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Brian Fargo has recently been giving a round of interviews to the specialized press to drum up some anticipation for The Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter, scheduled for a June 2nd launch. These includes pieces from PC Gamer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and Eurogamer. They are all conducted in the exhuberant style Fargo has gotten us used to since the launch of the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter and contain some rather valuable information on The Bard's Tale IV.
For example, we learn that the title's Kickstarter will have a funding goal of $1.25 million, while inXile will be contributing with $1.25 million of its own. This means that, providing the campaign is successful, the title will have a minimum budget of $2.5 million. That said, the number might vary wildly due to the campaign's success or even inXile's own willingness to put in extra funds, as they did for Wasteland 2, whose final budget was about double the original Kickstarter budget.
Additionally, it also looks like Fargo thinks graphics will be one of the game's selling points, and a way to distinguish it from other recent first-person dungeon crawlers, as he tells Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Richard Cobbett:
Cool. So what would you say is The Bard's Tale's niche, like Ultima's morality and Wasteland's setting? What's its '˜thing' that you think has helped it hang on?
Fargo: Well, in the beginning, it was bringing sound and graphics to a new level for the dungeon crawl genre. It was really about Wizardry, and that didn't have colour and animations and so on. We were bringing that level of expertise to the table, and in a way, we're kinda doing that again. To me, that was the big breakthrough making a game that's super deep but still pushes the graphical boundaries.
By the way, it's the 30th anniversary of the first game, so serendipitous in terms of timing. When we shipped Wasteland 2, most people were like (Brian, we love it.. now, Bard's Tale IV?) We're going to do all the things people love about the series. We talk about graphics and some people think we're just focusing our effort on that, but we totally get that this has to be a difficult game and it needs all the trappings. Secret doors, puzzles. have you played The Room?
RPS: On iPad? Yep.
Fargo: I just love the way they handle the physical manipulation of items within the world. Even just opening a chest, turning a knob, feels satisfying. And their puzzle design was extremely clever. I like everything about that, and I'm taking it as it applies to even things like your inventory. You might have a dagger in your inventory that you've been using for hours, but then you spot a latch, flip it, it lights up blue and you realise you've had a magic dagger all along. Or you find a sword hilt and put an item in it and it does one thing, and then you add another later. a really deep physical integration with the environment.
All in all, I recommend reading these three interviews to get a better sense of the kind of game inXile wants The Bard's Tale IV to be. Just don't expect anything remotely resembling a clear picture of the game's combat system yet.