Combat in The Bard's Tale IV will be taking the familiar elements of classic first-person role-playing games, without being stale or repetitive. We're calling it "dynamic phase-based" combat.
You'll be able to command up to six adventurers, in addition to summoned creatures that can fight with you. During your turn, you'll be able to select any active party member in any order. These summons will be able to fill up all available grid slots on the combat field to make for large and chaotic battles.
To keep combat quick, we are employing tricks like decoupling the animations from your input. What this means is that the game will feel like you have direct control over the proceedings of combat, without needing to wait for animations to play as you command your party. This will create a better sense of mastery and flow, as the game will move at your pace, letting you take the time to think and focus without making you wait when you don't need to.
The types of spells and skills you choose for your adventurers will heavily influence how the battles turn out. Available spells will not be given in a linear fashion as you level up. Rather, you'll be able to pick between a group of unlocked spells in order to best suit your needs or party make-up.
Many turn-based dungeon crawlers can feel slow while you execute actions and focus on simple mechanics like hit-point burn. A major design goal for The Bard's Tale IV is to ensure that larger battles in the game are constantly evolving, forcing you to react to a tactically changing battlefield. In The Bard's Tale IV, every battle will require you to make interesting decisions and trade-offs. Enemies will be unpredictable, cunning and capable, and you'll need to use more than brute force to overcome them.