Here is a transcript of a few commonly asked questions, sent in to inXile Entertainment about Bard’s Tale IV, which Brian answers in the video above:
What’s a “blobber?”
It’s kind of funny, before I started this thing I wasn’t that familiar with the term, myself. It was always a dungeon crawl. But a blobber, when you hear that term, is when you’re basically a group of adventurers - of 4, 6, 7, whatever the number is - and you don’t see your person when you’re wandering around the environment. You’re sort of a “blob” and that’s where the phrase comes from.
And so, in the video, when we were first moving through the forest and moving through the dungeon, that is the perspective that you’ll be playing the game through when you’re exploring. You will not be seeing your party, you’re be completely immersed into just wandering around the universe.
There was no HUD on that video, so we’ll give you the option to bring up some HUD elements or take them down depending on your play style. But the general movement is that you are moving through this environment, sort of wholly, and not seeing your characters while you’re doing so.
What happens to the camera during the combat phase?
There’s basically two ways we’re looking at this. One is that we stay with a more traditional sense of you not seeing your characters represented. Perhaps we’ll bring up portraits, or there’ll be HUD elements regardless, to let you see your characters, see what their health is, and other attributes that you need to know about.
Or, we’ve considered bringing the camera back slightly, so you can then see your party in the camera. But it’s the same basic gameplay of me controlling a group of people, all attacking and going back and forth with the other side.
Whether we pull that camera back just a little bit is very much dependent on the budget of where we finally end up, because in order to create the graphics for all of those characters, and then also create all the graphics for all the armor, the swords, the shields, and all the things that you can get, that’s a pretty expensive proposition; and so we’re not going to commit to that until we know where we’ll end up at the end. Regardless, the flow of the combat’s going to work either way, the same way.
What is “phase-based”, and how does that relate to Wasteland or the original Bard’s Tale?
Typically speaking, and people use a lot of different semantics for describing the same things in this business, but the way we look at phase-based is basically that our entire side makes its decisions, and then the other side goes after that and we go back and forth. In the original Bard’s Tale, you would attack, attack, use, evade - whatever it was, you’d go through your party, you’d hit return, and you’d wait for those results to happen.
That isn’t really what we want to do. We want to make it a little more dynamic than that, so the difference being - we’ll still choose our side, all of the commands for our side, whether it’s attack or use or defend, or whatever the case may be, but there may be things that are happening on the playfield that make me want to change it up.
So, for example, if I attack and I kill the guy, my second guy who would have normally attacked is now going to change the thing that he was going to do. The third one, based upon whether he maybe interrupted a spell, now that might make my cleric, for example, take a different tactic for what he was going to do, based upon what happened with the first two people, so that you’re not waiting until the very end of the turn in order to see what happens. You’re sort of dynamically deciding what you want to do during combat.
How many party members will there be in the game?
It really wouldn’t be a classic Bard’s Tale type dungeon crawl if you weren’t representing an entire group. And so you’ve got, whether it’s your bard or your conjurer or your rogue or your priest, whatever it is that your party makeup is, there’ll be 4 slots for that.
Then there’s a 5th slot for CNPCs that you meet and can join the party during your travels. And then the 6th slot is for summoned creatures. So if you want to summon a wind ogre into the party, you can do so.
And so basically, at max capacity you’ll be controlling 6 different character types and people during combat.
Will the game be featuring wandering monsters like the old games (random encounters), or will the battles take place only in predefined situations?
There will absolutely be random encounters. We don’t like to throw a lot of trash mobs at you so we kind of keep it so at least we’re being smart about it; but there will be predefined situations for sure that require a lot of strategic effort, and then there’s going to be random encounters to keep you on your toes.
Can you save the game anywhere, or can you only save it in the Adventurer’s Guild?
In the original Bard’s Tale, one of the tensions that was created was that it was a long way between you and the Adventurer’s Guild. You could travel for five or six hours and then die and lose all of your progress. I think that’s a little too punishing for this day and age. But we’re not going to go to the other side of it where you can just save your game anywhere you want.
We’re going to create that sort of time tension. And on top of that we’re sort of working on some mechanics, so we don’t have all the answers for you yet.
The overall concept - if I’m going to spend some time taking a risk and I’m going to go further into the world beyond what was safe to do, if there’s a reward for doing that then we want to put it there. On the other hand, if you put a couple of hours extra in and you get killed, and you have to then lose that time, that you blame yourself, because fundamentally you made the decision to probably push on further than you needed to.
So I think that tension of time and risk and reward is something that we still want to keep, but we’re not going to be so draconian as to make it where you have to go all the way back to the Adventurer’s Guild just to save.
Can you use your spells outside of combat?
Very much so. One of the things that you heard us talk about in the pitch was there was a little game called The Room, which we really loved on iOS; big plug for those guys, check it out if you haven’t. And then also, we had our little GIF you saw of a sword, where you could manipulate the thing.
