inXile president Matt Findley here with an update for you. Much has happened in the last couple of months, and we are here today to share with you how the ball has been rolling on The Bard's Tale IV.
New Location: inXile NOLA!
First off, we are excited to announce that we have opened a new studio in the beautiful city of New Orleans!
There are several reasons why we have done this. First and foremost, we are always looking for ways we can make our game budgets go further. When we cut our costs it allows us to put more people onto the project for a longer period of time. This directly results in an improvement to the games we are making. Our creative process involves iteration. Iteration takes time. Time takes money. The lower our burn rate, the longer we get to work on the game and the more iteration all the features of the game receive. With the support of State of Louisiana and the general lower cost of doing business in New Orleans we are able to stretch our budgets and put an increase of man months into our projects.
The second reason why we are excited about the new NOLA studio is gaining access to a talent pool in the south and on the east coast that we just didn’t have access to in California. We are currently interviewing for positions in NOLA and there are a bunch of new hires that we are going to get that are people we never could have talked into moving to the west coast.
Why should you care about all this? Because the first project that we are going to be making in New Orleans is The Bard’s Tale IV! It might sound like an impossible task to setup this new studio, hire a bunch of people, and make The Bard’s Tale IV awesome. How can we do it? Easy, I am going to cheat. I am not in New Orleans all by myself - we have a core group of people who are making the move from our HQ in Newport to New Orleans with me.
This team and I just spent the last couple of years making Wasteland 2 together and we are continuing our work on The Bard’s Tale IV. The only difference is that now we are going to be doing it in New Orleans. By moving this team here we are going to be able to add to it with new hires and end up with a larger team than we ever could have had in Cali.
While everything I have said above is true, if I had to explain to you in just a few words why we are here in NOLA those words would be "Fried Oyster Po Boy".
So now that you know why we are here, you should really think about joining us. We're now hiring! If you're interested in lending your talents to this new brand of inXile, we have many positions available and we'd love to see a few backers among our applicants. Who else would have greater passion or understand of what we want to accomplish than people who've been with us from the start? You can check out our new Careers page for a full listing of open positions, and we'd love to hear from qualified individuals.
The NOLA studio is currently being set up for the full rigors of game development, and it's been an adventure getting things going. You can see some photos below showing off the new building and things coming together.
The last few months have been very busy and fruitful for us. We're happy to announce that at this time, we're halfway through our pre-production phase on the game. But what does this mean, exactly?
Pre-production is the phase of development where we do our initial design and technology work on the game. This mean, through both prototyping as well as work on paper, defining the game that we intend to make in as full detail as we possibly can, so that we can get a grasp of our final project scope and feature set. All sorts of things are taking shape, from our technology, to our game mechanics, to our story.
Right now, this means that the major foundational components of the game – the story and world-building, our setting and characters, have for the most part had the groundwork laid down. You saw glimpses of these during our previous Kickstarter updates, including snippets of lore and story from Nathan Long, and design ideas from Brian and other team members, and we have continued to build on these to flesh out the world of The Bard's Tale IV.
Going forward, we are getting deeper into the nitty-gritty of the game: the play mechanics and combat system, core character classes, spells and abilities, and other higher-level elements like our quest structuring and ideas for reactivity in our game world and story. It is too soon to talk about this stuff in too much detail but in future weeks we will introduce you to more of the team and let each of them talk in more detail about the things they are working on.
The Bard's Tale Classic Trilogy Emulated & Forum Badge – Now Available
During the initial Kickstarter campaign we were happy to announce the re-release of our Bard's Tale Classic Trilogy of games to our backers, coming in both emulated and remastered forms. We have now made the emulated version available to all applicable backers – if you're getting The Bard's Tale IV in any form with your pledge, that's you!
This release contains the original DOS versions running in DOSBox, and includes a custom launcher to make playing the games easy. Through the launcher, you can also do things like change graphics filtering to fit your perfect definition of "nostalgia", and transfer characters between the games without the hassle of swapping floppies.
To download it, visit your Rewards page after logging into your backer account, and look for the "Downloads" button on your specific reward that includes the Classic Trilogy. And if you haven't yet, now's a great time to register for your Bard's Tale IV backer account so that you will be able to access more rewards as they become available.
Speaking of rewards, Old Skuul and Rebecca Heineman are still hard at work on getting the remastered version of the classic Bard's Tale games available. We will let you know when we are ready to share them with you, but so far they are going well as we've shown in previous updates, with many new features taking shape, including updated music.
That's not the last of the rewards though. Our backer forum badge, which is available to all backers at the $5 level and above, is now available for use on our discussion forums!
To get your forum badge, log in with your Bard's Tale IV backer account, then visit the Rewards page and click the "Badge" button that appears on the right-hand side of your reward selection. If you need more detailed instructions, you can check here.
News on the New New Orleans Studio
Our new studio has seen some stories pop up in the press if you'd like to read more. The first news was this press release from the Louisiana government web page, which was expanded upon in coverage from NOLA.com and GamesIndustry.biz, among others. Recently, Fortune also published an article which discusses a number of developers who are setting up shop down south. This one has a few comments from Brian and discusses some of our plans for the studio going forward.
That is all for now. We'll be back in the near future with more details on the game as those solidify further. Thanks for checking in!
inXile President & Studio Lead - inXile New Orleans