[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t’s been about two weeks since The Bards Tale IV launched on Kickstarter and I wanted to take a look at what we know so far about the game and where the campaign currently is. To start off, we all know that their funding goal is at $1.25 million and in under two weeks with 25 days left on the clock they’re already funded at the time of this writing with over 28,000 backers. Which, while not a record in terms of both time and money, it is still certainly a respectable amount and rarely do we see games break seven digits. Especially these days when the potential backers are more discerning with their money. Probably due to much lighter wallets in the case of crowdfunding veterans like myself.
Here’s what we know about The Bards Tale IV itself. It is a direct sequel to the last game in the trilogy, taking off from what transpired before. The town of Skara Brae is encased in magical ice and time has proven itself to not be an ally as a new town has been built upon its frozen carcass. The eponymous Bard returns with a group of adventurers to take on the challenges that await and traverse the, for lack of a better term, underground city. And your actions and quests undertaken will affect how the townsfolk treat you. In a word, it’s dungeon crawling at its finest. For more information on the basic story, read our coverage from the launch day.
Along with your usual rewards, such as a copy of the game (both digital and physical), you can choose from various tiers that just sweeten the deal. In addition to what you get at each pledge level, if you backed The Bards Tale IV at least $20 during the first two days you’ll get the option to pick from a free copy of Wasteland 2, The Witcher, or The Witcher 2. Obviously, this promotion has long since ran its course but if you’re an early bird backer you should keep this in mind. Also, as of Update 5 anyone who backs at least $20 will get free copies of the original trilogy, both emulated as well as updates from Olde Sküül. For more information, you can read our news piece on that here.
And speaking of updates, other than that great news to fans of the series what has the team at inXile been up to? The third update gave potential backers a look at how The Bards Tale IV will play with an in-game video. We announced this on our forums, which you can read here. In the fourth update Brian Fargo answers some frequently asked questions regarding the game as well as showcasing some new screenshots (posted here). He also announced the first planned stretch goal at $1.3 million. When that is reached they’ll enhance the NPC system and introduce a couple more recruitable characters. That update also introduced a list of add-ons that you can pick up in addition to your chosen tier.
The sixth update was posted on the 12th talking about a special “mini game” running throughout the campaign. By liking The Bards Tale IV‘s Facebook page, Brian Fargo’s Twitter account, their Youtube channel, and doing other weird and creative things to drum up interest in the campaign they’ll unlock pieces of a story “detailing our collective journey through the Enclave of the Fairy Host”. With each achievement unlocked the story gets that much closer to completion. And backers even have the chance to influence what happens next. Rarely do we find this type of interactivity during the funding process. But, it’s a good diversion and it helps to spread the word. The update gives all the details if you’re interested in participating.
In addition, the sixth update also announced a second stretch goal at $1.35 million. There will be crafting in The Bards Tale IV if this amount is reached, so if you’re a fan of going out and making things in addition to questing to save the world you’ll want to set your eyes on this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more just as awesome stretch goals in the works and as more money is pledged these will be revealed in due time. So, keep an eye on the main campaign page for these as well as to keep track of the achievement system they have set up.
That’s pretty much all we know about The Bards Tale IV so far, which is actually a good deal for a campaign that’s only been on Kickstarter for less than two weeks and there will be plenty more to see as the final month continues to count down.