Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Game News inXile say Bard's Tale Trilogy remaster probably not happening

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight; Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate; Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown; Brother None; InXile Entertainment; Olde Skuul; Rebecca Heineman

    One of the brighter spots in the otherwise dull Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter campaign was the announcement that backers would receive a remastered version of the original Bard's Tale trilogy, to be developed by veteran Interplay programmer Rebecca Heineman. Burger Becky had a lot of ideas for the remaster and at first things seemed to be progressing well enough, but a year later in an October interview on Shane Plays she revealed that that the project was on ice due to a lack of funding from inXile. We asked inXile about this then and did receive a brief response, but this weekend, presumably in a bid to make good on their recent commitment to improve their communication with backers, they made an announcement that's much more conclusive. I think we've all seen this coming for a while:

    The Bard's Tale Remastered Status Update

    Hi everyone,

    From time to time we've been seeing questions about the Bard's Tale remaster and its development status. Normally we don't discuss details like this, but in the interest of giving you more transparency and clearing up some of those questions, we felt it was a good idea to post a statement here.

    When the BT4 Kickstarter campaign started, we initially promised the emulated versions of the original BT trilogy - those were finished and delivered to backers many months ago.

    Shortly after the BT4 campaign began, Olde Skuul expressed interest in developing remastered and updated versions of the classic BT games. We were a bit reluctant, as we had concerns about Olde Skuul completing development, however, we agreed on the condition that inXile would provide payment on completion of the project. Because of this, our wording around the BT remasters was a bit more tentative:

    "Meanwhile, Rebecca will be working on the updated versions of the games and if that goes well we'll get you those as soon as she delivers them to us, also for free! As we're not working on these versions ourselves we cannot give an ETA or guarantee on their release, we'll all be waiting for Rebecca to deliver us an upgraded version worthy of the name!"​

    More recently, Becky has made appearances, such as on the Shane Plays podcast where she suggested Olde Skuul stopped working on the project because they haven't received payment. This implies that they've stopped working because we haven't paid them monies that are due, but as mentioned above, we agreed no monies would be due until completion.

    There was some initial work done on the remasters, and we released some of those beta builds to you as a way to keep you guys involved during BT4's pre-production stages, as well as to help fuel development and get feedback for Olde Skuul. Unfortunately, Olde Skuul's progress slowed and eventually stopped. Our emails and IMs would sometimes take weeks or months to get replies. During this period we even provided internal and external QA resources at our own expense to help push development along, but those efforts didn't help much either. At this stage, we feel it's unlikely that Olde Skuul will finish development on the BT remasters.

    Obviously, we're not happy with this situation, and it has been a frustrating sequence of events for us, but we felt it was right to let you all know what happened. In the meantime, we've removed the BT remasters from our reward packages on the Bard's Tale backer web site. The emulated version we previously released as promised will remain available to everyone who backs The Bard's Tale IV.​

    Oh boy, drama! Of course, this isn't the first time Becky has left a game remastering project unfinished. inXile knew what they were getting into here. Couldn't they have hired the guy who did the Wasteland 1 rerelease instead?
     
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  2. I'm With Her SausageInYourFacegender: ⚧ for prison Arcane Patron

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    All of my fucking parrots. :M
     
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  3. Aenragender: ⚧ Guest

    Aenra
    Is that the tranny freak? If so, it must be someone else's fault! Her rights are being violated!

    (she should try and meet with that purple-haired lesbo in Unity, see if they can open their own Tumblr together or something)
     
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  4. Lord Azlangender: ⚧ Arcane Patron Shitposter

    Lord Azlan
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    Who would have thought this would come to pass -

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134614/the_burger_speaks_an_interview_.php?print=1

    Show Spoiler
    What was your involvement with Bard's Tale?

    RH: Brian Fargo had a high school buddy named Michael Cranford, and we were playing Wizardry all the time. Cranford was doing a D&D session where he was the game master. All throughout Interplay we thought we had to do a Wizardry killer. So, the project was given to Cranford to go ahead and write Tales of the Unknown, and that is the name of the game. They thought we were going to call it The Bard's Tale, and the sequel would be The Arch-Mage's Tale, and later on The Thief's Tale. But the title was going to be Tales of the Unknown.

    The problem was Cranford, while he was okay coming together with the scripting and so forth, he couldn't do high-performance graphics. That's what I did. So, at this time in Interplay, I was becoming the tools programmer, or the technology programmer. I wrote all the graphics routines, I did all the sound routines, the animation. I also did the graphics editor, called Quick Draw. Apple later used that name -- damnit, I should have copyrighted it. But I wrote the art program that all the artists were using.

    The tools, the extractors, every single piece of software so all the heavy lifting work -- I wrote that. Whereas Cranford wrote the actual game logic, and the text instruction and some disk routines. I remember we had wars because I would write in an assembler called Merlin and he was using Orca/M. So I would have to write it in Merlin, then translate to Orca/M or give it to him for translation, and we were constantly back and forth. It made a rift between us.

