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Return to some well-worn dungeons in The Bard's Tale Trilogy next week

As exciting as inXile’s upcoming The Bard’s Tale 4 looks, it’s heartening to see that the studio hasn’t forgotten the roots of the series. Preempting the release of their modern sequel, they’re rolling out remastered versions of Interplay’s original three DOS-era dungeon crawlers. Redrawn, re-animated and given more room to breathe in a slightly more modern, high-resolution UI, the remastered The Bard’s Tale Trilogy will be launching its first game on August 14th, with the other two due by year’s end.

While The Bard’s Tale Trilogy will mostly adhere to the original 80s trilogy, inXile and Krome have made a few improvements while they were at it. All three games now support automapping, you can pick a male or female protagonist, and you can carry your save from one game to the next without too much fuss. For those who’d rather suffer, there’s ‘Legacy Mode’, which will make it play more like the 80s originals. Apparently remaking the trilogy was a hell of a job, as no original source code survives, forcing them to reverse-engineer multiple versions to end up here.

This isn’t the first time inXile have done this, either. Accompanying the release of Wasteland 2 (which was far more of a direct sequel than I was expecting), they put out Wasteland 1 – The Original Classic. While not nearly as complete a remaster as The Bard’s Tale Trilogy, it took the story text formerly externalised into a booklet for copy protection, and fully integrated and narrated it. They even re-drew some of the art while still retaining that EGA DOS look. While it’s still a hard game to get into if you’re used to modern RPG interfaces, it’s the best way to enjoy the original.

The first game in The Bard’s Tale Trilogy will be landing on Steam and GOG next week for $15, with the other two (included in the price) coming in Autumn and Winter respectively. Meanwhile, the far more contemporary The Bard’s Tale 4: Barrow’s Deep is due out on September 18th.

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Dominic Tarason

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