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The Bard's Tale - An Interview With An Archmage

by Dhruin, 2010-12-28 23:36:35

Matt Barton - known for his CRPG history series - has a fascinating interview with Rebecca Heineman, co-founder of Interplay and developer on The Bard's Tale series at Gamasutra.  Her history, old days at Interplay and the demise of The Bard's Tale are among the topics covered, with side references to John Carmack and all sorts of things.  I'll quote the first question because, while not the most interesting answer, it sets the scene for the sort of discussion you'll experience:

I found this on your website: "Who am I? I'm a 46 year old woman, computer programmer, game designer, writer, engineer, pastry chef, markswoman, loving mother of 5 even though my kids have grown up and moved on." Do you feel that pretty much covers everything? Markswoman, really?

Rebecca Heineman: Yes. I used to have a Ferret 50 caliber, long time ago...Not anymore, I don't have any firearms. They've long since disappeared in the divorce, etc. But I used to go out with some friends shooting, and here's a little piece of trivia: in the game Wasteland, in the packaging there's a picture of Alan Pavlish, Michael A. Stackpole, and so forth all dressed as Mad Max road warriors -- the guns they're holding are mine.

...and I can't resist a second grab:

I saw where someone had asked you if you could design any game, what would it be, and you said Wasteland II. I know a lot of gamers who would love to see that. Is there any possibility at all that you might do it?

RH: Ask Brian.

He's the one with the keys to the franchise?

RH: Talk to Brian Fargo. Leave it at that.

Speaking of him, what did you think of his Bard's Tale game?

RH: [Sticks finger down throat, makes gagging noises.] When he first described it to me -- he wanted to do a parody role-playing game. In my opinion, the Bard's Tale that Brian released was The Princess Bride. It even had Cary Elwes as the bard; the humor and everything was The Princess Bride and was not Bard's Tale.

Bard's Tale is a game, a gritty role-playing game, with a party fighting monsters in a fantasy role-playing setting. It wasn't The Princess Bride or Shrek. Now, the game that was shipped was one Brian wanted to make, so that's fine. But to me that Bard's Tale game, I would disavow any connection.

If I were allowed to do Bard's Tale IV, I would do what I did in Dragon Wars but with the next technology. It would have 2011 technology. I would make something that would be pretty damn awesome. I just need someone to give me ten million dollars to do it. Unfortunately, my pockets -- let me look in my purse. There's fifty bucks in there.

Information about

Bard's Tale

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released