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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.

Bits of Bard's Backer Business

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TL;DR: Release Date info, Community Update & Survey, Backer Rewards updates, and E3 news

The Bard's Tale IV Production Update

inXile president Matt Findley here. Many of you have reached out to ask, so we want to take this opportunity to confirm that The Bard's Tale IV will be releasing in 2018. Thanks, too, to our work on The Mage's Tale, we have increased the visual scope of the game in ways that we could not have with just the Kickstarter. With everything now in place, it is simply a matter of taking the time to make the game right, make sure we implement all the stretch goals and backer content, and hit the level of detail we want. The world of Caith is a beautiful one in both sight and sound, and we want our approach to capture that.


Newest Member of the inXile Team

As inXile continues to expand, with more games coming and a growing back catalog, we are receiving more and more requests for Kickstarter and backer news, customer support, and general information. Thus, it's time - some would say long past time - we upped our communication game. So here we go.

First, for those of you with questions, troubles with your backer rewards, or who need assistance with Bard's Tale IV and our other games, we have launched a new Help Center page which will serve as a one-stop support location for all the info you need. It also includes an upgraded ticketing system, so we can better keep track of your direct emails and social media messages.

Second, and more importantly, we are pleased to announce that we have hired a brand new community manager, Paul Marzagalli. Paul has been active in the gaming community and industry many years as a games writer, consultant, and member of various game-related advisory boards such as the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers, the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and the Gerontoludic Society. Paul is also a long-time gamer, playing titles like Bard's Tale and Wasteland during Interplay's golden age, and he remains a huge fan of RPGs from the 80s, 90s, and today. Beyond that, Paul is a great communicator with deep knowledge of inXile and the wider gaming community. We are happy and excited to have him on board, and you can expect to see him popping up in Kickstarter updates, forums, social media, and more going forward.

And now, to kick off this new era of better communication, here's Paul with some important and exciting info for backers of Bard's Tale IV!

Matt Findley
inXile President & Studio Lead - inXile New Orleans
@BayouBard


The Bard is Taking Requests! Have Your Say in Our Backer Survey!

Hi everyone, Paul here. Thanks to the inXile team for the warm welcome! It has been an outstanding (and fast) first month.

Though this is the “official” announcement of my arrival, I have been out in the community for the past few weeks so I may have already spoken with many of you. Whether in the forums, on our game Facebook pages, or on Twitter @phimseto, please pop by and say hello!

With The Bard’s Tale IV, inXile is bringing back an iconic franchise for old fans and a new generation. In getting to know our backers and the greater inXile community, I put together a survey to help me understand where you are coming from as a RPG fan. This survey isn’t something that I will be sharing publicly, rather it is to help me better identify who our Bard’s Tale IV backers are and what they like in a Bard’s Tale game. This will help us with development not just of The Bard’s Tale IV, but with how we consider and develop future projects! You can find the survey below:

 

The Bard's Tale IV Backer Survey

The survey is brief and it is your chance to talk directly to the game devs and let us know what you think. The more of you who participate, the merrier, much like a bard’s sing-a-long! Thank you in advance for your help and thanks to everyone for supporting The Bard’s Tale IV!

Last Chance to Help The Bard Tell His Tale!

Over the past few weeks, we have begun the process of gathering and implementing our in-game backer rewards - that means backer NPCs, items, puzzles, etc. If you backed us at one of the following reward tiers, and haven't heard from us yet, please let us know by writing us by email at support@inxile.net, or sending in a ticket at our Help Center.

  • $350 - Loreteller (write an item description)
  • $750 - Relic Crafter (create an item)
  • $750 - Puzzle Master (design a puzzle)
  • $1,000 - Sagateller (design an NPC)
  • $1,200 - Til Death Do Us Part (design an NPC couple)
  • $2,000 - Musician's Tier (design a song)
  • $5000 & $10,000 - Be a Barfly & Exclusive Reveler's Festival (3D model you as an NPC, design an item)

As part of this process, we need to close off the tiers that contain these in-game backer rewards - that is the $350 tier, and every tier $750 and up. We will be closing these at the end of this month. If you haven’t backed and wanted to be a part of the game, or have backed but were thinking of upgrading, this is the time to make your move!

