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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.

Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team


Howdy, Exiles,

David Rogers here with another Bard's Tale IV update. Recently, we gave you our first look at exploration and combat, and your response and feedback were both incredible and very useful in helping us prioritize our efforts. We wanted to respond to much of the feedback we got in more detail while also talking a bit more about some of our gameplay ideas.

So, we took the video that we shot, stuffed me in a sound booth, and created a "director's commentary" on the combat video for you to enjoy!

This deep dive into gameplay and battle mechanics should give you a better sense of the depth we are working towards with Bard's Tale IV, as well as answering a few of your questions that we've seen come up a few times.

Sound Design Update - Introducing Brian DiDomenico

The Bard's Tale has always been well known for its presentation. It was one of the first titles to include music as a gameplay feature, and at the time its visuals were highly expressive and detailed compared to other dungeon crawlers of the day. Our goal is to continue carrying this torch forward on The Bard's Tale IV. You've seen our visuals and art design, which we've detailed a few times previously. Early in our crowdfunding campaign, we also announced the involvement of Julie Fowlis and Ged Grimes contributing the game's unique highland-tinged music, as well as our plans to bring back some of the classic Bard's Tale songs.

Sound design is one key aspect we have not touched on as much yet. Music can stay in your memory for years, and graphics are certainly important for drawing players into the game world. But more than anything else, it's sound that reinforces a game's atmosphere and feel. As a dungeon crawling experience, the audio is what immerses you into the experience, creating a sense of ambiance which is impossible to convey through music and art alone.

The Bard's Tale IV is deep in production, and many of our game systems and environments are rapidly coming together. At this stage, it's critical to have sound design work with our team and capture the unique mood of Skara Brae and the wider world of Caith.

To do this, we're bringing in Brian DiDomenico. Brian is a composer, songwriter and sound designer. Throughout his diverse career, Brian has contributed to many titles you might recognize, including Myst V: Revelation, Jade Empire, Mass Effect 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Lost Planet 3, Ninja Gaiden Z and most recently Here They Lie. Outside of games directly, Brian has performed and recorded music with Mankind is Obsolete, Dismantled and is currently the keyboardist in the Megaman-themed rock band, The Megas. He has also performed at several festivals and conventions including Video Games Live, MAGfest, BitGen, Nerdfest, the Capcom Cup. You can read more about him on his own website.

We're extremely excited to welcome Brian DiDomenico, and we can't wait for our designers and implementers to collaborate with him, and hear what he will be contributing to the game.

That's all for now, but as we barrel through production and start knocking down our internal development milestones, The Bard's Tale IV is looking better and better every day. We'll have more goodies on the game's progress and community updates to share with you soon!

David Rogers
Lead Designer

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    1. Rivethead on

      @BlackGauntlet - First off, yes investing in kickstarters has risks associated with it. There are no guarantees. So no, we might not get BTIV. That's a possibility. Another possibility is that we might not get the BTIV we thought we're going to get. Again, a possibility.

      But regarding the remastered BTI-III, we can only go by what they've told us: they will give us BTI-III emulated versions (and they have). For free (and they were). They have also stated they have an agreement with the original developer to update those emulated versions for modern equipment. It doesn't say we'll get them. And it doesn't say for free if we do. For all we know, they planned on having the updated versions be an add-on item like the novellas.

      Point is, I think way too many people read way too much into those statements and set incorrect expectations over these items and InXile's actions associated with them.

      I'm just glad that InXile hasn't let this become a distraction and has remained focused on BTIV. At it appears that way from the outside.

    2. BlackGauntlet

      Promises are made to be broken, agreements are made to be honored.
      The former will cause moral repercussions while the latter will infringe legal obligations.

      Anyway, don't do more and don't do less is what we should expect.
      I don't get what you're trying to say.
      Would it be better if InXile don't give us BT4 as well?

      It's not like they *promised* us that they will deliver BT4 to us.
      They never even *promised* us that they will be using KS $ on development of this game and not a free holiday in the Bahamas.

