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Default Bard's Tale IV - Updating the Legacy

June 17th, 2017, 02:47
The Bards Tale IV has received a new update about the series lore and how it is being updated. Michael Cranford is back to assist InXile and there is also a progress report here about The Bards Tale Remaster from Olde Skuul.

Updating the Legacy

First, we've got a write-up from Brian Fargo on updating The Bard's Tale series for the 21st century:

Hard to believe it's been nearly two years already since the game's Kickstarter campaign. I want you all to know that I'm very pleased with the way The Bard's Tale 4 is shaping up. The visuals are outstanding, the level design is strong, the puzzles are clever, and much of the personality and charm is starting to make it in. We've also worked out a deal to have someone very special provide input - you can find out about him at the end of the update. It's really coming together now and I can't wait to show you more.

Games today demand a deeper lore and sense of world than back in the day. My goal is to broaden the Bard's Tale world without losing the key people, places, spells, bard songs, etc. When we created Bard's Tale back in 1985 we were young and excitable…more interested in mapping dungeons and torturing our players with teleporters, brutal combats, spinners, and darkness areas, than we were in telling a coherent story. We threw everything except the kitchen sink into those games - Nazis, ninjas, zen masters, robots, vampires, lizard men. We weren't exactly concerned with it making sense. Why did Mangar trap Skara Brae in ice? Does anybody ever say?

Well, we're for sure going to keep all the villains: Mangar, Lagoth Zanta, and the Mad God Tarjan. And we gotta keep Roscoe's and Garth's and the Adventurer's Guild. Skara Brae's in there too, and the bard songs, the old spell names, along with all of the character classes including the ever popular Archmage. But knowing the lore is a bit thin and inconsistent (a lot of players made up better stories during their play-throughs than the games actually told) we needed to add some depth to the world. How do we stay true to the spirit and substance of the original games while adding the depth, history, and personality that today's players expect from a modern game?

Maybe we should start by figuring out how the events of the first three games fit together. How are Mangar, Lagoth Zanta, and Tarjan connected? What ambition drove them? Where did they come from? In what kind of world would beings of such power exist? What is the history behind it all? And can we give it all a unique flavor that will allow it to stand out from other fantasy games?

[…]
More information.
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June 17th, 2017, 09:17
Very sceptical about this one - but I have a soft spot for dungeon crawlers, so…
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June 17th, 2017, 09:38
I remain thoroughly unimpressed by the remaster of the original trilogy. I was looking forward to that as much as I was to Bard's Tale IV, but I doubt I'm going to play those now.
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June 17th, 2017, 10:05
A long an interesting post. I'll be interested to see if making a celtic game, instead of a traditional bard's tale fantasy world will pay off.
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June 17th, 2017, 11:00
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I remain thoroughly unimpressed by the remaster of the original trilogy. I was looking forward to that as much as I was to Bard's Tale IV, but I doubt I'm going to play those now.
Me too, really irritated by that as they sold it as part of the Kickstarter and aren't going to deliver it.
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June 17th, 2017, 12:22
Originally Posted by Saxon1974 View Post
Me too, really irritated by that as they sold it as part of the Kickstarter and aren't going to deliver it.
I did not back this game so I do not really care but the update here says…

It's been some time since we last checked in on Olde Sküül's updated version of the Bard's Tale I-III classic games, which Rebecca Heineman offered to do during the initial Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter campaign. Though these were not part of our initial Kickstarter rewards or stretch goals, we know that many of you have been excited about seeing this bonus offer. Olde Sküül has continued development on them in-house over the last several months, and they've provided a progress update on the project to let you all know how they've been shaping up and what they expect their remaining development timeline to be. To check out the news, please visit our forums!

As fans ourselves, we want these remasters to be great updates to the classic games and we wish Olde Sküül the best in their efforts. Of course, in addition to the BT Remastered bonus that Becky and Olde Sküül continue to work on, we've already provided backers with the promised emulated versions of the classic games (complete with .pdfs of the original manuals). Though many of you have already downloaded them, never fear, they'll be available again soon for everyone once the move to CrowdOx has been completed!

So, are you saying that inXile is lying?
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June 17th, 2017, 13:24
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
So, are you saying that inXile is lying?
Not sure where the impression that InXile was taking responsibility for delivering them came from, considering that Update 5 of the Kickstarter (where it was announced) said (my highlight, not theirs):

Thus, 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! She will be working to make the games run natively, without needing emulators, on PC or Mac. This re-releases will be primarily based on the Apple IIGS versions of the games, along with updated art.