You can find these and other backer options on our pledge page.


The Bard's Next Tour Date: E3!

The other big news is that The Bard's Tale IV and inXile will be at E3 next month. We are excited to be there talking about the game. In addition, be on the lookout for the next backer update right around that time.


Physical Rewards Update: A Treasure Box That Is A Treasure Itself

As game production marches on, so does work on all our backer rewards. We were so excited when we received these photographs (along with the first shipment) that we wanted to share progress on the Reliquary Boxes. When the Kickstarter launched, we announced these boxes as rewards for the $550 tiers and up. The boxes were inspired by and designed to evoke both Scotland and the original Bard's Tale box art.

The Reliquary Box & The Bard's Tale
The Reliquary Box & The Bard's Tale

To do that, we enlisted the help of local California artist Kathleen Kaderabek, whose proof of concept (pictured above) is the template that we are using. As part of this update, Kathleen was kind enough to share some of her work process with everyone.

"A couple of years ago I was approached about doing a large number of boxes for The Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter. Now it's time to start production! In the end, I'll be working on close to 200 of these large ornate pieces. Pictured here is my semi-assembly line with pieces coming out and going straight to being stained then varnished. Also, shop dog. <3"

"Each panel for each box goes through several steps before the box is constructed. First, they are engraved and then the stain is painted into the engraving by hand. Afterwards, the stain is wiped off and the piece is buffed to achieve even coloring. After this stain sets for a couple of hours, they go on to be sanded and varnished! Lots of work for each of 8 panels that go into each box."

"I get way too excited over perfectly sized and cut triangles. These are for the endcaps of the peaked lid, and I can't tell you how long it took to get just right! :D"

 "Slowly but surely, we're making progress. :)"

"Finally starting to get boxes pieced together. These still have a lot of work to do, involving metal accents, nails, hinges and such but the first batch is getting close to finished!"

"Part of yesterday's work was starting on prepping the metal that will go along the edges of each box. I start with rolls of metal sheet (25 ft worth!) And use antiquing glaze on 3 ft portions of it to dirty it up and tone down the shine. Another layer of glaze may be added today before the metal is cut into strips and attached to the boxes."

"It's a metal day! Getting all these lined with antiqued metal takes some time but worth it."

"Now to do the finish detailing for a few days and we're done. With the first batch at least! :)"

 "The first batch is done and delivered to InXile!"

"Taking an idea and creating a tangible item takes a good bit of work and planning, especially with something this detailed, but I think we have the process down now. Only 165 more to go! :D"

Thank you, Kathleen! We are always happy for the opportunity to support local artists like Kathleen. If you like her work, please think about giving her artist's page a look.

For those of you getting Reliquary Boxes, good news! We plan to ship them out as we receive them, so be on the lookout as we work to confirm shipping address with those backers receiving them.

That's all for this update! Thank you again for your support of The Bard's Tale IV. We look forward to your feedback in the backer survey, keeping in touch with you here and across social media, and in our next update around E3. See you then!

Best,
Paul Marzagalli
Public Relations & Community Manager
@phimseto

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D-Boy, Andy Barker, and 120 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Miriam Breslauer on June 5

      As much as I was interested in Bard's Tale IV, I mostly pledged to get access to Bard's Tale I-III. I remembered them from my childhood and badly wanted to replay them. Please make sure that those that pledged can get their games you promised.

    2. James Podesta on May 30

      Shame about the emulation free ports. It probably should have been added to the risks section on kickstarter if it was being developed by a third party that you have little control over. Wasn't a critical thing for me luckily - I'm just in it for Bards Tale IV and thats looking pretty amazing so far so I'm still pleased to be a supporter.

