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Brian Fargo announces Bard's Tale IV at PAX South

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Brian Fargo announces Bard's Tale IV at PAX South

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 24 January 2015, 18:12:59

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

Dear Leader Brian Fargo spoke at a panel about post-apocalyptic gaming at the PAX South convention today. Shortly before it began, he teased on Twitter that he "might" be making a big announcement there. The panel doesn't appear to have been streamed live, but somebody from Game Informer was there, and they just reported that inXile's next game is none other than, you guessed, The Bard's Tale IV.

Brian Fargo and InXile Entertainment announced a new chapter to the classic RPG dungeon-crawler series at PAX South today. This single player PC-centric installment won't be a complete throwback-style game like Wasteland 2, and instead The Bard's Tale 4 will attempt to modernize and revitalize the genre - sort of like how Hearthstone approached the card game.

"This is a special game for me," says Fargo. "It was the first game that really put Interplay on the map, and it just happens that this will fall on the 30th anniversary."

The game will feature modern day approaches to graphics, sound, and design while revisiting all the locales and classes that players love from the early installments in the series like the town of Skara Brae. The game will be a dungeon crawler through and through, but don't expect to have to bust out the old-school tools. HUD elements will be kept to a minimum, there will be plenty of puzzles, and immersion will be the focus.

"I don't think in this day and age we can make you break out the graph paper," says Fargo. "We might have a hardcore mode for that."

There will be a crowdfunding push for The Bard's Tale 4, as well as funding coming from InXile.
IGN has more information:

"This project has always been really personal to me," Fargo told IGN. "It was a game that put both me and Interplay on the map, back in the day. And it's also the franchise that launched inXile."

InXile Entertainment is planning a Kickstarter for The Bard's Tale IV. Details about the game are still light, but Fargo did say the team will be pulling from the original as far as overarching ideas go. From a story perspective, players will be returning to Skara Brae, where it all began. But on the gameplay side of things, Fargo is planning a deviation.

"Traditional turn-based combat," as Fargo calls it, bases turns on varying factors, creating battles in which different characters attacked at different times, often alternating between opposing sides. But in The Bard's Tale IV, teams attack all at once. This increases the pace of the combat, and allows for a different set of tactics than the traditional system might allow.

"There will be plenty of combat diversity and depth," Fargo said. "You look at something like Hearthstone, for example. It's sort of that going back-and-forth process, and you see the complexity and detail and strategy and nuance that can happen. It's really an amazing system. I love those modern influences. I took a lot away from that, and see things we need to do with our combat system."

As for taking another project to Kickstarter, Fargo said crowdsourcing will allow him to make the games he wants to make, for an audience that wants them, without worrying about pleasing a mass market. Although it didn't release under the traditional publishing system, Wasteland 2 sold extremely well right out of the gate.

Fargo used broadcast TV stations to illustrate his point. "I prefer to be on Showtime rather than NBC," he said. "That's the kind of entertainment I like to watch, and it's the same thing with these kind of games. I'm able to make something that caters to a crowd that really loves that experience."

Work continues on Torment: Tides of Numenera, and in IGN's Wasteland 2 review, we praised its excellent story and plethora of party design options. But after announcing the team's return to the franchise that put them on the map, Fargo is excited for yet another revival.

"It's the first property we worked with," he said. "The fact that it's the 30th anniversary of the original makes it all just seem perfect."
Yes, yes, this is going to be interesting.

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