      So, from your statement, I take it you mean to say that Kickstarter is a platform to get free money to do whatever you want while backers are all bloomin' idiots to throw money away?

    3. Missing avatar

      Anthony Rolli on

      Enemy units and the combat system in general is looking splendid, keep it up! :)

    4. RC on

      @Rivethead The remasters were used by inXile as a promotional enticement to pledge to the project. They don't have to say "we promise you'll get this" - it's implicitly implied they made arrangements for backers to get it by using it as an enticement. That's how promotional advertising works, and when "the details" turn out to be misleading, it's called something along the lines of "fraud in the inducement." but I'm nt a lawyer, this isn't legal advice, and to be clear, I'm not accusing inXile of fraud.

      I think they tried to do something cool, bungled the management of it, and are choosing to not take responsibility for it based on their own understanding of how involved they felt they wanted to be in a 3rd party developer's project they'd entered into an agreement over.

      Which doesn't change the fact because they used the product of the agreement as an enticement to get backers more excited, and to support their own project, that they have a responsibility on their hands they're choosing to shirk due to a mismanagement on their part. Nor does it change Olde Sküül may have a responsibility to inXile, depending on whatever the terms they arranged may have been, which from the little I know, seems to be the confusion/dispute.

      It might just be a craptastic rock/hard place situation for both inXile and Olde Sküül, but it's backers who suffer for it, along with inXile's reputation.

    5. Rivethead on

      Unless I am mistaken, InXile has never PROMISED remastered original BT games.

      Here's exactly what they said: "We have added the emulated versions of The Bard’s Tale, The Bard’s Tale II: The Destiny Knight and The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate to every tier $20 and above FOR FREE! Additionally, we have an agreement with the original The Bard’s Tale III programmer Rebecca "Burger" Heineman and her company Olde Sküül to update the games for modern machines!"

      "we have an agreement" does not equate to "we promise to deliver".......

    6. Bahasa Inggeris

      I was looking forward to playing the original remasters while waiting for BT4.

      @Mahare, Although inXile gave the project to Olde Skuul, they are still responsible for delivering what was promised. I have little doubt that we won't get them, but as others have said, it may be a while. But to say, "... you can't bank on inXile delivering on the remasters ..." is a slippery slope. Most KS projects utilize other companies to produce some of their product. If a project included miniatures, and then they came back and said, "well it looks like you're not going to get miniatures because the company we hired to do them isn't doing them", I don't think you'd be making the comment "well it's OK, because the proverbial ball is out of their court". You'd probably write a comment asking how long it would be before they chose another company to make the miniatures.

      KS allows a lot of people to reach an audience to bring their projects to life which would not have otherwise been created. Look at Isaac Childres' Gloomhaven. He ran a masterful campaign, updated everyone, and although he ran into problems, he fixed them and delivered a fantastic product. He launched a reprint which brought in $4 million!

      KS also allows others to get money for a project that should never have been made. I point you to Fallen City of Karez by Golden Egg Games (Elad Goldsteen). The basic game was released broken, without instructions that made sense, and to this day, he has not made good on extras that were in higher tiers. He used the money to fund more projects, and continues to make excuses every time he is about to run another KS project.

      Companies that could publish a product today are also using KS to see how much interest is in their product, and to bring in extra money (why not use our money to build their game rather than their money first). Although KS wasn't intended to be used this way, I'm not opposed, as long as the backers get what they pledged for (including any stretch goals or extras promised during the campaign). I think nitrium brings up a good point in inferring that these giants get a lot of $$$ upfront, but they may fall short on promises made. By doing a KS, the company cuts out at least one middleman, so their profits are higher. Stretch goals are used to entice a backer to pay more which increases the profit the company makes. Unfortunately, some companies don't do the math beforehand, and they wind up eating a cost they didn't plan for (like with Gloomhaven). Others choose to bank the profits and go light on the product. The result eventually, is that people stop buying from them, and they'll (hopefully) go out of business.

