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inXile developing The Mage's Tale, a VR Bard's Tale spinoff for Oculus, to help fund Bard's Tale IV

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inXile developing The Mage's Tale, a VR Bard's Tale spinoff for Oculus, to help fund Bard's Tale IV

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 February 2017, 21:55:41

Tags: Brian Fargo; inXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep; The Mage's Tale

Many people have wondered how inXile were planning to develop The Bard's Tale IV with the meager $1.5M budget raised by its Kickstarter campaign. Opening a studio in New Orleans where costs are cheaper was one way, and today we learn of another. You may be aware of the currently ongoing virtual reality gaming fad. It seems that the VR platform owners are out there throwing large sums of money at anybody willing to develop a game for their systems, as we've already seen with OtherSide's Underworld Overlord. Taking advantage of this, in a new Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter update, Brian Fargo introduces The Mage's Tale, a Bard's Tale VR spinoff for Facebook's Oculus.

As you might have already seen, we just announced a new game we're developing: The Mage's Tale! This is a brand-new VR title coming to Oculus, which we hinted at last holiday during our year-in-review video.

The Mage's Tale is a first-person VR adventure set in the world of The Bard's Tale, where you play as a young mage (who else?), using tactile functions to craft and throw spells to defeat your foes. It is a separate stand-alone title, which means you don't need familiarity with The Bard's Tale to play it. It is not directly tied to The Bard's Tale IV either, so it's not required for you to play The Mage's Tale to enjoy The Bard's Tale IV, or vice-versa. And it's great news for The Bard's Tale IV, for reasons I'll explain below! But first, the guys from Tested came by our studio to try the game out, check it out below!

As I touched upon in my year-end message, the NOLA studio has grown quite a lot in the past year, and this project was part of what allowed us to do that - thus accruing more talent in one place, faster than we could have dreamed. But I also mentioned inXile works in a team structure, meaning nearly all our staff are fully dedicated to one project or another. Oculus Studios' publishing allowed us to hire a team for Mage's without affecting the team we were already growing for Bard's, a team that has been hard at work on things we have already been showing you. And I want to reiterate not a penny from our crowdfunding went into The Mage's Tale, in fact quite the opposite as we'll explain below. The crowdfunding monies has been fully earmarked for The Bard's Tale IV's team.

So in a direct sense, The Mage's Tale does not affect The Bard's Tale IV. But there are some benefits... One benefit is that in creating The Mage's Tale, we need to become familiar with and develop technology and tools, just like on any other game. With each game, there is a time investment in getting up to speed on all of that. Since both The Bard's Tale IV and The Mage's Tale are being built on Unreal Engine 4, there is naturally a synergistic benefit between both of them.

But here's the best news for backers: after having seen our videos and screenshots, we saw many of you asking how we're able to build a game this graphically polished on a $1.5 million budget. We're pleased to say that while both games are being worked on by separate teams, many of the environments, models, textures, animations, and other graphical assets that we've been able to use for The Mage's Tale are going back into The Bard's Tale IV. That means we can make The Bard's Tale IV look better, and frees us up to spend more resources to build on that art set, and this helps us get to the vision of what we wanted The Bard's Tale IV to be.

Bottom line - the assets coming in from Mage's allow us to make The Bard's Tale IV a larger game than otherwise possible, with larger levels and more varied enemies. Of course, continued back catalog sales from our other games, and sales of Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is releasing this Feb. 28th, will continue to flow directly into our projects, allowing us to make them that much bigger and better!

This asset sharing is limited to graphical assets, as the two games are very different in design - The Bard's Tale IV being a much more complex game, which is on track to be the rich turn-based dungeon crawler experience we've promised from the outset.

Oh and by the way, all you dungeon crawl fans, we noted some saw the last combat video and thought we ditched grid-based movement. Not at all! We'll be excited to show more traditional, grid-based movement as well as other great features in updates to come!
It's said that the original Bard's Tale trilogy was initially supposed to have had each game focus on a different class, with the sequel being The Archmage's Tale. This sure is a strange way of fulfilling that promise.

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