InXile Entertainment’s The Bard’s Tale IV Kickstarter has come to a close and has been successfully funded, ensuring that the classic RPG franchise gets it’s first official sequel in almost thirty years. Yes, there was a Bard’s Tale title originally released in 2004 on PS2 and Xbox, that had also been developed by InXile. That, however, was not an official sequel in the franchise, and presented a more humorous, light-hearted tone with more action-focused gameplay that set it apart from it’s more traditional dungeon crawling predecessors, which were explained in detail in Robert Grosso’s recent retrospective of The Bard’s Tale series.
The Bard’s Tale IV managed to rake in just above $1.5 million. While not exactly a paltry amount, this is a considerably smaller sum compared to the $3 million that Wasteland 2 brought in after factoring PayPal donations, along with the massive $4.1 million haul ($4.4 million after Paypal factored in) of Torment: Tides of Numenera, at the time the largest Kickstarter funding in history, which is scheduled for release in December of this year after significant delays. However, like with Wasteland 2, InXile has promised to match the Kickstarter initial goal funding, as well as dedicate revenue from the sales of their other games to ensure that the game has a workable and realistic budget to deliver on their promises.
Despite the smaller haul, The Bard’s Tale IV campaign did manage to pass through a few stretch goals, which will add more complex NPC and crafting systems, as well as bring a few additional designers on board to create more dungeons for the game. The Bard’s Tale IV estimates a delivery date of October 2017, giving it another 2+ years of development time to be worked on. Slacker Backer donations are still open through Paypal, and the possibility remains that they might meet additional stretch goals through that.
Considering the delays that came with Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera, the October 2017 delivery date is probably best treated as a loose target as opposed to a reliable release date. InXile Entertainment is one of the few companies who has delivered with a major product to critical acclaim via Kickstarter. While running a funding campaign before releasing your previously funded game tends to raise a few eyebrows, it’s good to keep in mind that most developers have more than one game at a time in a development cycle, and it’s vital to have your next title lined up while wrapping up the previous one to stay competitive and keep your fanbase excited for more.