      TLDR: Giving a company a pass on not delivering what they promised is BS and it encourages them to continue such practices.

    7. RoyT on

      I hope there is an easy mode. The combat may be too complex for me.

    8. RoyT on

      The player party will no longer jump up and down when speaking

    9. nitrium on

      Hopefully more of the crowd-funded resources are put into this game than went into Numenera (which very much failed to deliver on many of the stretch goals). Not sure where all that money went, but that game wasn't nearly as polished or as good as Wasteland 2 imo depsite having well over a MILLION more to spend on it. I guess inXile has somehow aquired a lot of "overheads" (I won't say it's mostly "fast cars, drugs and hookers", oh wait...).

    10. MikeHumphreys on

      Maybe it's just me but I'm disappointed in this update. You showed us the same exact combat video in February.

      Has there been anything changed in terms of gameplay or HUD based on backer feedback since February's update?

    11. Markytheoz on

      The in game world looks lovely, really well crafted. The character portraits are absolutely hideous and horribly distracting from an otherwise well put together experience in that video. I'd rather no representation of our characters other than name/statistics than that (and I struggle to use a polite term) 'art'.

    12. Senchaholic on

      The pauses you did in order to explain was a very good move.

      I agree that a soft constant highlight would be better to signify who's talking.

    13. Jeremie Lariviere

      thanks for the update; i will have to give that a watch later

    14. Missing avatar

      Tomer on

      I love what I see. keep it up :)
      just one question though. i am a gamer who loves to immerse himself more in the story and exploration rather then combat and tactics, so i hope there would still be a lot of exploration and discovery. or an option to balance it differently like game modes or something.

    15. Mahare on

      @Saxon1974 - Olde Skuul did say they're intending to finish the remasters, so I wouldn't say we're not getting them, but I would expect them to be massively delayed.

      @seth - inXile is not working on the remasters. Olde Skuul is. So you can't bank on inXile delivering on the remasters when the proverbial ball is out of their court. I really hope they do come through, as I never played the second and third ones, but here's hoping.

    16. Missing avatar

      Terry on

      This is looking phenomenal.
      I hope that cinematic feel comes through during game play and not just in the videos.

      Any chance of a light highlight over the talking NPC?

    17. mixedsignals on

      Looks great. Keep up the great work.

      I don't check in often enough to know what's going on with the remastered stuff, but censidering that inXile has delivered on everything promised (and then some) for Wasteland 2, I'm not concerned. I look forward to seeing the game and the remasters (on Linux!) when they are ready!

    18. Missing avatar

      Saxon1974 on

      Good video I like the pausing for explanations. Two things stand out to me;

      1. Can you change the grid somehow to not look so "sci fi"? It seems like something more stone looking or less laser in appearance would fit better.
      2. I noticed some of the Bards Tale tunes were used. I assume there will be some that you can play in the background while you explore?

      I especially like how you say even wilderness areas have puzzles to solve.


    19. Missing avatar

      Saxon1974 on

      Very disappointed were not going to get the original remasters.

    20. Rivethead on

      I like today's update, even if it was an expansion on the last. It felt more like a "let's address some concerns" update - but I didn't have any concerns from the last update. So there you go....

      What I would like to see an update on is the exploration system. Specifically the item exploration stuff. I know Brian talked about being influenced by The Room and that BTIV might have interactive items (swords, daggers, etc.) that contain mysteries of their own. Without spoilers, I'd love to see a bit more on that. As a backer of Star Citizen, I've learned to not ask for dates. But....the talk of things quickly coming together has me a bit surprised (in a good way). Will we perhaps see a alpha in 2017?

    21. Kevin M. Brown on

      O man I love The Mega's, their live show as the background music for a dude playing Megaman 2 made me so Jelly.