      Kickstarter is not new anymore. People should realise by now that Kickstarter is a risky avenue and game development can be unpredictable. The money raised is always only a fraction of the costs of developing a game, or at least anything done by more than a couple of college kids in their parent's garage.

    3. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on May 26

      Hi all, just a quick head's up that the backer portal site will be down for the foreseeable future as we do some maintenance and prepare to migrate all our Bard's Tale IV backer data over to CrowdOx. Apropos of the update above, if you wanted to pledge at one of the backer design tiers before we close them off at the end of the month, you can write us at support@inxile.net and we will work with you there.

    4. Jeremie Lariviere
      Superbacker
      on May 23

      thanks for the update!

    5. The Evolutionary on May 22

      I'll go a step further: If I don't get my Bard's Tale 1-3 this will be the first project I'll demand my money back. When I PAY for something I expect it. Inxile is not exactly a one man show with no budget and no resources. We could even be talking lawsuit because although I'm not a lawyer, I work with enough of them to know a "breach of contract" when I see one and this would be an open/shut case with the written correspondence. @ Kickstarter, people have lost a LOT of faith in your business model over the years and games on Kickstarter are dropping from recent reports. In addition, one judge already enforced refunds in one project. I suggest you take accountability more seriously if you want to stay in business. People are commenting on the reliability of Kickstarter and the comments overall are not good.

    6. The Evolutionary on May 22

      @Bahasa Inggeris You are a generous soul. If I don't get the Bard's Tale 1-3 as promised, I will definitely not view inxile as a trustworthy source and certainly will not pledge again. I Can easily wait 6-12 months for a sale for their games and get what I was promised as opposed to pay more to support it, get it a bit earlier, pay double what I would if I don't wait, AND not get everything I'm told I pay for on top of that. You start feeling robbed when you pay top dollar, and don't get what was promised in writing. I'm a bit suprised and pained. I considered inxile one of the few people who kickstarter's/fig projects I trusted as one of the "good guys" as opposed to people who take 3-5 years or not get the project done at all. If they had to they could get someone else to finish the job. I was reallly counting on having the Bard's Tale 1-3. It was one of the reasons I chose to back the project in the first place.

    7. MikeHumphreys on May 21

      @Bahasa Inggeris Great job on sharing the exact quotes and timeline on the emulator-free versions of BT1-3.

      For those of you who save all of your KS emails like I do, the first mention of emulator-free version being done by Olde Skuul is BT4 Email Update #5 sent out on 6/10/2015.

    8. GroovyDad and the Slap Me Some Skin Kids on May 20

      @ Bahasa Inggeris I didn't know that Dragon Wars 2 was in development. I d see they have a game called the Dragons on Rip that they ware working on and they last update they put out was in February.

    9. Bahasa Inggeris
      Superbacker
      on May 20

      LTDR: Although inXile may be fulfilling their legal obligation (and I say may because I'm not a lawyer and giving them the benefit of the doubt), they definitely led many backers astray regarding emulation-free BT 1-3. This will most-likely result in a tarnished reputation, and less sales in the future.

      @MikeHumphreys, I agree with you in spirit. If inXile knew Olde Skuul was not the most reliable company, they should have either never mentioned anything (and if it did happen, give us a surprise gift), or they should have hired someone else.

      @krayzkrok the bottom line on why backers are upset is because inXile is trying to get away with not giving them everything they implied the backers would get. The premise of KS is this: I promise you this and that and you give me a certain amount of money. I'll promise you even more if you give me more money. AND, if this much money is pledged, I'll add these extra things. The promise for BT1-3 wasn't a stretch goal they never hit. It wasn't an add-on either. It was actually in the main body where they tell you about BT4 and how awesome everything is. They introduced it in order to bring in more money, and it worked!