We’ll get you the emulated versions of the trilogy as soon as the Kickstarter ends and our backer site is up. Meanwhile, Rebecca will be working on the updated versions of the games and if that goes well we’ll get you those as soon as she delivers them to us, also for free! As we’re not working on these versions ourselves we cannot give an ETA or guarantee on their release, we’ll all be waiting for Rebecca to deliver us an upgraded version worthy of the name!
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June 17th, 2017, 13:55
Ah thanks for digging that up. Maybe some people here will lower their pitchforks now that that's been cleared up .
I mean, I'm all for pitchforks and torches in copious quantities especially when Kickstarter promises are broken but the ensuing slaughter needs to be warranted by a factual basis in reality.
Clearly not the case here. After the comments here, I was already wondering why the comments in that forums thread at inXile were so tame but now it's obvious why.
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June 17th, 2017, 14:41
No one reads anymore. Here you go
loading…
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June 17th, 2017, 15:52
Silver, where is that video from?
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June 17th, 2017, 15:53
I'm not Silver but if you click on the 'YouTube' link then it takes you straight to inXile's channel so this is an "official" video.
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June 17th, 2017, 17:25
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
I'm not Silver but if you click on the 'YouTube' link then it takes you straight to inXile's channel so this is an "official" video.
Weird…why not announce this then…this is the only issue I have with Bards tale 4 so far….
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June 17th, 2017, 17:51
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Weird…why not announce this then…this is the only issue I have with Bards tale 4 so far….
The update was already getting really long, and we wanted to push the BT Remaster talk towards the forums where there's already been plenty of discussion on it. There's a link to the forum thread in the update, which is where we put the video too.
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June 17th, 2017, 17:54
They did announce it. In the announcement. I'm not sure why it isn't more prominent, but I guess they had a number of things to announce about the actual game they're developing and left this ancillary thing for the end.

Anyway, it's a completely new engine that plays all three games, and what they've done with the mapping seems great to me. Not that I don't still have the maps I drew for the first two games back when they came out, but incorporating the drawings from inside the original game "boxes" is a great idea.
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June 17th, 2017, 20:22
Less and less impressed as the BT4 videos came in. Best Bards Tale games so far are C64 BT3 and PC BT. Latter was absolutely awesome, IMO.
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June 17th, 2017, 20:37
Originally Posted by epithumia View Post
Anyway, it's a completely new engine that plays all three games, and what they've done with the mapping seems great to me. Not that I don't still have the maps I drew for the first two games back when they came out, but incorporating the drawings from inside the original game "boxes" is a great idea.
I just think they could have picked a better engine. I'm going to assume they didn't have the budget for it.

I can appreciate that they look significantly better than the originals, but that's not saying much. I was hoping for something a little more modern.
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June 17th, 2017, 22:26
Being originally called Tales of the Unknown, it seems to me that a lot more was planned in terms of story or lore but was quickly abandoned like Dungeon Siege in favour of mechanics and general D&D tropes. But like they say, it kind of wasn't done back then even with RP classes like Paladins and Bards.

Still, Bard's Tale was quite the move forward in terms of animated 3D graphics in color and extensive use of music. The mechanic of the bard's music made it an essential member of the party for the first time.

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I'll likely get the game. It seems awesome. But to me it will be less of a BT game is than Fallout 3. Something akin to Wolfenstein 3D or Duke Nukem to its previous incarnations.
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June 18th, 2017, 00:21
A bit disingenuous in that video for Burger Becky to compare her remastered version of BT to the old Apple IIE version. Put the remastered version side by side with the Amiga version and the difference is nowhere near as drastic.
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June 18th, 2017, 09:08
Originally Posted by Nephologist View Post
A bit disingenuous in that video for Burger Becky to compare her remastered version of BT to the old Apple IIE version.
The Apple II versions are the ones she is remastering.

Some of you may know that the emulated versions of these games work on most modern machines, but are a little rough around the edges. Thus, 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! She will be working to make the games run natively, without needing emulators, on PC or Mac. This re-releases will be primarily based on the Apple IIGS versions of the games, along with updated art.
From this update - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects…/posts/1257921
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June 18th, 2017, 10:25
The shiniest engine in the world wouldn't make a difference with the old Bard's Tale games. They're as archaic and old-school as they come.

In fact, I think they're better served without it - as the awfully outdated gameplay stands out that much more if the visuals are modern.

Of course, if they modernised the systems, progression, loot and so on - that might be a different matter.

But the old "X amount of enemies spawn" with a fancier portrait and a high-resolution font wouldn't change anything about the experience, really.
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