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Bard's Tale revamp planned

Brian Fargo returns...

Old farts rejoice! The dream of a Bard's Tale remake is finally a reality thanks to the re-emergence of original creator Brian Fargo, who has returned from his Interplay exile to form, um, inXile, and has announced that his new company will create a 'modern interpretation' of the RPG classic for all 'next gen' consoles and the PC.

Details on the game are currently scant, with the press release claiming it "will eschew genre clichés in favour of intelligent humour for an original and truly entertaining experience".

The statement added: "inXile's development focus on the RPG genre comes from Brian Fargo's long legacy of delivering standard-setting RPGs to market".

And it's not wrong about that. Even this passing RPG fan of a correspondent lost years in the late 80s/early 90s to many an Interplay classic, including the likes of Wasteland, Dragon Wars, The Bards Tale trilogy (briefly), Neuromancer and latterly Fallout.

Unhelpfully the release gives little clue as to the projected release date; surely it can't mean the 5G consoles? [That what? -bemused colleague]

For the young 'uns among you, inXile provided a little summary of why The Bard's Tale is so revered: "The initial The Bard's Tale, produced by Brian Fargo and published by Electronic Arts, originally shipped to market in 1985 on the Apple II computer [it also came out on C64 and the Spectrum, bizarrely -Ed] and quickly achieved both commercial success and critical acclaim.

"It quickly became a No.1 seller and later spawned two sequels and a series of books. The series went on to sell over 1 million copies worldwide. The game achieved numerous awards and industry fame and eventually was inducted into Computer Gaming World magazine's Hall of Fame and GameSpy's Hall of Fame." So there you have it.

Firing it up these days would require a fair bit of forgiveness on the part of the user, with fairly rudimentary graphics. But its combat and experience system were well ahead of their time, and carried Interplay through several successful sequels and spin-offs, most successfully on the excellent post apocalyptic Wasteland, which eventually inspired Fallout, its spiritual sequel ten years later.

We don't normally go overboard for western RPGs here at EG, but The Bard's Tale might be one we'd pay particular attention to.

Meanwhile, Fargo's happy to be back, after his Interplay days ended in acrimony with French owners Titus. "After a nice break from the industry I'm recharged and anxious to make great games again," he said.

"I have collaborated with some of the top people in the industry to create inXile. We believe our success will lie in our business model, our intensive pre-production development philosophy, our commitment to creating an enriching atmosphere for creativity and teamwork and our focus on developing a limited number of triple-A titles at a time."

inXile's financing and production is modelled on Hollywood production companies such as Miramax and New Line Cinema. "Similar to a motion picture production company, inXile is funding its production by selling off territorial distribution rights and taking additional financial risk itself for increased profitability," the statement added.

Anyway, The Bard's Tale. We know sod all about it yet, but as soon as we do we'll let you know.

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