      @Rivethead In the last post, RC said it very well. To quote him/her, "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."" Stretch goals are the ONLY thing not implicitly implied unless the creator is VERY CLEAR that it is an if X then Y situation. Due to the confusion of more than a few backers, I don't believe inXile adequately informed backers this was an if X then Y situation.

      Here's what they posted on the main page: "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!" When this was posted, inXile had not made their funding goal yet.

      There is no explicit mention that this will only happen IF Olde Skuul finishes the work, though they did hint at it, which only created confusion. In Update #5 (where they first mention BT 1-3), they start off by saying, "Exciting news today: every backer of The Bard’s Tale IV ($20 or more) will get free digital copies of the original The Bard’s Tale, The Bard’s Tale II: The Destiny Knight and The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate!" Two paragraphs later they state, "The emulated versions of the classic games will be released for free at the end of the campaign for every backer at $20 or higher, and distributed through our backer web site. This is our way of giving our thanks back to you for all your support and helping us bring back The Bard's Tale." It's not until two more paragraphs that they throw in, " ... we cannot give an ETA or guarantee on their release, ...". They then shifted your attention to new tiers and bigger rewards. This, BTW, is the only time they mention the possibility that backers won't be getting emulator-free versions. When you read the update, the overarching message is backers will get BT 1-3 in both an emulator and emulator-free version, and we have new tiers with cool things like music, etc.

      inXile, Brian, and OldeSkuul all commented in that post, and despite most of the comments revolving around the remakes, no one told the backers the offer only applied if Olde Skuul finished their project. One backer even commented surprise that Olde Skuul would be able to do it, as Olde Skuul was working on Dragon Wars 2 at the time.

      In Update # 17 (last week in the campaign), they posted, "But we never tire of giving you stuff. We’re also giving all backers $20 FREE copies of the original The Bard’s Tale, The Bard’s Tale II: The Destiny Knight and The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate! You will getting the existing emulator versions of the three games, but we also have an agreement with the original The Bard’s Tale III programmer Rebecca “Burger” Heineman who is working to update these games to run emulator-free on modern machines!" In the comments, inXile wrote, "Everyone gets the classic trilogy games at $20 or above (which also doesn't change if you upgrade your pledge)." There is no mention in this update or comments that the emulator-free versions will only happen if Olde Skuul fulfills their part of the agreement.

      Update # 25 brought us an update about the remastered works. They showed off a new feature: "One in particular Becky has added is a new automap mode which has been brought into all of the games, as well as a redrawn interface. We think it's looking sharp!" Again, no mention this may never become a finished product.

      We received the emulated versions in Update # 26 and received more info about the emulator-free ones. "Speaking of rewards, Old Skuul and Rebecca Heineman are still hard at work on getting the remastered version of the classic Bard's Tale games available. We will let you know when we are ready to share them with you, but so far they are going well as we've shown in previous updates, with many new features taking shape, including updated music."

      And that was the last of the mention in the official updates. Ten more updates occurred, but none contained any info about the emulator-free BT 1-3. In fact, this latest update basically does 3 things: it tells you we aren't getting BT 4 until 2018; it directs you to a new community manager (who will be dealing with this issue I'm sure); and it is another way to generate more money (don't have the chest? You can still get one for a limited time!).

      In the end, I think BT 4 will be an amazing game and the backers will be very satisfied with it. Not getting emulator-free BT 1-3 won't be a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but it will definitely cause me to pause before I pledge another inXile KS. KS projects from well-known publishers used to be a no-brainer, but it seems the quest to raise the most funds (and bragging rights) has begun to move them from a Blue Chip stock towards a junk bond.

      One option that is becoming more attractive each day is to NOT KS a project and buy it cheaper when it goes on sale. Often, the game can be found for less than the price was on KS. It is true the game may not be made, but there are enough games already out there to keep me busy until I'm dead.

