The Bard's Tale 4: Barrows Deep was scruffy at launch - I used that word in my Bard's Tale 4 review - but inXile has done significant work since. Case in point: this week's Second Sight patch, which is a whopper.
It allows you to save anywhere in the game - halle-bloody-lujah! Previously you had to wait until you reached a Luck Stone, which was a pain in the arse if your game crashed, which mine did, over and over.
Arguably the biggest thing in the patch, however, is the ability to play the game in Grid mode, like the original Bard's Tale games. As it stands, you free-roam The Bard's Tale 4 and then phase to grid for battles.
On Saturday 10th November, Microsoft announced buying Californian role-playing game developers inXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment. Two studios independent which had fought for survival for a decade-and-a-half were now under the Xbox umbrella. The message from Microsoft was reassurance: don't worry, nothing will change, we won't kill them - they'll continue to make the games you love, only they'll have more resources and support available to "fully realise" their ambitions. Nevertheless, questions remained.
The rumours were true: Microsoft Studios is buying Obsidian Entertainment. It's also, in an unexpected twist, buying inXile Entertainment.
I'm sorry this review arrives late, but The Bard's Tale 4: Barrows Deep is stubborn. Trying to power through it is like trying to solve a great pile of crosswords in one sitting: your brain would turn to mush. You could cheat - The Bard's Tale 4 includes a walkthrough out of the box - but you would rob yourself of the point of the puzzle in the first place. The answer doesn't really matter; it's the process you undergo to get it and the satisfaction you feel when you do that counts. In this way The Bard's Tale 4, one giant collection of puzzles, can be enormously satisfying, but force the issue and you will bang heads with it. It cannot and should not be rushed.
The Bard's Tale 4: Barrows Deep
The Bard's Tale 4 comes out on PC on 18th September 2018, developer inXile has announced.
The fantasy role-playing sequel launches on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.
The Bard's Tale 4 is a single-player, first-person party-based role-playing dungeon crawler set in Caith, a Scotland-inspired realm. You recruit a party of up to six heroes and explore, solve puzzles and delve deep into dungeons. The combat is a turn-based affair that revolves around smart positioning. Check out the gameplay video below from our Johnny Chiodini for more.
inXile boss Brian Fargo has told Eurogamer he plans to retire after Wasteland 3 ships in 2019.
InXile has released a gameplay video of The Bard's Tale 4 that shows off combat for the first time.
Hot on the heels of the announcement of Wasteland 3, inXile has released a teaser video for one of the other games it has in the works: The Bard's Tale 4.
UPDATE 15TH JUNE: The game will be made - The Bard's Tale 4 Kickstarter campaign has just surpassed its $1.25m goal.
Van Buren was the codename for a game Black Isle Studios intended to be Fallout 3. But in 2003 Black Isle went down with the Interplay ship and the series would eventually be resuscitated by Bethesda - a series that will continue, maybe as soon as this year, with Fallout 4.
InXile has released an in-engine graphics demo of The Bard's Tale 4 to give people an idea of what the crowdfunded dungeon-crawler will look like.
UPDATE 2/6/15 2.20pm inXile Entertainment has now launched its $1.25m Kickstarter campaign for Bard's Tale 4.
The Bard's Tale 4 Kickstarter has been a success, comfortably reaching its $1.25m goal with the best part of a month to spare. It ends 11th July.
27 years after the release of The Bards Tale 3, Brian Fargo has announced plans to return to the cult classic fantasy role-playing series for a sequel.
Fargo, whose studio inXile Entertainment successfully crowdfunded Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera, will again take to Kickstarter, this time to raise money to develop The Bard's Tale 4.
The last game in the fantasy role-playing series was inXile's 2004 action RPG The Bard's Tale, which was a comedy spin-off of the original, Interplay-developed games. Fargo indicated The Bard's Tale 4 would be closer to the original games than the humorous spoof, calling it "a proper sequel to the trilogy".