The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep Update #44 - Q&A and Bard's Tale Trilogy Remasters Update

The new Kickstarter update for The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep is quite a meaty one. It starts by reminding us to wishlist the game on Steam and GOG, and then offers an extensive Q&A that answers plenty of questions and in the process paints quite an intriguing picture. According to the Q&A, the fourth installment of The Bard's Tale will have 25 interconnected dungeons, feature four distinct playable races, and have a great heap of nods and references to the original trilogy.

And speaking of the original trilogy. As part of the Kickstarter campaign, a remastered version was initially supposed to be developed by Olde Skuul, but things didn't quite work out there. As such, now the remasters are being put together by Krome Studios and so the update offers some samples of their work and outlines the areas the Krome team will be focusing their efforts on.

Apart from that, the update also direct us to some The Bard's Tale IV press coverage from back during this year's GDC, so if you missed any of that, you can now check that out too.

Here are some snippets:

Thanks to everyone who sent questions our way! We obviously couldn't answer every single one, but don't fret if yours isn't here – we'll be answering more in the next backer update! If there's a question that you would like answered, please feel free to ask it in the comments section below! What follows is a dive into some of the more specific gameplay mechanics, so we hope you enjoy it!

Q: How many dungeons will BT4 have & how many locations/zones will BT4 have?
A: The combined count is 25 dungeons or dungeon-like areas. That said, it's a dungeon crawler - you always have to be on your guard!

Q: What races will be playable in BT4? The Trow have been mentioned as a new race, but what others are confirmed?
A: Dwarves, Elves, and Trow, and there are different variety of Human cultures (Baedish, Fichti, Einarr, and Outlander).

Q: Will it be possible to create your full party?
A: Yes, though not all at once. You start off with one character, and you'll be able to swap that one out during the introduction if you wish. Over the course of the game, you'll be able to grow your party up to six.

Q: Will BT4 be a continuous world where all locations connect together as one big world, or will it have a travel map between locations like Wasteland 2?
A: Yes, you can access the entire world by walking, or you can utilize our fast travel system to warp to previously explored areas. For those old school types, you are never required to use the fast travel system – it's just there for convenience.

Q: How many of BT4's monsters are from the originals or are directly based on the portraits from the originals?
A: For rank and file enemies, many of them were built to fit the current culture and story of this Bard's Tale. About a third of the monsters are from the original games, and the remaining are new, with most inspired by Scottish folklore and mythology (we covered some of them in a previous update). Some of our old major bosses are coming back as well. And no, we won't be fighting Nazis (sorry, Bard's Tale III fans), but a couple of fan favorites like Herb and the 99 Berserkers make a return!

Q: Does BT4 have time-sensitive puzzles? If so, do they take place in real-time or turn-based mode?
A: There are no Shadow Snare puzzles like in The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight - something which requires a real-time solution or you fail (and, in the case of the Shadow Snare, your party dies). While it was certainly an unique feature back in the day, it was a bit too punishing and there are other ways to challenge the player and provide that fun gaming tension.

Q: How many of BT4's bard songs are from the originals or are directly based on the songs from the originals?
A: The vast majority are songs from the original games. Out of the nine magical bard songs that the bard has access to, only the Song of Compulsory Cavorting is brand new. We took the core of what the songs did, or the role it played in the originals, and updated it to fit our combat & exploration systems. They even sound like the old bard songs.

Q: Will there be references to the other cities outside of Skara Brae (such as those you visit in The Bard's Tale II)?
A: Yes, there will be references to the other cities outside Skara Brae. You may even get to visit one.


The Bard's Tale Trilogy Remasters Update

Finally, some long-awaited update news on the original trilogy remasters. As you may remember, when we did our original crowdfunding campaign, we were approached by Olde Skuul and told that they were working on a remasters project. Due entirely to your requests, we agreed to offer these remasters as bonus extras in addition to your backer rewards when they were done.

The project was a large one, and was taking longer than anyone was hoping for. After discussing the situation with Olde Skuul, we agreed to part ways on this. However, the entire inXile development team – from Brian on down – wanted to see this project realized for both the backers and for a new generation of players, so we undertook a search to find the right partner for this project. That journey led us to Krome Studios, and we could not be happier with the work that they are doing so far. It is my pleasure to introduce Lindsay Parmenter, Head of Development of Krome, to walk us through a little of what they have in store for you.

The original Bard's Tale games hold a special place in our hearts - many of us here at Krome Studios, especially Design Lead James Podesta and myself, played the games back in the 80s and are also backers of Bard's Tale IV.

After some casual conversations with the inXile team, the opportunity came up to put something together that we think will be really great for the Trilogy remaster. Not only are we updating the games to work natively on modern systems, but we're also putting on a fresh coat of paint, to give a new generation of role-playing and dungeon-crawling fans an easier opportunity to experience these classic games.

As a short list, our goals for the Trilogy remaster are:
  • Up-res the original art, but keep the art in theme with the originals [...]
  • Add in various audio throughout the games for attacks, spells, and more.
  • Add some quality of life improvements, such as the automap, tooltip popups in the UI, etc.
It's fantastic to be able to share with you some of the work that we've been doing on The Bard's Tale Trilogy. We know everybody's been waiting a while for this, and we look forward to updating you all with the progress in the months ahead.