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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.

The Mage and The Bard

Posted by inXile entertainment (Creator)

Hello Exiles,

As you might have already seen, we just announced a new game we're developing: The Mage's Tale! This is a brand-new VR title coming to Oculus Touch, which we hinted at last holiday during our year-in-review video.

The Mage's Tale is a first-person VR adventure set in the world of The Bard's Tale, where you play as a young mage (who else?), using tactile functions to craft and throw spells to defeat your foes. It is a separate stand-alone title, which means you don't need familiarity with The Bard's Tale to play it. It is not directly tied to The Bard's Tale IV either, so it's not required for you to play The Mage's Tale to enjoy The Bard's Tale IV, or vice-versa. And it's great news for The Bard's Tale IV, for reasons I'll explain below! But first, the guys from Tested came by our studio to try the game out, check it out below!

As I touched upon in my year-end message, the NOLA studio has grown quite a lot in the past year, and this project was part of what allowed us to do that - thus accruing more talent in one place, faster than we could have dreamed. But I also mentioned inXile works in a team structure, meaning nearly all our staff are fully dedicated to one project or another. Oculus Studios' publishing allowed us to hire a team for Mage's without affecting the team we were already growing for Bard's, a team that has been hard at work on things we have already been showing you. And I want to reiterate not a penny from our crowdfunding went into The Mage's Tale, in fact quite the opposite as we'll explain below. The crowdfunding monies has been fully earmarked for The Bard's Tale IV's team.

So in a direct sense, The Mage's Tale does not affect The Bard's Tale IV. But there are some benefits... One benefit is that in creating The Mage's Tale, we need to become familiar with and develop technology and tools, just like on any other game. With each game, there is a time investment in getting up to speed on all of that. Since both The Bard's Tale IV and The Mage's Tale are being built on Unreal Engine 4, there is naturally a synergistic benefit between both of them.

But here's the best news for backers: after having seen our videos and screenshots, we saw many of you asking how we're able to build a game this graphically polished on a $1.5 million budget. We're pleased to say that while both games are being worked on by separate teams, many of the environments, models, textures, animations, and other graphical assets that we've been able to use for The Mage's Tale are going back into The Bard's Tale IV. That means we can make The Bard's Tale IV look better, and frees us up to spend more resources to build on that art set, and this helps us get to the vision of what we wanted The Bard's Tale IV to be.

Bottom line - the assets coming in from Mage's allow us to make The Bard's Tale IV a larger game than otherwise possible, with larger levels and more varied enemies. Of course, continued back catalog sales from our other games, and sales of Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is releasing this Feb. 28th, will continue to flow directly into our projects, allowing us to make them that much bigger and better!

This asset sharing is limited to graphical assets, as the two games are very different in design - The Bard's Tale IV being a much more complex game, which is on track to be the rich turn-based dungeon crawler experience we've promised from the outset. 

Oh and by the way, all you dungeon crawl fans, we noted some saw the last combat video and thought we ditched grid-based movement. Not at all! We'll be excited to show more traditional, grid-based movement as well as other great features in updates to come!

Brian Fargo
Your Leader in Exile

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D-Boy, Perry Chen, and 119 more people like this update.


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    1. RoyT on

      Oculus is paying for it and gets to call the shots

    2. Missing avatar

      Heillon on

      Errrr why oculus? Because oculus is an instant no buy because of their unfriendly business practices...

    3. Clea Forsell on

      DeeK - Yes, but what you're missing here, is they were talking PC VR, Playstation is a complete other story.

    4. Clea Forsell on

      Excited to see Mage's Tale and looking into getting a Oculus Touch setup. Still waiting on Bard's Tale however, can't wait for beta

    5. Netobvious

      Hope this game makes it in good time, since production delays seem to be plaguing many a computer game on Kickstarter.

    6. Adam Sherman on

      Vive owner, I will need to crack it to play it, sadly.