    Once Bard's Tale was almost done -- we had a couple bugs left, Cranford had fixed them -- Cranford then had the final floppy disk, and he came in and held the disk hostage. He told Brian to sign a contract, which changed the terms of the deal with him and Interplay, or he was not going to give the disk to Brian. He was going to sell itself or something of that nature. We needed the money, so Brian signed the contract, and Cranford gave the disk, and the game shipped. Thankfully for Interplay, it made us a boatload of money.

    However, that contract had a clause in it that basically said that the sequel, The Destiny Knight, was Cranford's and Cranford's alone. I did do some more functions, more assembly, more routines for Cranford, but basically the engine is Bard's Tale I. He just changed the scenario code. He recycled all the code I wrote, used all my tools.

    Unfortunately, when Cranford plays D&D as the dungeon master, he plays it so that if everyone in the party dies, the DM wins. This is totally against how D&D works -- the DM is not supposed to be a participant, he's supposed to make it fun for everybody. That showed up in the way Destiny Knight played. Destiny Knight was a very difficult game. In a way it was because Cranford actually said if people get killed, he wins. I was like...Okay.

    Once Destiny Knight was done, the contract between Cranford and Interplay ended, and that's when I said I wanted to do Bard's Tale III. I have ideas, let's get Michael Stackpole involved so we can have a professional writer, and I'm just going to take all of Cranford's code -- because I considered it a P.O.S. -- flush it down the toilet, and start from scratch.

    All the graphics routines I kept. But I improved upon them, and I added multi-sized dungeons, increased animation frames with better compression. I even came up with two voice audio on the Apple II, which was not really done except for music programs. This was in a game where music was an integral part of it.

    I was even able to shove in some Monty Python references, Sir Robin's Tune -- "Bravely ran way," which lets you run from combat. When you go to the temples, they say "dona eis requiem" and you're healed.

    I also introduced female characters -- for obvious reasons! I was so pissed with Cranford, I kept saying, "Where are the girls?" He said, "Girls don't play this." If he only knew...I also added new character classes, geomancers, necromancers, and so forth. All of this stuff, and I only added one more disk because I used some really sophisticated compression algorithms. At the same time I was doing this game, I was doing the graphics routines and all the tools for Wasteland. That's why Wasteland has similarities in the graphics and monsters -- it's the same code. It was my code I wrote.

    Coming back to Cranford. I received an email from him in which he wanted to "correct" me on a few things. He goes into a spiel and claims you had nothing to do with Bard's Tale I and II, that you were a hermit, out of touch with the larger process. What's the guy's deal?

    RH: Two things. Why don't you ask him to explain to you how the graphics routines work? How did he do the animation? He probably won't be able to tell you, because I'm the one who did it. That should right there tell you the truth.

    As far as me being a hermit, there's a semblance of truth to it. Due to the fact of certain aspects of my upbringing, and the fact I was running away from my transgenderism, I did intentionally lock myself in a room because I did not want to face the world because I was embarrassed about how I looked, about how I was.

    I harbored this big secret, and I didn't want anyone to know. I wanted everyone to call me Burger because I didn't want them to call me that other name.

    So, unfortunately, he is right. I mentioned earlier that my workday was get up, go into work, work until I'm too tired to work, leave. As far as out of touch, well that's his word against mine. I produced all these games, I wrote all these games, I made a lot of money for Interplay, my track record speaks for itself.

    I'm the one who wrote all the ports, I did the IIgs versions, the C-64, the fast-load drivers. There was so much stuff in there -- right now I'm taking my old Bard's Tale code and porting it to iPhone. And that's because I wrote the frickin' thing. So...

    I've tried to contact him about this, but he didn't respond.

    RH: Well, the trouble is that after Bard's Tale II, Michael did Centauri Alliance. He took the code drop he had of Bard's Tale II and used that as a base for a sci-fi game. I understand it wasn't a commercial success. It wasn't going to make him millions.

    Then he went to college for, of all things, a philosophy degree, and then he went into theology. In fact, if you look in Bard's Tale II, many of the cities in the game are lifted directly out of the bible. He got religion into him. I haven't spoken to Cranford since my transition, so I don't even know what he thinks about it. But I'm certain that since that letter came after my transition, he may also think ill of me because of my transition, which would go against his religious beliefs.

    I saw where someone had asked you if you could design any game, what would it be, and you said Wasteland II. I know a lot of gamers who would love to see that. Is there any possibility at all that you might do it?

    RH: Ask Brian.

    He's the one with the keys to the franchise?

    RH: Talk to Brian Fargo. Leave it at that.

    Speaking of him, what did you think of his Bard's Tale game?