    22. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      @selune - Olde Skuul is handling those versions of the classic games, but we haven't had any updates from them in some time. We look forward to news from them, but as it stands it's in their hands!


      holy hell this is looking more and more amazing

    24. Mahare on

      @InExile - Don't suppose the soundtrack will give the NES music any love?

    25. Mahare on

      @selune and Jack - It seems it's a he said she said for the remastered. InExile shows progress has stopped as Olde Skuul requested payment (which was promised upon completion) - but Rebecca Hieneman stated ""I asked inXile for a payment for work done to date, they declined, I had to take a paying gig. Simple as that".

      Though, Rebecca has stated every intention to finish the remasters, so, fingers crossed.

    26. Missing avatar

      Jonny Johansson on

      Hey, I LIKE the portrait animations - very clear, direct, and indicative.

    27. Geoff May on

      Very nice update to combat; much more pleased the initial concept! A *little* closer to the classic feel :P

      A few comments/questions:
      1. This depicted combat is quite detailed and complex. It's mentioned that there will be quick combat encounters of 1-2 rounds, and that's good. But with the added potential complexity, is it "more" merely in the sense of what happens in combat, or is the input and functionality also that much more complex? Or in other words - will the combat rounds, especially the likes of the video, be easily accomplished by keyboard entry? There's a whole lot of mouse moving around to make use of the variety of features and abilities. Are keyboard users being kept in mind during this design process?
      1b. "Room for tactical growth and complexity" - please don't overdo it! It's a dungeon crawler, many of us like the "grindy" nature of quick/short exploratory combat. Having room for more is great (really), but I think there's more impact and memorable moments when the big/special are more rare than the common/easy. In the classics, strategic combat virtually disappeared as the party grew in strength; it's good to bring strategic combat back in BT4 for higher levels, just don't bring everything (or most of it) up to that level :)

      2. Turn-based and Opportunity - I like this, definitely a move towards the classics. Colour me pleased. :)

      3. Coward's defense - Nice interpretation of "(D)efend". I presume party characters have a similar action they can take?

      4. Mental focus to recharge SP - in the video they gained 1 SP... Will the scale of the game lead to development of characters to hundreds/thousands of HP/SP? Or is the game going to be one that throttles character development to small numbers and instead makes increasing difficulty based on other interactive factors? I liked the linear character advancement of statistics; I wouldn't prefer to see increased functional complexity at higher difficulties rather than increased numerical representation. (for a BT title at least)

      5. The return of classic spells & songs - thank you for bringing back a few of the beloved names! It'll certainly be interesting seeing how they're interpreted in the context of BT4.

      6. Will we have the ability to disable animations? I'm sure at first they'll be great to see and watch and take in, but in time, will we have the ability to disable them, or switch to a 'quick' mode at least so we can move along through combat at a comfortable pace?

      7. Bard songs - Are some only/clearly usable as map puzzle solutions like the stone remembers, or will we for example get songs with passive buffs, as if that's their purpose, and not know that later on it may have effects usable as puzzle solutions later? eg, if we have a songbook of say the classic 10-11 songs, each with a known purpose, then at some point in the game, a challenge/obstacle is affected by one of the songs because of the song's effect - as opposed to "here's the song you'll need on your travels to open door XYZ".

      8. I'm nitpicky about the term 'easter egg'. I wouldn't call rare personality dialogue an easter egg. I would call it an easter egg if it was very well hidden and requiring a certain task to be accomplished, which revealed a bit of dialogue between the developers about designing the creature's costume. An out-of-game reference that's informational/revealing/entertaining within the game. Not just a humorous entirely in-game tidbit. But hey, that's just me :)

      Overall, I like the direction that combat is going. Keep the updates coming!

    28. Jack Hepburn Raine on

      @Selune we had an update a while back, really unlikely we getting them now as company that were supposed to do them aren't any more (small version).

      Combat and game looks great, but after receiving the collectors edition of TTON i have lost all faith in the company, and wish i hadn't backed anything else.

    29. selune

      Any News on the remastered Classic Trilogy?