    7. DeeK on

      Azriel quotes ....
      "Oculus only = no buy, you did not do your homework, vive is the clear winner in the VR war."

      Hah! You, my friend, have not done your own homework. PSVR has outsold both Oculus and Vive. If there was a war, it's the PSVR that has won.

      Anyway, I say good luck to InXile with The Mage's Tale. If Oculus have funded the game, then it should certainly be an exclusive for them. After all, the game wouldn't exist without that funding. Plus, as a bonus for us kickstarters, we get a more fleshed out Bard's Tale because of it. That's a win for me.

    8. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Rivethead: "comfortable with the idea", idea is a thought not a fact. Standing alone you could read that sentence both ways, sure. But how does your interpretation fit with another quote (from the same article)? "We think VR is going great. It's going in a way that's consistent with our expectations".

      This sentence is not consistent with your interpretation and other news sources are less ambiguous:

      Read for example . Clearly the headline shows that they don't think your interpretation is correct.

    9. Rivethead on

      @MikeHumphreys.....I suspect the answer is in the contract between InXile and Old Skuul. Rebecca is clearly the best person to do the remastering having written the majority of the source code. It sounds like this was an opportunity to get Old Skuul some name recognition. It also sounds (reading the remaster thread) that OS was to be paid on completion and delivery of an alpha. This is great for InXile....they're out nothing until delivery of a product they can give backers of this project. A fixed bid contract that InXile knows exactly the cost and exactly the events that will incur the cost. All the risk is on Old Skuul. And apparently the failed to deliver.

      While I'm not happy about getting a backer reward I'm very happy that InXile kept it's eye on the prize: Bards Tale IV. I really don't want them mucking with the remasters. That takes time, effort, and money that could be better spent on the primary product.

      Which, again, is my concern. What if the Mage's Tale becomes the primary focus? Fortunately, it sounds like the NOLA team is focused on BTIV and I've been very happy with what I've seen so far (full disclosure: never played BT1-3 so the tie backs to those games are less important to me).

    10. Rivethead on

      @meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB - Gabe's exact quote is:

      "We're also pretty comfortable with the idea that it will turn out to be a complete failure."

      Doesn't sound like a lot of speculation to me. The article clearly states that Valve has skin in the game - they're working on VR projects. But it appears (at least to me) like they've already determined what many suspect: VR is just a fad. No harm in making money on a fad.....

    11. MikeHumphreys on

      @InXile If you were wary of Olde Skuul holding up their end of the deal and now believe they won't, then why not hire another freelancer to do the remastering project?

      I've replaced freelancers mid-project multiple times when they fail to meet agreed upon deadlines and stop answering phone calls/emails about their lack of progress.

      You could easily do the same with Old Skuul or hire a second party to do the remastering process while things are in limbo with them.

      It seems to me that would be money well invested for a few reasons:

      1. Cashflow. A remastered BT1-3 series is a sellable product. Based on how well remastered versions of Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Icewind Dale 1 & 2 have sold, you could quickly recoup your investment. You could have them remastered one at a time if need be based on budget (time, money, manpower) constraints. As each one is finished, it could be sold via Steam/Gog to help finance the continued remastering efforts.
      2. New customers. People aren't already familiar with the Bard's Tale universe could get hooked onto it by playing BT1, 2, or 3.
      3. Goodwill with your backers. You have 33,000+ backers, most of whom are expecting this as part of backing BT4. As you've already seen from the comments, there could be a large negative public backlash by failing to deliver on such a highly prized campaign item. Which leads into my last point.
      4. Lifetime value of a backer. If you treat your backers fairly and kindly, they will eagerly back future projects of yours and promote them to their friends and family. If you think I'm kidding, then take a look at how Hare Brained Schemes, Larian, and Obsidian Entertainment have done this. Each one of them have been able to get future projects easily funded because they built and kept positive goodwill with their past backers. Obsidian just raised $4.4M on Fig for Pillars of Eternity 2 and that's not counting future PayPal pledges either.

