It's been well over a year since we last heard anything about Bard's Tale 4, that being when human Kickstarter stretch goal Chris Avellone was added to the project as—you guessed it—a stretch goal. So the recent release of the "World of Caith" teaser video makes this a good time to catch up with what the inXile's been doing.
"This clip is meant to illustrate the tone that we are looking to capture for our environments and creatures in The Bard's Tale 4—a captivating and expansive landscape for you to explore, and a menagerie of creatures inspired by myth and Celtic folklore," inXile wrote in the latest Kickstarter update. "We’ve also been feverishly working on the combat system and have made some amazing progress, but we don’t want to show our hand on it quite yet."
The update also touches on how players will advance through the game. Bard's Tale 4 will enable "free exploration," allowing players to "go in any direction you chose, ignore the main story to do side quests if that's what tickles your fancy, or just noodle around and find cool stuff." But some items and areas will require specific "adventuring tools" to access, which can range from a conventional key or lockpick to more specialized implements like grapples or long poles, or even particular songs or pieces of lore acquired elsewhere in the game.
Nothing related to the main quest will be locked behind "esoteric puzzles," however, and while you'll be given hints that you're in over your head—"If you walk into a new area and find that you're getting your ass handed to you by every enemy who gives you the stink-eye, that's a clue to come back later"—it won't save you from your self-destructive impulses. "You might be a sneaky sort, able to dodge your way through enemy patrols to snag some serious swag, but you do so at your own risk," the update says. "We accept no liability for any party wipes that may occur if you go around trying to punch above your weight."
The Bard's Tale 4 doesn't have a release date (the Kickstarter carries an "estimated delivery" date of October 2017, but we all know what those are worth), but it does have a website at inxile-entertainment.com.