This September, developer InXile Entertainment will resurrect one of the earliest RPG franchises in gaming history with The Bard's Tale 4: Barrows Deep. It's the first numbered entry in the series since 1988, ie 30 freakin' years ago. That absolutely dwarfs the number of years fans have waited for games like Final Fantasy 15, The Last Guardian, or Shenmue 3. What's more, those interested in the game can help it along in a unique twist on crowdfunding.
Oh boy, I said the C-word, didn't I? But don't worry, The Bard's Tale isn't actually asking for any of your money - not yet, anyway. Instead, customers who wishlist the game on Steam or GOG.com will help run up a counter and unlock rewards for everyone based on the total number of said wishlists the game is added to.
If the game is wishlisted by 100,000 people, InXile will partner with Darkest Dungeon developer Red Hook Studios to add that game's iconic torch to The Bard's Tale 4. At 300k, the price of the game will drop from $39.95 / £29.99 to $34.95 / £27.99. At 500k, the price will drop even further, to $29.95 / £24.99, and InXile will develop "The Haernhold" DLC, which takes players to Kinestria, realm of the Dwarves. This DLC will be free for everyone, regardless of whether you yourself wishlisted the game or not.
As for the game itself, it should appeal to fans of the earliest RPGs, as it's a first-person dungeon crawler featuring turn-based combat against your usual assortment of medieval fantasy creatures (goblins, undead, cultists, etc), as well as a variety of puzzles to solve. You can see a nearly half-hour walkthrough with developer commentary below:
If you read this article and kept thinking to yourself, "InXile, that name sounds familiar," you might remember it as the studio behind other crowdsourced RPG revivals Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera - two of the most-backed games on Kickstarter back in its heyday. So yeah. I'd say that while I personally was never exposed to The Bard's Tale, my interest is definitely piqued. It's out September 18 on PC, with Xbox One and PS4 versions coming at a later date.
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