    12. Missing avatar

      Brian Savidge on

      Nice to hear the benefits of another project can be used by the bards tail to improve it and I guess likewise The Bards tale experience will help the mages tail. It is a shame its Oculus only and probably is being designed for Oculus rather than all VR headsets like Vive where you can move around an area, but any money is good money and hopefully you can put your experiences towards other future VR games that do work on other platforms including the Vive.

    13. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Rivethead: AFAIK Newell said it as a speculation. *If* VR turns out a failure in the future, it wouldn't suprise or devastate him. At the moment VR is as they expected on a slow start, and nobody knows whether it will take off in a few years or vanish again. Read the whole interview (and read it somewhere else where they didn't tell it that ambiguously), generally he seems positive about the potential of VR.

    14. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      @Matt Wilson - Torment copies are available already on the BTIV backer site if you want Steam (the key lets you play early access and then the full game on release), and GOG keys should be coming soon too!

      @Rivethead - Yes, we agree what happened with the remasters is unfortunate. We were initially a bit wary of this, which is why we did not initially frame it as a promised reward, but rather as a project Olde Skuul was developing separately. Unfortunately, our concerns appear to have ended up being founded based on our experiences since then. That said, Olde Skuul have apparently suggested elsewhere (not to us) that the BT Remaster is still in development, and we would obviously be very happy to release it if they do end up finishing it.

      @meganothing - That's exactly right. We feel we would be doing a major disservice to our Bard's Tale IV backers for not talking about Mage's Tale. We wanted to make absolutely clear from the start why the game was being developed, how it was being funded, and how it was also benefiting Bard's Tale IV's development and inXile as a whole.

    15. Rivethead on

      Gabe Newell knows a few things about video games. He has went on record stating that VR will be a complete failure. I agree. I don't want anything on my face when I play a video game. Same reason 3D tvs failed.

      While I'm happy that it appears that BTIV will benefit indirectly via some asset sharing, I'm concerned about the emphasis of direction. I really get the impression that Brian would rather build/play VR games than traditional dungeon crawlers.

      Regarding the BT remasters......I expected this. From the very beginning I was suspicious of Old Skuul. I mean, what have they produced? What's their track record? Rebecca came across (at least to me) as very arrogant and full of herself in various videos and blog posts. But then I went and looked at the history of Old Skuul....and I didn't find anything to back up that arrogance. I think a comment from the remasters thread sums it up best: InXile are guilty of having a great idea (remastered BT games) and giving it to the wrong people......

      Still hopeful that BTIV will be a great game...but doubts are developing.

    16. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      Imagine Magic Tale were a Rolex: I.e. InXile was hired to design a Rolex watch which you can't afford and don't want to buy anyway. But because of designing that Rolex (with a new team specifically hired for this) InXile has more money for BT4. Hooray. Good news.

      I don't like Occulus politics at all, exclusivity is a vile practice, so I decided long ago that I will never own a Rift. Because of that Magic Tale is (for the time being) not for me, just like the majority of PS4 and xbox games or everything Rolex ever made is not for me. Do I blame Rolex for producing things that are not for me? Should I?

      So what, I'm looking forward to BT4, not a Rolex.

    17. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Eric: If they didn't post this update, what would have happened when Mage Tale were demoed on the next game convention? "Oh, look, they have been doing Mage Tale with BT4 assets and we weren't told. Inxile isn't telling us anything...". So, really, be happy that they tell you what is happening and even how they can finance such a graphically expensive game with less than 1,2 million dollar net budget from kickstarter.

    18. Eric Brockway on

      If this works on Vive then I'd be interested but I'll never buy a Rift so this advertisement disguised as an update only annoys me. And, to echo a few others on here, where's the remastered versions of 1-3 ?

