things down for the video to keep it a bit easier to follow, in practice this keeps the flow of combat moving along faster than a traditional turn-based system.

There's a lot more to talk about here, from the way elements like health, mana, and armor interact with each other, how channeling abilities and focus work, the way that temporary status boons can affect a character's functionality, or how positional tactics can let you set up more devastating damage. These open up a lot of subtle possibilities, but we'll save more of those details for future updates.

Crowdfunding Shout-Outs

It seems it's crowdfunding season again, and a number of great projects have been taking off lately.

 

The first is Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, by Obsidian Entertainment, whose crowdfunding campaign just launched. Pillars shares a certain party-based, fantasy-oriented lineage with The Bard's Tale, albeit from a different sort of perspective. We loved the first one and are excited to see what Pillars II will bring to the table. The campaign quickly passed its goal but it's still possible to back if you are interested.

 

I also wouldn't want to leave you without a quick mention of The Banner Saga 3, which has recently launched on Kickstarter. Stoic Studio has made a name for itself making these gorgeous turn-based tactical RPGs over the last few years, and now they want to finish the trilogy. Many at inXile are fans of the first two games and this next one is looking great as well, so take a look!

Brian Fargo

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Rudi, Daniel Murphy, and 148 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. David Nemeskey on March 22

      Watching the video again, it feels as if the party consisted of foot-tall members, because that is where the POV is positioned. Please fix this, because it looks very confusing.

      As for the characters, why not have them, too, as 3D models? Then you could animate their faces when they talk (instead of popping), and the player could see them turn back and forth, which could address Stefan's second issue. Also, it would give you much more freedom, so in battle, the characters could just turn their head to the other party member they are talking to, not to the player.

      It might also make sense to have different POVs for adventuring and "battle mode". The difference could be as small as taking two steps back before a battle; i.e. with a 3D-modelled party, in adventure mode, the camera would be at the front of the party, and in battle mode, the back.

    2. Missing avatar

      Craig DuBose on March 15

      I love the dice rolling for stats.

    3. Missing avatar

      Craig DuBose on March 15

      how is the party building going to work?

    4. Stefan Lütjen
      Superbacker
      on March 6

      Corrections: *feelings / *from the back / *the
      sorry for the spelling mistakes

    5. Stefan Lütjen
      Superbacker
      on March 6

      Looks great so far, but two things i'm not very happy with, so i want to make two suggestions:
      1. Can you please make the bottom line, where you show the party, transparent? Or maybe give the player the option to switch to a transparent mode in the graphic options? so the player who like to see more from the beautiful landscape doesn't got the ffeling to being disturbed by the big bottom line.

      2. Seeing the party character from bag and then from the front, than back again seemes a little bit confusing und disturbing for me. Can there be too a players choice in the graphic settings, where the player may choose, if he want to see the party the whole game from the front or from tha back and front?

      Besides that, keep on the good work. Looks fantastic in this early (or maybe not so early anymore) state.

      And thanks for sharing this video with us.

      'nice day

    6. David Nemeskey on March 5

      Looks great. I like how the bantering brings back the "coins and cleavage" spirit a little, too.

      There are two things that bug me a bit. I agree with the others that the UI and the characters do not blend in well. I also find it strange that the group of goblins (trow?) we first see seem totally impervious that the party builds back a huge rocky bridge next to them. There should be an area in which NPCs realize what is happening around them and they should react to the party then (e.g. attack, flee, start a conversation, etc.).

    7. Missing avatar

      Matthew Klein on February 24

      I appreciate what others are saying and it's totally valid, but I just wanted to comment to say I'm really excited about what you're showing. Then again, I've always been a fan of the Pathfinder goblins, too. Kinda jokey and corny, but nothing to laugh at when they start swinging rusted pieces of sharp implement at you.

      I guess I'm also assuming these are low-level mooks and things would get a lot more serious with the deepening delve.

    8. Missing avatar

      skeezix on February 22, 2017

      Wooow, the art direction (landscape colouration and so forth) is perfect.. just spot on; that combination of lush yet alien with varied colour and lighting.. cannot wait! Not sure if I'm a fan of that single 'abilities' button but I'm sure you'll figure out the right balance as playtesting happens. Superb work!

