Inxile Entertainment have released a new video from Bard’s Tale 4. It shows off the turn-based combat system, which is thoroughly explained by lead designer David Rogers. The 10 minute long trailer goes through a particular battle, showing us how most of the battle mechanics work. It also covers some stuff on the side, like map movement and song usage.
The first thing we get to see, aside from the gorgeous environments, is an example of random party chatter. Rogers emphasizes that the animations for party member portraits will be changed. While the video does feature the player in free movement mode, you will be able to traverse the entire game using only grid movement – that’s because the grid is actually a web of nodes now, which allows it to follow irregular terrain more closely.
Before the battle starts, the video also shows off how you can get around certain combat encounters. A group of goblins looting the ruins is too busy to notice you, so you can give them a wide berth to avoid combat. Patrolling units can be avoided if you manage to figure out their routes. Another thing the devs decided to show is how you can use songs to various effects – the one in the video remade a broken staircase. There was a glowing glyph on the ground to let you know you can do it, but they’re still working on the system, trying to make it not as obvious. Hopefully, they’ll add a simple on/off switch for the glyphs.
As far as combat is concerned, the most important thing to note seems to be the opportunity system. Your whole party will share the same action point pool – which means you can make a single member act several times, instead of making everyone perform a single action. It might seem like a little thing, but it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.