    19. Roq on

      Can't see what all the whining is about. It appears that Oculus have sub contracted InExile to do some work on their behalf. What is wrong with that? That money can help pay InExile's overheads and facilitate their other projects, by asset sharing. In an ideal world all games would run on all platforms, but you've got to generate the cash to run your studio - Anyone who has been following Kickstarter should by now appreciate that even the higher end KS budgets are insufficient to make high quality games, without cutting corners, so companies like InExile have to bootstrap themselves in any way they can. Hence contracts such as this are important to their future viability and should be welcome.

    20. Matt Wilson on

      For those of us who backed with the Tides of Numenera digital copy, when can we expect to receive the details or code? Many thanks..

    21. Missing avatar

      jtoast on

      No vive, no sale. Whats the point of VR without roomscale?

    22. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      @Andrew Tuckett - That's correct, Mage's Tale is not just art resource. There are two separate engineering teams for MT and BT. Several UE4 systems were brought into BT that provided savings on development cycles which we are seeing positive returns.

      @Todd Ferrullo - You can find more info on the BT1-3 remasters here:…

    23. Michaeljack on

      After the crap you guys pulled with Torment now Bards Tale i'm not giving you another penny! Even so, the Rift? Really?…

    24. Todd Ferrullo on

      Seriously, they have time to post this and can not find the time to give us an update on the more than a year late remastered versions of 1-3? I find it amazing that they are so adroit in avoiding any attempt to even mention them. Perhaps they assume that if they pretend that they never promised them then they will just quietly go away/

    25. HydroDrag0n on

      Unfortunately Rift support is useless to those of us who have invested in the superior platform. Does this mean backers will be getting their software later than those who purchase it from other distribution channels now that you have taken Facebook's money?

    26. Belisarius

      Sorry if this question comes across as too focused on this KS, but what's happening with the remasters of bards tale 1-3?

    27. Missing avatar

      Azriel on

      "As for it coming to other VR platforms, the game will show up there in the future!"

      6 months to a year right? I really hate stupid exclusives. Too bad the game wills till be bad on a vive since it will still use the horrible rift configuration (standing in one spot like a pole) instead of using awesome roomscale to move around.

    28. Tar Andfeathers on

      I hate VR. Rather see more classic RPGs.

    29. Joel Fox on

      "So in a direct sense, The Mage's Tale does not affect The Bard's Tale IV." You can say that, you can even mean that, but ultimately it *does* affect Bard Tale IV's development, even if only peripherally. Remember how that Wasteland 3 crowdfunding didn't perform as well as similar campaigns? That's probably because you've got too many pies in the oven, if you'll pardon the cliche.

      Whether or not development is directly affected or not is largely immaterial: from the consumers' perspective, it's hard to maintain confidence in a developer that is starting work on a new game when only one out of their last three crowdfunded projects has actually been released.

    30. Eunu on

      As a Vive owner I get the frustration, but I won't complain because I did not back The Mage's Tale, I backed The Bard's Tale. I wondered how inXile was producing their lush art assets, and now we know the Oculus-supported title is behind The Bard's Tale developing into a more beautiful and compelling experience than was funded.

    31. Craig on

      Sigh yet another game I can't play since I'm a VIVE owner...

    32. Missing avatar

      Asmodeus2012 on

      Seriously, oculus only? It's very shortsighted to exclude Vive and others. I understand that the devs are taking money from FB. But no buy from me unfortunately.

    33. Paul Nickerson on

      As for the Oculus I dont own a VR Headset I dont make that much money and if Im gonna buy a game I rather it be PC game and if this Oculus is going to make my BT4 better then Im all for it. Thanks for the upgrade. I do appreciate it. It means alot to me

    34. Missing avatar

      mbpopolano24 on

      Booooo......Booooo.....Booooo........U Suck......

      Get off my loan, and deliver what we paid for... ixLie, mark my words: NEVER AGAIN.

    35. Paul Nickerson on

      If Im getting this right Oculus Studios paid inXile entertainment for the rights to produce a game which means Oculus Studio is making the game is this correct

    36. Andrew Tuckett on

      Thats good news for Bards Tale IV which will benefit from all the additional graphics work. I imagine exclusivity for the Mages Tale will expire after a time. InXile will want to sell to the wider market after all.