    9. BlackGauntlet
      Superbacker
      on February 22, 2017

      @Phil Airey
      To be fair, we weren't this old when we first played the Bard's Tale series.
      Back then, I already felt that it was a franchise that took itself less serious than M&M and Wizardry.
      Then again, I would prefer it to be more whimsical than juvenile.

    10. Missing avatar

      Phil Airey on February 20, 2017

      I have to echo some of the sentiments I hear in the forum... while the combat seems fine and an interesting take on party based grids... the wisecracking cartoony nature of the creatures is a little tonally jarring. Is this modelled on modern pop up books for children? Most of the fan base are well into their thirties and up... the divine and magical nature of the setting seemed initially to be glorious and ethereal, but this is a little... Jim Hensonesque? Willow meets Dark Crystal? I hope this is early days for the art direction and not the entire focus. I'm not hoping for grimdark, but the fantastical high fantasy tone needs a little dirt under its fingernails to indicate danger, rather than jolly hijinks, methinks. My two cents.

    11. Sir Chaox on February 17, 2017

      I don't really have a problem with anything here other than the tone. It seems like a children's game to me. Is this the aim of the game? I'm not expecting anything dark but something more adult was my expectation. Otherwise, I like where it's going.

    12. Missing avatar

      Daz Moore on February 15, 2017

      I am kind of disappoint in the 2D Characters, mini 3d character would look so much more professional even if they were minimal polygons

    13. Missing avatar

      Chris on February 15, 2017

      I'm very late to the comment party on this one, but here are mine:

      - Overall, it's beautiful.
      - I don't mind the in-party chatter, but wonder how that will interact with our ability to create our own characters. Do we get to choose their personalities or voices at all?
      - I am profoundly grateful to see that you are looking at supporting six player characters.
      - I hope there will be an option for subtitles/captions, because I had a hard time understanding the comments of some of the characters (in particular the enemies during the fight).
      - I agree with @RC that having the men hushing the woman was rather off-putting. It's a minor thing, I just hope that we don't see a large number of minor things pile up and result in a mess.
      - The combat system looked good mechanically, could use some work on the UI side but I like the opportunity system and such.

    14. Leon Chia on February 12, 2017

      I must say I belong to the "I dislike this" camp. Sorry, but this looks more like a children's animated story book. UI aside, the fundamental mechanics of this demo appear to be prioritizing atmosphere and storytelling rather than GAMEPLAY. Please strike a better balance. More fun and fulfilling gameplay instead of ponderous movement and smart-alecky dialogue. If this is the way the game is going to be, I must express my serious regret at having backed this. I'd rather play the original BT games.

    15. Daniel on February 11, 2017

      I really like what I am seeing so far. Keep up the good wrk and love that ambient atmosphere

    16. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on February 10, 2017

      Just wondering, will all dialogue in the game be voiced, or is there some that is just text?

      I like the character comments, but I could do without the large pop-ups when they speak. Just a small portrait with the text next to it would be nice, instead of the whole HUD. Also, I don't think the portraits should move at all, either while speaking or during combat. It looks...weird to me.

      Honestly, the game world is so beautiful that part of me wishes it were just a single character, real-time RPG. The combat seems interesting, though, once it's refined. Curious to see what the HUD will look like when it's finished.

    17. BdB on February 9, 2017

      Sorry to give negative feedback but iam very disappointed .
      I dislike the interface but the combat oh my Lord if i knew it would be like this i would not even pledged sure not pledged for a CE .

    18. MikeHumphreys on February 9, 2017

      Okay, my three cents...

      The environment and monsters look great. The HUD is way too big IMHO. I think going with one similar to Wasteland 2 would be far better. That's where the active character's battle options are in the lower center of the screen and the rest of the party (inactive characters) are simply shown by their faces in the lower left corner. It would free up more of the screen for the battle and shift the emphasis to seeing the battle play out full screen vs. most of the screen.

      IMHO, I'd kill the "looking back at the player" animations entirely. If we're walking in a group someplace, most of the time people are going to talk without turn to look at whoever is behind them. Also, unless the characters' mouths are going to move when they talk, there's no point in having them face the screen because it just makes them look like cardboard cutouts popping up in front of a beautiful game environment.

