June 3rd 2015
There’s some exciting crowd funding news to share today: Brian Fargo and inXile are resurrecting The Bard’s Tale, a franchise that has been dormant for almost thirty years! For those old enough to remember gaming in the 1980s, the Bard’s Tale series was one of the first serious contenders for the cRPG throne established by Origin’s Ultima series. The series offered now-classic dungeon crawler gameplay with a number of unique takes, including innovative early 3D graphics and a special emphasis on music in the game world. The new game looks to be a return to form, aiming to revive the sort of single-player, party-based game seemingly forgotten in the age of massively multiplayer worlds.
What I’ve seen of the Bard’s Tale IV thus far looks great. I’m confident that Brian and his team will deliver a worthy sequel for the long-dormant series. But what really interests me (and what inspired me to share this news with the Star Citizen community) is the fact that this is inXile’s third crowd funding campaign. What that means is that they’ve turned what was once a traditional development studio into something that truly harnesses the grass roots power of the crowd. The first of their projects to be finished, Wasteland 2, launched earlier this year. I backed Wasteland 2 and thought it was great… and the reviews seem to agree. It’s a game that stays true to the spirit and gameplay of the original. And beyond that, it’s proof that crowdfunded games from creative industry veterans can deliver better quality than you’d expect from a publisher because they’re motivated to make a great game instead of profit for shareholders.
But more than that, what all of this tells me is that what we’re doing isn’t a fluke: crowd funding really does have the potential to replace the publisher model. It seems so simple: give the players themselves a stake in making the games they want to play. If you’re interested in a high quality dungeon crawler (or have fond memories of the original) I encourage you to check out the Bard’s Tale IV trailer, embedded below. And if you’re interested in pledging (or just seeing how the future of game development will work) you can check out their Kickstarter here.
— Chris Roberts