    37. Jarrett Menard on

      Sooooooo, when's the BT IV Beta coming again? When's the new estimated release date, because we all know it's not 10/2017. The majority of what I get for KS Updates are storyline themes and promos for other Kickstarters; not stuff that makes me feel my hard earned money was well, or timely, spent. Your apparent lack of focus is disturbing...

    38. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      Just to clarify, this title is published by Oculus Studios and fully funded by them. The game would simply not exist without them, and they’ve been incredibly supportive and helpful to our efforts, which will feed back into BTIV as outlined in the update. As for it coming to other VR platforms, the game will show up there in the future!

    39. MikeHumphreys on

      I gotta say I'm extremely disappointed in InXile's lack of progress on getting the remastered versions of BT1-3 done. It's a big reason why I bumped my original pledge for BT4 and I figured I'd be playing at least one of them by now.

      I've been self-employed for 23+ years. There's always a way to tweak a contract if one party has hit a snag because of delayed compensation.

      But InXile would rather go back on their word to 33,000+ backers than to work with Old Skuul to get the damn collection finished.

      It's just a bad business decision that can only bite InXile in their professional backside. Especially when you come back to your old backers to back your next game. People aren't going to forget that you didn't hold your end of the deal with BT4.

      A remastered BT1-3 collection is a saleable product. If a remastered Baldurs Gate 1 & 2 can sell 400,000+ copies a piece, then BT1-3 collection could produce similar revenue for InXile. At $20 a pop, that would be $8M in additional sales.

    40. Missing avatar

      Dave blanchard on

      This update says we get the updated versions of the game free:

      I'm a fan of the games you have done....but this is weird that you have no idea about them....

      Does this mean you are no longer paying for the finished product?

    41. Missing avatar

      Mark Powley on

      It's disappointing that we are still seeing people focus on the Oculus Rift alone, this announcement has saddened me if I am honest. I like many other backers own a Vive and don't like closed doors.

    42. Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on

      @inXile These shenanigans are why you're losing backers' have zero transparency and if something goes wrong you just keep quiet and pretend it didn't happen like the still "coming soon" Avellone novel and the cuts to TToN you didn't mention until forced to. Now there's peachy language like "if they are working on it"......what do you mean "if"......that is something you definitely should know and if they are why would you shy from saying they are. This BS political talk disgusts me.

    43. Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on

      @inXile These shenanigans are why you're losing backers' have zero transparency and if something goes wrong you just keep quiet and pretend it didn't happen like the still "coming soon" Avellone novel and the cuts to TToN you didn't mention until forced to. Now there's peachy language like "if they are working on it"......what do you mean "if"......that is something you definitely should know and if they are why would you shy from saying they are. This BS political talk disgusts me.

    44. Soopy on

      I understand that accepting a large amount of money to build a game for oculus was too good of a proposition to pass up. I only ask that you at least port it over to the Vive when your exclusive period is over.

    45. Missing avatar

      Dave blanchard on aren't even talking to them?

    46. Missing avatar

      Niels on

      Looks interesting, but Occulus only... no buy

    47. Sam Genoese

      Please, by all means, correct me if I am wrong, but I would wager that the reason this new game is only on the Oculus Rift is because Oculus/Facebook paid you for exclusivity. Not only is this sort of practice detrimental to the burgeoning VR community, but downright hostile to your fans. I understand you have your reasons for accepting such a deal, but I have my reasons for choosing not to support such practices. I will vote with my wallet by not purchasing a product deliberately supporting an inferior business practice and, secondarily, an inferior piece of hardware. Develop for the Vice as well please.

    48. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      @Dave blanchard If Olde Skuul is still working on it, we look forward to playing it, but as it stands it's in their hands and we can't comment on it further!

    49. Aric Buroker on

      I'm with the others hoping this can be played on Vive. I'm not interested in anything from Palmer Luckey.