Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites: The Bard’s Tale IV Trailer

inXile Entertainment are seemingly transitioning to being a crowdfunding-only studio, freeing themselves of publishers by leaning on fans and admirers. They’ve picked a trick or two up from their years with publishers, though. Such as: never release a trailer alongside your big announcement; save it for a few days later to score a second surge of interest.

So here’s the first “in engine” trailer for The Bard’s Tale IV [official site], inXile’s follow-up to Interplay’s 1980s dungeon-crawling series, which is currently storming Kickstarter.

The trailer’s pretty pretty, with some nice environment art and some interesting monster designs. Those are the nicest kobolds/goblins/generic low-level grunty monsters I’ve seen in a fair few games. It’s rare to hear laughter in RPG trailers nowadays too.

This Bard’s Tale is a sequel to the original games from the ’80s, side-stepping inXile’s one contribution to the series – a shoddy spoof in 2004. It’ll be a dungeon-crawler, yeah, forming and levelling up a party, completing quests, and murdering monsters for the contents of their meatpockets.

inXile launched the Kickstarter on Tuesday seeking $1,250,000 (£810,000-ish), and with 36 days still to go are almost there ($934,451, as I write this). It’s in the bag. They sought $900k for Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera, but smashed these goals so thoroughly that I suppose the initial asking amount doesn’t really matter any more. I’m impressed that they’re breaking away from publishers to focus on the kind of games they want to make, it’s just a shame they’re holding back footage that could’ve easily been in the original Kickstarter pitch to give a more rounded impression of what they’re making.

Anyway, here’s that “in engine” trailer:


  1. jasta85 says:

    trailer is quite pretty although in-engine can be a helluva lot different from in game footage so we’ll have to see, but I’m not too hung up on graphics so long as the gameplay is fun

    I never played the original bard tale but I was quite happy with wasteland 2 and torment looks like it’s coming along nicely so I have no issues with backing another kickstarter by this company, just because I like the throw back to old school games.

  2. Sakkura says:

    Interesting. I was somewhat expecting the game to be grid-based like Grimrock, but the trailer at least implies more freedom of movement.

    Other than that it’s not really revealing much.

    By the way, setting the tunnel you’re walking through on fire seems a bit rash. Good thing video game fire creates little smoke.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      My understanding is that it is first person free movement when exploring, and something like Might & Magic X (or possibly Grimrock?) when in combat.

    • Wizardry says:

      Wizardry 8 please.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        That works too. Hi Wiz, good to see you are still around.

  3. Uglycat says:

    Ahh, Julie Fowlis.

  4. nofare says:

    The more I think about it, the more I like it. Really lovely indeed. Lovely music, good visual flare, and a clear interest in mixing different tones (humor, darkness, and whimsy — loved that talking rocky mouth). What a breath of fresh air from all the swaggering, one-dimensional grim stuff out there.

    Although I backed Wasteland 2 (a fun game I’m quite enjoying right now), as well as Torment Tides of Nnnnh, I wasn’t particularly piqued by Bard. Thanks to its trailer, it’s now on my mental map.
    Will keep an eye on the campaign and see what else they’ve got in their bags of tricks.

  5. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    That Skrillex reference though.

  6. DanMan says:

    The humor in the previous one was what actually piqued my interest. If this one’s dead serious, I don’t really care, and I can’t see humor in this one. I think they even said that the last one was crap in their opinion.

    • balinor says:

      The arpg version of Bard’s Tale was dire for me whereas the original trilogy is probably still my most played games. I think the previous attempt served a purpose for people that were looking for that style of game but naming it the way they did was a bad decision.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      > I can’t see humor in this one

      I thought the minions imitating the over the top evil laugh of their boss was meant as a joke. But you are right, the lore of the 3 original games with a mad god breaking through and initiating the apocalypse will probably not be the light-hearted romp of the one you remember.

      > I think they even said that the last one was crap in their opinion.

      You misremember, Fargo has said several times he is proud of what they achieved with that game on a limited budget. For instance in this interview:
      link to

      But this particular Kickstarter is aimed at the fans of the original 3.

      • jrodman says:

        There was humor in the original games, but it wasn’t very advanced.


        “You see the mighty lord of chaos before you, summoning spirits from the plane of fire. “NOW YOU WILL DIE!” he screams.

        I think you’re in trouble.”

        That sort of narrator comment was a bit overplayed, but I kind of like it all the same. But it was pretty infrequent, and definitely not the focus.

  7. manny says:

    Hard to believe they went from Wasteland 2, which they could barely pull off, and now a full on first person AAA RPG game. I’m sitting this one out.

    • damoqles says:

      Hardly AAA.

    • manny says:

      Well it’s got AAA graphics. Either they are misrepresenting the final finished game, or the game is not truly a free look first person game. I’m guessing you have a limited preset path you need to follow, but you can look around freely and move around a bit. As many have guessed, a Grimrock on steroids. Cause I don’t see how else they could achieve that level of quality with the budget they have.

      Looks great in that case.

  8. Dale Winton says:

    Now we are talking , something modern looking for a change

    Not going to back it ,as backing Kickstarters is madness but I’ll probably buy it when/if it’sout

  9. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    The words “dungeon crawl” instantly turn me off, but inXile’s description of gameplay somehow makes me think “Mario RPG with a magical jukebox” rather than “Diablo clickfest with a magical jukebox”, which is interesting. Mario RPG isn’t actually a dungeon crawl is it?

    But more importantly: That is one sexy trailer, the inXile folks are great, and I’m really digging the music and music-related stuff. This requires a think.

    • Themadcow says:

      Diablo is an ARPG variant of the dungeon crawler, which is an entirely different thing. The Bards Tale (1-3) and this game are the blabber turn based variant like Wizardry, MMX and Etrian Odyssey.

      • Themadcow says:

        Err… Blobber, stupid spellchecker.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Ah, that’s reassuring, given the right mindset. I watched some MMX gameplay a while ago and recoiled, but I was basically expecting a magic-based FPS at the time, for whatever reason. From a turn-based RPG perspective now, though, I like the looks of it, and I see it even has above-ground dungeons! I shall HMMM for a while longer, but with more enthusiasm now.

  10. PhilBowles says:

    But will you need a torch to see those tunnels, and get a black screen without one?

    Love the music, though they’re heavily overdoing the Celtic theme which in the originals wasn’t really any more than the name Skara Brae and the presence of bards.

  11. racccoon says:

    “seeking $1,250,000 (£810,000-ish), and with 36 days still to go are almost there ($934,451, as I write this). It’s in the bag” I think you mean…its into begging.

  12. jrodman says:

    Am I totally weird for thinking the noises and such that the evil wizard and minions are making sound totally stupid? I think this is one of those cases of less is more. When a game just gives me a bit of text, I can imagine a wondrous scenario. When it’s minutes of CGI, I’m probably just waiting for it to be over.