The whole idea about manipulating both your inventory, but also the environment itself is going to be done primarily with your spells, so the very same spell which is used to, say, levitate which you’ll use in combat to float people up so they perhaps miss an attack is the exact same spell you would use to help solve a puzzle by lifting something over another thing for example and solving it. So absolutely you’ll be using the spells within the environment, in addition to combat.
Do we need to know the stories from the original games to know what’s going on in Bard’s Tale 4?
For the storyline, first you do not have to have played the original trilogy to go from where Bard’s Tale 4 starts. However, if you did play it, we’re very much going to recognize everything that’s been done before and we’re going to play on all the themes and all the people that were there.
This takes place about 150 years into the future. It’s a return to Skara Brae. The first fundamental question is Why were these wizards so obsessed with Skara Brae? There must have been a reason for it. So there’s going to be some exploration of that, but that’s just kind of the tip of the iceburg of where it’s going.
So absolutely it’s going to retain all the things from the Bard’s Tale trilogy universe and expand upon it and answer a bunch of questions that were not really answered in the first ones.
How will classes and character customization work?
Character customization will be similar to the first Bard’s Tale; that’s a big part of this kind of role playing game. You’ll choose your class, you’ll choose your race, you’ll choose your gender, you’ll create your character from scratch - all your characters from scratch if that is what you wish to do, and then in addition, one of the things we really liked about the original Bard’s Tale series is not everything was available in the beginning either.
For example the archmage, you had to master 3 levels of spells from other magician classes before you could switch over to an archmage. We like that kind of thing, that not everything’s available. Like I said at launch about creating your character, and so we’ll be doing the same thing, not just with the magician or spell casting classes, but also with the warrior classes, and some of the other ones.
We certainly have a number planned and ready but it just doesn’t feel right to put them out before we know we’re going to fund. Now that we’re comfortably heading to being fully funded we can no longer resist sending the first of these your way!
At $1.3 million, we will add an enhanced companion NPC system and add 2 more CNPCs, including Lioslaith the Shadow, a legendary Spear Daughter of the matriarchical Fichti people, the dark haired, woad-painted nature worshippers who live in the deep forests far to the northwest of Skara Brae.
With this enhanced companion NPC system, all recruitable NPCs will have unique personalities and backstories which will open up interesting side content and add rich and surprising reactivity to your adventure. In addition, these CNPCs will voice their thoughts and asides, giving their take on the people, places and events that you encounter as your party moves through the world. No two CNPCs are alike and they carry their own reputations with them. While they can add some additional firepower to your party, some might even get you into more trouble than you were expecting.
Monday, June 1st - hours before the grand launch of the Bard’s Tale IV Kickstarter Campaign!
This beauty of a box posted below is a sample of the extremely limited Reliquary edition - a high level physical tier to be expected in the crowdfunding campaign just for the hard-core Bard’s Tale fan.
Will you be Kickstarting this classic RPG revival sequel? Will you become a Reliquary owner?
Visit bardstale.inxile-entertainment.com and sign up if you want to get a reminder, or just set your alarm for 9 AM Eastern and be one of the first to nab one of the Early Bard tiers!
InXile Entertainment is planning a Kickstarter for The Bard’s Tale IV. Details about the game are still light, but Fargo did say the team will be pulling from the original as far as overarching ideas go. From a story perspective, players will be returning to Skara Brae, where it all began.
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Tales of the Unknown: The Bard’s Tale (BT1). Stay tuned for more details soon!
Check out this great interview with Michael Cranford - creator of Tales of the Unknown: The Bard’s Tale. Lots of chatting about Bard’s Tale, Interplay, Wizardry, and where he’s at now with Ninth Degree.
Silversword is basically The Bard’s Tale 4. This isn’t a secret; the game’s creator expresses plenty of love for that classic series of Apple II games on the Silversword blog. As with the Bard’s Tale, you’re looking at a fantasy world through a three-paned interface. On the upper left there’s a simple, static 3D image. On the upper right, a box for dialog or user input. The entire bottom half of the screen is taken up by a list of your characters’ stats. It isn’t the most efficient interface given the capabilities of today’s iPads, but it’s familiar.
Silversword can be found listed in the Community section of BTOnline. Go check it out!
If you didn’t already know, The Bard’s Tale for iPhone and iPad has been added the classic Bard’s Tale trilogy to its repository of additional games. With the latest update, Brian Fargo brings Bard’s Tale III: The Thief of Fate into the fold.
Legend of Grimrock is a dungeon crawling role playing game with an oldschool heart but a modern execution. A group of prisoners are sentenced to certain death by exiling them to the secluded Mount Grimrock for vile crimes they may or may not have committed. Unbeknownst to their captors, the mountain is riddled with ancient tunnels, dungeons and tombs built by crumbled civilizations long perished now. If they ever wish to see daylight again and reclaim their freedom the ragtag group of prisoners must form a team and descend through the mountain, level by level.
