Tales to be told once more: The Bards Tale IV backed by kickstarter

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , ,

Some of the older gamers amongst you may remember the original The Bards Tale also known as Tales of the Unknown Volume I: The Bard's Tale from way back in 1985.

For young reader unfamiliar with the series it was written by Michael Cranford of Interplay Productions and published by Electronic Arts (back before EA became the complete scourge it is today) and was widely available across several platforms including MS-DOS, Apple, Commodore 64 and Amiga to name a few, it even had a release for the NES  which was admittedly a scaled-down version of the game. 

The general story behind The Bard's Tale, is that your home town, Skara Brae, has been taken over by the wizard Mangar and his evil minions. He has frozen the surrounding countryside with a spell of Eternal Winter. Your goal is to build a party of adventurers to eventually destroy Mangar and free your town from his grasp.  

 One of the better 3d games of the time

The game had a pseudo-3D viewpoint of the city and dungeons which was popular amongst adventure games at the time and had gameplay loosely based on Advanced Dungeons and Dragon. 

Your party may have consist of up to six characters, plus a special slot for non-player party members (such as summons and illusions). There are ten character classes, four of which are magic users and it was even possible to import characters from the Wizardry series of games and Ultima III on some platforms which was impressive for its time.  

It later had a pair of sequels The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight and the vastly superior The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate both of which allowed the players to import previous characters along side adding new races and character classes and expanding the game world.
Unfortunately no further games were created as Michael Cranford the creator of The Bards Tale had left the video games industry prior to the third game to pursue graduate studies and The Bard's Tale III programmer Bill Heineman who had wished to create further games was unable to obtain the rights to the series from EA.

Now after all these years however inXile Entertainment who seem determined to try and bring back all the great classic roleplay games announced a Kickstarter for Bards Tale IV.
This post may seem a little as there is only a week left to go but I believe it still worth some attention and for those of you worried by the screen shots of the the previous game above check out the game engine trailer:


 However we all know plot is just as vital for an RPG as its appearance but from what I've read I can only say it has me in high hopes:
"In mist-shrouded Skara Brae, in the darkest hours of a winter's night, sometimes can be heard a voice on the wind. The Song of the Maiden the locals call it, a song sung since before the standing stones grew moss, a song of ill fortune, that lures those who hear it to their doom, and drives the melancholy to madness, a song, they say, that must never end, for if it does, the world ends with it."

What did the wizard Mangar seek when he cast his spell of Eternal Winter, locking Skara Brae in ice? Why did the invading archmage Lagoth Zanta shatter the Destiny Wand and end seven hundred years of peace? Why did the mad god Tarjan cross the outer planes to burn Skara Brae to the ground and slaughter its people? What secret could drive beings of such great power to again and again lay waste to these ancient isles?

The adventurers who put a stop to these fiends never learned the answer to these questions, but now, a hundred and fifty years after its destruction, and the building of a new town on top of the old, another power, greater than all those before, has turned an eye once again to Skara Brae and the time-lost catacombs beneath it, seeking the secret its predecessors failed to find - and once more, a small group of hapless adventurers are all that stands in its way.
Want to know more well then keep track of the project at either: 
Kickstarter for Bards Tale IV or inXile entertainments homepage

Interested in the original trilogy? Then learn more at:
The Bards Tale Compendium: A fan community for the Series
The Adventurers Guild: A fan community with several emulators and versions of all three games available for download.

Have trouble with emulators www.old-games.com easy installers may be the solution but remember you can only have 2 free downloads per day.
The Bard's Tale, (Amiga Version)
The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight, (Amiga Version)
The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate (Dos Version)


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