I liked The Bard's Tale 4: Barrows Deep an awful lot when it came out earlier this year and it's improved considerably since then, with new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes. Today developer inXile Entertainment announced that the studio is working on a new dungeon, the Royal Necropolis of Haernhold, which will be free for everyone who owns the game.
The Royal Necropolis will be a combat-focused dungeon with "several new mini-boss fights and two very challenging boss fights." Players will have the opportunity to uncover the truth of Tarjan's treachery and reverse the destruction wrought upon the tomb of Gaerwyn, the greatest hero of the Dwarves.
"While the emphasis is very much on trying out and acquiring new, powerful gear and then using it on the most challenging fights we’ve ever made, we are also able to leverage all of our existing puzzle designs and components for a set of new, mind-bending puzzles that players will have to solve to find the secrets of Gaerwyn’s tomb," inXile said.
Not everyone will be thrilled with the promise of more puzzles: For all that I enjoyed the game, even I have to admit that it got to be a little much at times. The upcoming 2.0 patch will address the hassle with a new song called "Struggler's Lament" that will instantly open most doors that are locked by puzzles. It will only work on core quest content, so you'll still have to handle the optional sections on your own if you want to see what they've got hidden away, but it will make getting to the end of the tale a less trying proposition.
The 2.0 update will also add a new tier of high-level, "master-crafted" items and change up merchants to make them more useful (particularly in the late stages of the game), add new character portraits and nine new fast-travel locations, buff unique items and Elven puzzle weapons, and—finally—add inventory filtering and controller support. Work on the Mac and Linux versions of the game is also ongoing but is taking longer than expected because of the focus on post-releases updates.
A rollout date for the 2.0 update hasn't been set, but the Royal Necropolis of Haernhold DLC is expected to be ready to go in early 2019.