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We’ve been hearing about InXile’s plans to bring back The Bard’s Tale for a little while now, knowing that it would come in the form of a Kickstarter. However, they’d kept us guessing on when they would launch the Kickstarter until today when we received  an email from InXile Entertainment that they would be launching the Kickstarter for The Bard’s Tale IV on June 2nd at 9am Eastern.

The Bard’s Tale is one of the classics of the RPG genre, with the series dating back to 1985 and Brian Fargo’s Interplay days. Designed by Michael Cranford the original game was the premiere of the bard as we know it and was a Wizardry inspired dungeon crawler with several breakthroughs graphically. The game was published by Electronic Arts, as Interplay had not yet hit its zenith in growth and was a huge seller for them. It quickly prompted several sequels – The Bard’s Tale II: The Destiny Knight (also designed by Cranford), The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate (led by Rebecca Heineman aka Bill Heineman), and The Bard’s Tale Construct Set, which tended to receive more mixed but still positive reviews.  

While Electronic Arts had held the rights to the IP in general, in 2004 Brian Fargo was able to exploit something of a contractual hoop hole to create The Bard’s Tale as a top-down console game. While they had the ability to use the name, they were not able to utilize any of the content from the original series and thus it is a rather different affair which received some mixed reviews despite a good sense of humor, and poking fun at many fantasy tropes.

InXile revealed that The Bard’s Tale IV is being developed in Unreal Engine 4, and unlike in 2004 they do have full rights to everything. It plans on being a true successor to the old series, being a first person dungeon crawling game with puzzles and riddles to solve. To help continue The Bard’s Tale tradition of tackling breakthroughs in graphical designs, InXile has said that they will be using photogrammetry to create the in-game 3-d assets – the same technique The Vanishing of Ethan Carter used to great effect. They are planning on using Scotland as the primary basis for the new inspirations with architecture from there, along with cultural and musical cues.

Like Torment: Tides of Numenera the game will utilize phase-based combat for you to fight your enemies – which in this game will include all sorts of fantastical beasts and bandits!

Update: In a RockPaperShotgun interview, Brian Fargo revealed they will be asking for $1.25 million to go along with at least $1.25 million they will be putting in – presumably primarily from Wasteland 2 sales.

What are your thoughts on The Bard’s Tale IV? Are you likely going to back this third Kickstarter by InXile? Does Wasteland 2 impact your opinion there? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.