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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the BT4 blog: (link)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.
We were so excited about how well the special Bard’s Tale IV reliquary box came out that we had to share a photo of it now. You’ll get your chance to pledge for one this next Monday June 2nd!
In the meantime, help us spread the word on The Bard’s Tale IV by lending your voice to our Thunderclap!
This week, Brian Fargo made a HUGE announcement!
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.