[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]here’s little doubt that inXile has dominated the Kickstarter scene lately in recent years. 2014’s Wasteland 2 arrived as a much lauded sequel to the 1988 classic, and Torment: Tides of Numenera is currently the most funded videogame on Kickstarter. Now, with The Bard’s Tale IV set continue the original trilogy via a June 2nd Kickstarter campaign, the tradition continues. Indeed, InXile has found its niche perpetuating beloved game franchises.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is partially inspired by Planescape: Torment, which is an RPG set in the Dungeons & Dragons world. Released in 1999, Planescape never received a sequel, despite being met with critical acclaim. This changed when inXile announced Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is a spiritual successor of Planescape; although it forgoes the D&D underpinnings in favor of Monte Cook‘s Numenera ruleset. It’s set in Numenera, as the name suggests, a complex and futuristic world. Gameplay revolves heavily around player choices, which influence the outcome of the narrative. It’s always neat when in-game actions affect the story, as exhibited in titles like Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Heavy Rain. A recent gameplay trailer proved delightfully retro, while offering a hearty dose of eye candy.
Meanwhile, The Bard’s Tale IV is slated to continue the classic Bard’s Tale trilogy. No, we’re not talking about the 2004 iteration, though that’s quite an engaging game. The first entry in the Bard’s Tale series came in 1985, and was followed by sequels in 1986 and 1988. InXile’s forthcoming Bard’s Tale IV will directly relate to the classic trilogy, with a Kickstarter campaign hitting the Internet on June 2nd, 2015. My psychic abilities are a little rusty, but I’d warrant a guess that it will easily, and rapidly, achieve full funding.
There’s been a wonderful trend of resurrecting seasoned video game franchises through crowdsourcing. Notably, 2014 saw the release of Tex Murphy: Tesla Effect, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse, and Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary, in addition to the aforementioned Wasteland 2. It’s a much appreciated trend, as it breathes new life into well-known, and oft-played (or re-played) games. InXile appears to have found its stride with these reboots, with Wasteland 2 comfortably in its repertoire, and Tides of Numenera and The Bard’s Tale IV on the way.
It’s fascinating to see such an array of video game sequels and spiritual successors achieving acclaim on the crowdfunded gaming scene. There’s a similar trend of reboots and remakes in the film industry, though those are decidedly more mixed. Some are fantastic, like “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Poltergeist,” while others are complete flops (I’m looking at you “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” remakes). Possibly the pressure of relying on players for financial support leads to overall higher quality, but who knows. Maybe video game franchises are simply easier to continue long-term, or gamers are just less critical. Er, scratch that last part. Regardless of the reason, we’ve got some sweet classic franchises receiving updated, crowdfunded successors, and there will almost be more to follow.