    19. Andy Linea of Sin - DOoD on February 9, 2017

      The environment is so beautiful, there is no place for such big pop-up imho. :D
      Maybe something smaller like only the portrait in a corner, maybe even inside of a comic buble? They could be cool!

    20. Missing avatar

      Neo on February 9, 2017

      I don't like this UI - it's terrible. The combat system also not awesome.

      The game is less similar to what I had expected when backed it.

    21. Missing avatar

      DerekG on February 9, 2017

      I also agree with Ricks who says, "I'd prefer an overall consistent style (and preferably the realistic one)." Don't get too cartoony, that was your last game and we all know how well that went.

      And for Gods sakes Brian, leave the singing to the sountrack. If you have any singing elves, rats, or whatever else I'm driving to Orange County to pee on your car.

    22. Missing avatar

      DerekG on February 9, 2017

      Pop up party talk has to go. Otherwise, it looks very nice!

    23. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on February 8, 2017

      Who had the brilliant idea to leave mbpopolano24 in the dark about this being a pre-alpha first look into game play and art. The poor man thinks this is already a polished and finished version when in reality there is still a lot of experimenting and testing going on.

      (Sorry for the sarkasm, but do you want to get information about development or not? If yes, don't expect everything to work or look good)

    24. RC on February 8, 2017

      @Skirge01 It's not about who it might offend. It's about propagating and reinforcing that behavior in todays' society. The game is set in a fantasy setting. It doesn't have to emulate the worst characteristics of human behavior in medieval times to be fun and immersive. *burp*

    25. HunterAP on February 8, 2017

      This doesn't look anything like the game that I thought that I was backing. I thought that I was backing a modern version of, "The Bard's Tale." After all, this is called, "The Bard's Tale IV." This looks more like StoneKeep. It looks like an attempt to, "break new ground," in the dungeon crawl genre. I didn't want to back a, "ground breaking," game. I wanted to back a modernized old-school dungeon crawl. I would not play the game that I'm seeing in that video. I would find it way to slow paced and boring. And like other commenters have said, the interface is not good.

      The artwork is fantastic.

    26. Nobody on February 8, 2017

      @RC @Rick
      Correcting spell check failure:
      Where i do agree with you is that the bard/fighter should speak with a quiet voice and the tune has to be also more quiet than this.

    27. Missing avatar

      Skirge01 on February 8, 2017

      @RC: We'll have to agree to disagree then. The game seems to take place in what would have been the Middle Ages, albeit with a fantasy slant. In that era, being PC wasn't a thing. They shouldn't (and I'm sure won't) go nuts being offensive, but if the designers worry about every scene and line of dialog and who it might offend, they may as well not make the game at all. Nowadays, there's a person out there to get offended by anything someone says. Hell, I probably offended the mentally ill by using the word "nuts" just now.

    28. Missing avatar

      mbpopolano24 on February 8, 2017

      It looks... horrific. Also, it will be a pain to play. Who had the brilliant idea to have characters looking US, the player, instead of the enemies in the battlefield, when activated, should be forced to resign... a prime example of inXlie at its best, which means the worst possible outcome, of course.

    29. Nobody on February 8, 2017

      @RC @Rick
      I do not agree with your opinions concerning the shushing. The first time the woman has spoken out about certain death that the heroes awaits, and for that reason of lowering the moral of the party she was hushed. This would also happen to any man if he did the same on an important mission or quest, especially by superstitious party members.
      The woman seems to be a gloomy or fatalistic person while the bard/fighter is a superstitious person.
      The second time she was silenced or pointed out that she should speak less loud, because they were right beside the cobolds or goblins. The bard has played the tune and has spocken as they were further away.
      Where i do agree is that the bard/fighter should speak with a quite voice and the tune has to be also more quite than this.
      Perhaps the second situation with the woman was entirely unnecessary and should be droped, because it contributes nothing towards the characters, but the first time this is really awesome and tells much about the heroes.

    30. RC on February 8, 2017

      @Skirge01 I definitely considered those things. However, this was inXile's first brief example to which now -more- than two ladies I know don't appreciate what they've referred to in one way or another as the "tone deafness" to issues women of all ages that they face daily, by the script writer and whichever members of the team decided this particular clip and example should be the first foot forward for the game.