    10. Rivethead on May 20

      @GroovyDad and the Slap Me Some Skin Kids - I don't think you're wrong. Throughout all of these updates there has been a theme of "InXile promised me remastered BTI-IIIs!" I've never seen evidence of this. I think it's a misconception. InXile promised us emulated versions (which we received a long time ago) and said they would try to get the original developer (Becky) to remaster them. That's all I ever saw, but it's possible that InXile made more affirmative statements somewhere that I've not seen.

      As I said in the last update - I'm very glad that InXile hasn't let this be a distraction and kept their eye on the prize: making BTIV the best damn dungeon blobber ever.

    11. Rivethead on May 20

      @Todd Ferrullo - Don't know how you concluded that. It's literally the very first sentence of the update.

      I'm very encouraged by this. The original release target was October 2017 but that's just one of those wild speculative dates they have to put on a kickstarter. When they announced they were moving production to NOLA, I figured add at least a year - opening a new studio and hiring new team members takes time. Then, with normal software development delays, I figured we'd be seeing a beta in 2019.

      I hope we'll see some new alpha gameplay at E3. Surly they wouldn't attend that event without their guns loaded.

      Lastly....regarding the increased communication - yep - it's long overdue. I expressed my desire at the start of the project for a monthly studio update. I think that's good frequency (even if in the early days it would have been nothing more than: "Hey guys, this month we installed a new router in our NOLA office, added 20 pages of possible script to the NPC character banter, and hired two new awesome character artists".

      But as a suggestion, please don't make the mistake CIG has made with their community managers. Their CMs report to the VP of Marketing and thus community content has obvious lean towards creating hype and increasing the funding. But community updates should be more about production (where are we at/what can we expect) and less about marketing.

      Welcome Paul!

      Thank you InXile!

    12. GroovyDad and the Slap Me Some Skin Kids on May 20

      @krayzkrok Those reviews are pretty telling and along with certain statements made by the devs it shines new lite into this...or old light that I just didn't notice. @MikeHumphreys from what I remember these were not originally promised. Then Becky mentioned to Brian that she had a source code to the games. After that they came up with the remastering idea for those games. Correct me if I am wrong.

    13. MikeHumphreys on May 20

      @krayzkrok. If it's an issue on the quality of Olde Skuul's work on other projects, then why hire them at all? InXile got the rights from EA (see the June 10, 2015 email) so they weren't obligated to hire Olde Skuul.

      They could have taken the emulated versions... hired somebody else to remaster them and probably delivered at least one of the 3 games by now.

      Heck, most contracts have a kill clause in them. Kill the deal with Olde Skuul and hire somebody else to do the work already.

    14. krayzkrok on May 19

      When it comes to the remasters, it's Old Skuul's word against InXile. I see that Old Skuul has released one game to Steam which - according to just about every "Most Helpful" review is full of bugs and has been abandoned. The other three games there credit themselves with bringing to Steam, the Descent series (presumably due to some ongoing relationship with Interplay?), were pulled last year by Interplay. I have to say, this isn't a good track record. And yet people are siding with these guys instead of InXile? Hmmm. Unless InXile are lying to us about their contractual agreement with Old Skuul (and what they say about being cautious about the devs certainly makes sense to me) it sounds like they're doing the only sensible thing - don't pay for a half-finished product full of bugs and possibly never to be finished, pay for a finished one (which was, apparently, their original agreement anyway). Go read the "Battle Chess: Game of Kings" reviews on Steam if you want some perspective.

    15. MikeHumphreys on May 19

      @InXile I gotta be honest with you. The #1 reason why I pledged as much as I did was your promise for the remastered versions of BT1-3. Without the promise of those remasters, I would pledged about 1/3 of what I did.

      I've been self-employed for 24 years. If somebody I subcontracted the work out to failed to deliver a finished product, I would fire them and hire somebody else to complete the work.

      Why?

      So that I didn't let down my customers.

      Especially when it's 33,741 customers like Bard's Tale 4 has.