The game brings back the oldschool challenge with highly tactical real-time combat and grid-based movement, devious hidden switches and secrets as well as deadly traps and horrible monsters. Legend of Grimrock puts an emphasis on puzzles and exploration and the wits and perception of the player are more important tools than even the sharpest of swords could be. And if you are a hardened dungeon crawling veteran and you crave an extra challenge, you can arm yourself with a stack of grid paper and turn on the Oldschool Mode which disables the luxury of the automap! Are you ready to venture forth and unravel the mysteries of Mount Grimrock?
The mix of grid-based exploration, real-time content, and turn-based strategy is intriguing!
TouchArcade has reported on news from developer Elite Systems that implies classic RPGs, including Bard’s Tale, may be arriving on iOS very soon!
The coming titles he speaks of are likely to include an excellent collection of games from Interplay Productions: the classic fantasy RPG The Bard’s Tale (I, II, & III), the post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland, as well as Dragon Wars and Neuromancer.
Stay tuned for updates.
In other related news, Brian Fargo of InXile Entertainment revealed on twitter that their modern Bard’s Tale inspired remake will also be arriving on iOS “in less than a month”:
@BrianFargo: “We are bringing our PS2 version of Bard’s Tale to the Ipad and IOS3 in less than a month. Don’t count on the original.”
Don’t forget that if you’re on Twitter, you can also follow BTO at @BardsTaleOnline.
Manomio has recently published a C64 emulator app for the iPhone along with a few games, and has been asking about current Bard’s Tale copyrights. Might it be possible we could see a C64 Bard’s Tale port to the iPhone in the near future?
On another note, BTO is now on Twitter - @BardsTaleOnline! Mecandes (Bards Tale Compendium) also runs a news and live discussion stream twitter account at @TheBardsTale. Tell'em thebruce sent ye ;)
It’s been reported that not much time is left now for sites which are currently hosted at Geocities.com to move to new hosting. The change will happen at the end of October 2009, so I’ve decided to offer some hosting for sites that the community feels should be saved, if not already.
Ideally, I would have any fan sites set up as a subdomain of Bardstaleonline.com. If you have any sites that you feel should be archived here, have contacted the owner or are the owner, contact me and I’ll see what I can set up.
After endless requests for help in getting various Bard’s Tale versions to work in various Windows OS’s, I’ve finally added the emulator I’ve found to work on my system, running Vista Home. You can find it in the Emulators section. It may require a tiny bit of setup for the DOS settings, but I do have BT1, 2, and 3 all working in it.
Sorry everyone for any problems you might have been seeing with the website recently. I’m trying to solve a bug that I’ve discovered in IE, after having implemented the standard Google ad code.
I haven’t been able to fix it, so I’ve temporarily disabled Google ads. Perhaps if you’re code-minded, you could offer some insight…
Once the page is loaded, any change to the html layout/content causes the scroll TD tag to ‘disappear’ thus removing the navigation; but this only happens in IE, not Firefox.
I placed a little button below the scroll - “X” that you can click, which displays the HTML content of the scroll. Notice that the HTML content is still there, but in IE the scroll disappears after clicking (whether the inserted code forces a layout adjustment or not - tested).
The Google code alters the HTML after the source has loaded, which is why sometimes the scroll disappears.
Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks! Again, sorry for any inconvenience over the last couple of weeks.
I just wanted to first thank you all for your continued support of this Bard’s Tale fansite. While still incomplete (though there will always be room for more!), traffic is increasing daily. If this is a trend amongst many BT fansites, that’s a good thing for Bard’s Tale!
My thanks to those of you have donated. You’ll notice now that I’ve implemented google advertising to offset some of the outstanding regular costs. Please, offer feedback as to whether you feel the ads are instrusive - I want to keep this website’s experience as smooth and relevent as possible.
Before I sign off, I’ll also just want to wish y'all a Happy New twenty-oh-seven! (if January 1 is indeed the beginning of your new year :P)
I decided to finally get around to including various bard song music files now! They’ve been sitting around for some time, so since tomorrow’s my birthday, I thought, hey, why not be generous and put them online for the BTO viewers! So, there you go - you’ll find music sections in the Miscellaneous Goods page of each original game.
If you know of any other places that have Bard Songs downloadable, or even music inspired by Bard’s Tale, then by all means, pass on the word!
Happy almost-Christmas! And continued thanks for your donations and feedback (though I’ve still got a load of emails to sift through)! :)
Just so you can be assured I’m still around, I do plan in the future to get maps for BT2 and BT3 available, as they also are for BT1. At this point I’m in the middle of playing through Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion (amazing RPG!), so once I’ve completed that, I’ll be moving back into playing through BT2, at which point I’ll finalize all the DHTML maps for the other two games.
Thanks again everyone for your support, both by feedback and financially! :)