Now that Wasteland 2 is out and the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment is nearly complete, Brian Fargo’s inXile is preparing to Kickstart the sequel to another classic Interplay RPG with The Bard’s Tale IV, a sequel 27 years in the making.
Released in 1985 (happy 30th anniversary), Tales of the Unknown: The Bard’s Tale was one of the most popular D&D-inspired dungeon crawlers of its time, challenging the likes of Ultima and Wizardry for personal computer game sales numbers. Its two sequels dropped the Tales of the Unknown naming convention in favour of the more recognisable The Bard’s Tale branding, giving us 1986’s The Bard’s Tale II: The Destiny Knight and 1988’s The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate.
And there the series sat for 27 years. In 2004 inXile released an action role-playing game called The Bard’s Tale, but that fantasy spoof was not directly related to the original PC series.
Announced by Fargo during the PAX South panel on post-apocalyptic games, The Bard’s Tale IV will return players to the town of Skara Brae for the first time in nearly three decades. Fargo spoke briefly about the project with IGN.
“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 will pull from the original trilogy’s story and setting for the sequel, but instead of more traditional turn-based compat, Fargo told IGN the game will feature a new system in which teams — players and enemies — attack all at once rather than individually.
The Bard’s Tale IV will soon be the subject of another inXile Kickstarter campaign. Considering the success of the company’s previous crowdfunding runs, I’m guessing they will have no problem rasing the dough for a trip back to Skara Brae.