      From what you say in your own forum thread, you haven't paid Olde Skuull any money for what they have sent you. So why not hire somebody else or do it yourself?

      If you don't want to tie up your own staff, then hire somebody from Upwork or Freelancer.com to finish the work for you. You obviously had an agreed upon amount of money you were prepared to pay Olde Skuul. Why not use the same amount to hire outside programmers to finish the remasters?

      A remastered BT1-3 is a saleable product.

      Take a look at Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 via steamspy. Each one of their updated versions has sold over 400,000 copies each.

      Even at *only* $10 per copy, that's $4M in sales.

      I'm really hoping that you do the right thing and honor your promise of the remastered games.

      Because if you renege on it, then you can pretty guarantee a lot of backers, including me, won't forget the broken promise and will refuse to buy or back another one of your games again.

    16. GroovyDad and the Slap Me Some Skin Kids on May 19

      Dear Inxile. I request to have my Reliquary box jammed packed with games stolen from Brian's office. But I have not heard anything back from you. What is up with that? BTW, don't tell Brian as I am not sure he would like having his office ransacked, just blame the liberation of those awesome games on Rad Caps.

    17. Belisarius
      Superbacker
      on May 19

      @Paul /inExile- The thing i am interested in most is the set of original games. If you want to improve communication this needs to be addressed. We pledged for them and even though you subcontracted the work, you are still responsible for delivery. - Please - follow up on this.

    18. Missing avatar

      Dave blanchard on May 19

      You don't just get to remove a reward because you didn't fulfill it. That's not ok.

    19. MF Calub on May 19

      I've forgotten about this project. Lol. Are the original Bard's Tale game available to us yet? If so, how do we download them? Thanks.

    20. MF Calub on May 19

      I've forgotten about this project. Lol. Are the original Bard's Tale game available to us yet? If so, how do we download them? Thanks.

    21. JoelofDeath on May 19

      Box looks sweet! Very tempted...

    22. SaltyBrains
      Superbacker
      on May 19

      those chests are beautiful! - how can i upgrade to get one ? 180 ... 181, whats the difference, right? :)

    23. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on May 19

      @Todd Ferrullo The news was the top item on the update.

      @Dave Blanchard The latest on Olde Skuul's remasters is here: https://forums.inxile-entertainment.com/viewtopic.php…

    24. Missing avatar

      Dave blanchard on May 19

      As nice as the box is....I would much rather have the promised remasters of the original games. You went dead quiet on that.

    25. Todd Ferrullo on May 19

      Well kind of an indirect way of showing off some beautiful pictures and casually mentioning that oh yeah this game will not be done until some indeterminate time next year. I am not surprised actually, it just seemed like a kind of a sneaky way of just tossing that in there.

    26. Missing avatar

      seth on May 19

      Good gosh, that treasure chest looks amazing. Well done, Kathleen!

    27. Nakano on May 19

      Answered the survey. I left the other thoughts field empty, but one thing came to my mind when talked with a friend regarding his decision not to get Tides of Numerera. So don't make the same mistakes here. 1st he said some stretchgoal contents weren't fulfilled. You rightfully emphasize with this update that you would do what was promised. 2nd and a major reason he said to skip the game is the community feedback that the game was rushed. The beginning is amazing and thus early reviews were excellent since reviewers don't have time to play the game through. But after 30+ hours, the game just isn't very good. So based on this, for Bards Tale IV, rather make a solid and great 20 hours game than a good 20 hours + a boring 30 hours experience.

    28. Kal on May 19

      Holy cow, that's a nice chest! I ditto mabec's sentiment. I'm simply flabbergasted that you are going to craft 180 of those masterpieces. Wish I could afford one, but alas....

    29. mabec on May 19

      The chests looks amazing, can't believe you are going to make 180 of those

    30. Missing avatar

      Shmerl on May 19

      Will there be a way to buy the digital songbook for The Bard's Tale IV? So far there was no such separate add-on.

      Thanks!