      I also commented in my previous post that it was "No doubt wholly unintentional" which doesn't mean it should be explained away. All or some of those things may be true, but it doesn't change the perception that some member or members of the team cut and approved this clip, without awareness of how it would come across, or just thought it was funny and didn't care.

      Or worse, they did know, and cared, and hoped it would generate some (minor?) controversy (success?) to get people and media talking about the game (all publicity is good publicity?), so they could later come back into the conversation with more eyes on the project to win some hearts and minds with, "Oh, hey...no, we didn't know, totally sorry! We'll fix this, and will (insert pro-women's issue resolution) to ensure it doesn't occur again!" - which would essentially have been using a hot topic women's plight for promotional gain.

      Ultimately, I think the ladies were right that they were just tone deaf to how it might come across, because we've seen them being tone deaf to us as backers and fans on other issues too. So my guess is through lack awareness/detached ignorance they're propagating chauvinism as Ricks pointed out.

      All it takes...good men to do nothing...etc.

    31. Missing avatar

      Skirge01 on February 8, 2017

      @RC & @Ricks: Trying to add another perspective to the shushing. I do understand what you're saying, but we've only see 3 characters in 2 quick scenes of the entire game. (Hopefully) this may not be representative of the norm for the game. Also, could it be that this particular female character is so confident in herself that she doesn't CARE what the men tell her, so she just continues speaking whenever the heck she wants? I'm thinking about a character in the vein of "The unsinkable" Molly Brown. Finally, did you notice that the... barbarian?... who shushed her the first time did so because she was SCARING him? She was unafraid to speak of "the scary things", but he couldn't handle it.

      Obviously, I don't know the intent of the scenes and we have no background for any of the characters, but I wanted to show how this could pretty easily be spun differently.

    32. Missing avatar

      seth on February 8, 2017

      Looks amazing. I love the tone and the atmosphere. Can't wait to play it.

      I didn't mind the 2d portraits, but I add my vote for non-bouncing during voice over. Maybe just some sparkles to highlight who's talking? 3d portraits, IMHO, is overkill.

    33. Bard to the Future on February 8, 2017

      Gonna double post this. One thing I did not like was being told what spell or item to use when reaching the objective. Wouldn't like this game to hold my hand as I play. Take a page out of Underrail's book and make it so you actually have to play attention to what you're doing.

      The banter I did like, but hopefully the game doesn't turn out "jokey." I would like to see a serious and perilous BT game.

      I would also jump at the chance to get BT physical copies in a new kickstarter for their remastering.

    34. GroovyDad and the Slap Me Some Skin Kids on February 8, 2017

      This is looking really good. It wouldn't hurt to run a Kickstarter for them. I would love to see an old school physical copy for those.

    35. Jax Brunsting on February 8, 2017

      This looks great, and I'm really excited about the game, truly I am! However, I'm starting to have the faintest of concerns: the story.

      I see lots of updates and obviously, the gameplay is a HUGE part of this game (seriously, look at those animations of the monsters! Wow!). But you know what would put this game over the top? A fantastic story. So tell me, do you have a good story to back up the gameplay?

      Great gameplay with no story is a tech demo. Not to mention that a great storyline can elevate even gameplay with simplistic or dated technology (see: Planescape: Torment). I know you have a basic framework, but even the original games had an over-arching storyline that ended with you being a hero. So what do those scenes look like? Are they written? Are they story-boarded? Are they at least outlined?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

    36. Missing avatar

      Ricks on February 8, 2017

      hmm...one thing that's also not quite right is, that the player characters and the UI look cartoon-like (like World of Warcraft figures), while the 3d environment and monsters look realistic (realistic in colors, shading and detail). I'd prefer an overall consistent style (and preferably the realistic one).
      For comparison, the MMX:Legacy the monsters, buildings, portraits - all looked rather cartoonish, so it was okay there.
      Granted, it's most likely a tech demo and not the final UI implementation, but thought I mention it.