    RH: [Sticks finger down throat, makes gagging noises.] When he first described it to me -- he wanted to do a parody role-playing game. In my opinion, the Bard's Tale that Brian released was The Princess Bride. It even had Cary Elwes as the bard; the humor and everything was The Princess Bride and was not Bard's Tale.

    Bard's Tale is a game, a gritty role-playing game, with a party fighting monsters in a fantasy role-playing setting. It wasn't The Princess Bride or Shrek. Now, the game that was shipped was one Brian wanted to make, so that's fine. But to me that Bard's Tale game, I would disavow any connection.

    If I were allowed to do Bard's Tale IV, I would do what I did in Dragon Wars but with the next technology. It would have 2011 technology. I would make something that would be pretty damn awesome. I just need someone to give me ten million dollars to do it. Unfortunately, my pockets -- let me look in my purse. There's fifty bucks in there.
     
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  5. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Michael Cranford is a total shitlord btw: https://forums.inxile-entertainment.com/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=11804&start=20#p156735

     
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  6. Sacred82gender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    Look at the sympathy I have for InXile getting screwed by other people.


    Just look at it.
     
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  8. Make America Great Again Zorba the Huttgender: ⚧ Arcane Weasel

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    I remember during the BT4 KS Burger was endlessly harassing Fargo on Twitter about involving 'the original team'... was a bit surprised that they suddenly started working together but it felt like Fargo threw him a bone to make him shut up. And not surprised that it was a "payment on completion" deal and that it subsequently fell apart.
     
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  9. Aenragender: ⚧ Guest

    Aenra
    Yeah.. whatever i may have on Fargo, stupid or unprofessional he is not. He says it was payment on competion, well that's one thing i do take his word on :P
    He/she/it either fucked up somewhere along the line, or naively convinced itself things would change regarding payment. Dumb.
     
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  10. Feyd Rautha or Mr.Harkonnen? Whicheverisavailablegender: ⚧ Savant Patron

    Feyd Rautha or Mr.Harkonnen? Whicheverisavailable
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  11. Excidium IIgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected

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    The ride never ends with InXile.
     
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  12. duanth123gender: ⚧ Arcane

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    The real question, then, is did InXile really GAF about the remaster if they were willing to leave it in the hands of this woman?

    And whether or not it was due to her incompetence alone that the project faltered, this incident lstill reflects yet another missed opportunity for InXile to develop goodwill in its target audience.

    In fact, most of the shit InXile does makes no sense if you take its purported goals seriously.
     
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  13. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Well, she was being passive aggressive about their game on Twitter before they contracted her. :M Might have thought it was good PR to bring in any original developer of the trilogy that they could.
     
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  14. duanth123gender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Then they should have given her some important sounding title and permitted her to sit in on a few meetings while an group of people with actual experience in remastering a game (or hell, even recent game development) did the work.

    The concept of "ghostwriting" or attaching a name to a project in appearance only is not foreign even to game development
     
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  15. Klariongender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Olde Skuul and it's CEO Burger Becky are notorious for their unprofessionalism so this is no surprise. BTW, I think she's also a bit crazy. Can't wait for Dragon Wars remake! Or whatever it's called...
     
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  16. IHaveHugeNickgender: ⚧ Arcane

    IHaveHugeNick
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    Yeah, maybe I'd believe Becky if she didn't previously abandon Battle Chess remaster in unplayable state, after taking money from Early Access.

    As it is, this entirely on Becky. Just because you cut your own dick doesn't mean you don't have to fulfill your contracts.

    There was a lot of pressure from BT4 backers on InXile forums to have some of the original team members on board in some manner. I remember it clear as day, because I mocked these bckers relentlessly. I mean, what the fuck is the point of bringing in people who haven't been in game industry for 30 years...Cranford is a Bible professor and Burger is a tranny scamming people on Steam. Not exactly great game dev credentials.

    So yeah, I honestly wouldn't blame InXile for that one.
     
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  17. Excidium IIgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected

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    lol don't defend inxile on these boards.
     
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  18. l3loodAngelgender: ⚧ Proud INTJ Patron

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    Wise words coming from a wise man.
     
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  19. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Self-Ejected

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    Yah, that was p. cringeworthy.
     
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  20. Make America Great Again The Brazilian Slaughtergender: ⚧ Arcane

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    What the fuck, Burger Bill turned into a tranny freak?

    Someone take that... thing out of its misery.
     
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  21. Excidium IIgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected

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    It's funny how ppl who become trannies (not a mental illness!!) are consistently crazy.
     
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  22. duanth123gender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Yeah, but the upside is that within 5 - 10 years, they'll be a cult classic
     
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  23. Murkgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    And "she" will be a suicide case. Probably.

    Man, Inxile fucking suuuuuuuuuuuucks.
     
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  24. Wayward Songender: ⚧ Fails to keep valuable team members alive

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    Who couldn't have seen this coming?
     
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    At least I didn't lose my money on this one.

    As it happened with the remaster, probably the sequel won't see the light of day either.
     
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