    37. Radon on February 8, 2017

      Nice shout-out...
      ...and nice vid, but I´d still prefer if InXile wouldn´t stay LowFPS and LowRes in video forever. :D

    38. Lemmeron on February 8, 2017

      Really likes how this looks. One thing that I would like to see is while the character you have selected faces towards you. It really needs to turn around and face the enemy again when it executes its attack etc.

      It looked wrong for it to continue facing away from the enemy as it attacked.

    39. Missing avatar

      Ricks on February 8, 2017

      @RC: thanks for explaining - and I agree with you.

      In fact I also noticed this negatively, when I watched the video the first time. I hoped it was just a "slip", and not that the whole game is... so chauvinistic. It should be a balanced hushing or quarreling.

    40. RC on February 8, 2017

      @Ricks

      The ladies were put off by the player character engagement/scripted convo. They had more to point out than the basics I'll mention, but you can get the gist of what disappointed them.

      Woman Speaks.

      Man hushes her.

      Woman speaks.

      Man shh's her.

      We can hear goblins within earshot. Man plays music(spell), then loudly comments on it.

      No one hushes him.

      No doubt wholly unintentional, but her daughter noticed it immediately and asked her to stop the video because she didn't like how the female player character was being treated, and her mother mentioned feeling uncomfortable with it but felt "that's just what video games are like" until her daughter spoke up.

      So I thought I'd pass it along... ^_^

    41. Sir Frank Radefeldt
      Superbacker
      on February 8, 2017

      Love it already =)

    42. Missing avatar

      Ricks on February 8, 2017

      On second thought I find the layout and controls of the UI is fine... it's just the colors and effects are somewhat uneasy on the eyes, and which could be improved i.e. this thin red font in blue circles is ewww... but as said - just a style and color thing. The system itself is great.

      @RC: what is it they don't like? I'd like to know too.

    43. RC on February 8, 2017

      Visuals look nice. Kudos to the art & design team.

      But, thanks for putting me in the doghouse with my friend's wife. She asked me about new games that involve riddles and music for her fantasy game obsessed almost-teen daughter. So, I mentioned Bard's Tale IV was in development.

      She saw the demo video with her daughter today, who noticed something she really, really didn't like.

      Can you guess, after they watched the demo video, why I'm in the doghouse with her for suggesting BT4?

      *sigh*

      Some folks might think it's minor, but she's not wrong.

    44. Missing avatar

      Archangel on February 8, 2017

      Very cool video. As mentioned bouncing characters when speaking don't look good. But the rest looks pretty cool and fun.
      Also some cool details show that you are really trying your best with this game. I am talking about things like goblins commenting players or each other during combat (like one laughs at others when they got shrunk). You don't need to have stuff like that in the game but it adds atmosphere in same way enemies commenting during combat in Fallout games also added it.
      I hope this was not just added for this combat trailer and the full game will have lots of this.

    45. Missing avatar

      Saxon1974 on February 8, 2017

      The remasters were supposed to be a backer reward and now your saying they might not get finished and its not your fault? Thats not right.

      Game looks decent but not sure how much it feels like Bards Tale. Where are the traps, puzzles and fleshing out of dungeons like the original had? Is that going to be a part of this game? It looks like a bunch of other 3d style games of this type but I am hopeful as we see more it will feel more like Bard's tale.

    46. Missing avatar

      Robert Silesius on February 8, 2017

      Wow, the combat mechanics look amazing!

      However, I still can't get over the fact that the monsters don't feel like Bard's Tale to me AT ALL, sadly. They are too "far out", too disgusting and too brown. Bard's Tale was colorful and light (at least the versions I played on Atari ST and early PC), this just looks wrong.

    47. Jeremie Lariviere
      Superbacker
      on February 8, 2017

      cool update and video, thanks!

    48. Missing avatar

      Pimpollo on February 7, 2017

      This should be addressed ASAP.

      "About the BT Remasters, I listened to an interview in which Olde Skuul said that they are waiting for the business detail to be set and they are not sure when they will be paid so they are not working on them fulltime. Is that correct?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch
      https://forums.inxile-entertainment.com/viewtopic.php… "

    49. BlackGauntlet
      Superbacker
      on February 7, 2017

      Why is the party attacking with their backs facing the enemy? Confidence overflowing?