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Torment Kickstarter Update #49: Kevin Saunders leaves inXile, replaced by Chris Keenan

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Torment Kickstarter Update #49: Kevin Saunders leaves inXile, replaced by Chris Keenan

People News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 31 October 2015, 01:16:43

Tags: Chris Keenan; inXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

More unexpected news from inXile this weekend, this time of a more disturbing nature. A Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter update informs us that Project Director Kevin Saunders has left the company, leaving the game in the hands of Wasteland 2's Chris Keenan. The wording of Kevin's goodbye note suggests this departure may not have been entirely planned:

Kevin here. A couple of weeks ago we released Alpha Systems Test C0, the first public view of our Crisis system. This Crisis is intended to be the second in the game. (The game's first Crisis will make its debut in the beta test.) Some of the other Crises involve more exotic situations, but the one in C0 is a great example of how a "normal" combat encounter manifests using the Crisis system. Jeremy Kopman, Evan Hill, and the entire team have crafted an excellent scenario with an array of narrative reactivity that reaches far beyond this one encounter.

The feedback on C0 has been outstanding, and it's been gratifying to see that players grok the core Crises concept and what we're trying to accomplish, which Jeremy described last update. More importantly, we learned a great deal about various improvements to make. As we mentioned in the C0 Release Notes, the UI in particular and communicating the gameplay systems to players are still being iterated on and the Alpha Systems testers have given us much useful feedback that we are taking into account. The team will be continuing to improve the Crisis gameplay experience, as even more of you will see in the beta test release before the end of this year.

Progress on the game is fantastic. We have written and implemented over a half million words. The majority of environment art is completed and being polished. We have assembled an exceptional team, combining skilled veterans from Wasteland 2, superstars from our pasts, and new talent discovered over the course of the project. The project is in great hands, with Adam Heine, Colin McComb, and George Ziets continuing to provide design leadership and direction.

As with any product launch, there will be the inevitable challenges to overcome, but like a finely tuned engine, things are humming along. I'm proud to have played a part in creating and tuning that engine, which is where my unique experience and skills were most beneficial to TTON. With the major creative and production decisions now resolved, and the team charging full speed toward completing the game, inXile and I have decided it is time for me to depart from the studio. I am proud of the project that I'm leaving in capable hands, and while I do not know what I'll do next, I look forward to new challenges and opportunities.

It has been a privilege and an honor to help craft this game for - and with - all of you. I thank you for having given me the opportunity to lead this truly extraordinary title. It was effectively your generous pledges that gave me the job that I have held since I led TTON's Kickstarter campaign. I also thank Brian Fargo and Matt Findley for being leaders of the RPG renaissance we now enjoy, for making TTON possible, and for trusting and empowering me to lead the project through this point.

And, of course, I thank the team for all of their hard work, dedication, and brilliance. You may have noticed that I sometimes favor unusual word choices, which is something the team has occasionally teased me about. Sometimes I find existing vocabulary to be inadequate, and so find or repurpose words. For example, as Adam described a couple updates ago, we replaced the awkward "status effect" with "fettle." Well, another term I found awkward is "team member," so internally I replaced it with "hero." And indeed, the TTON team is compromised of heroes. They will always have my support and I will never forget their contributions.

I am confident that you will be very pleased with this remarkable game, one that you made possible through your faith and trust. Thank you so much.
In the second part of the update, Chris Keenan introduces himself and reiterates the commitment to release the Torment beta this year. He also finally officially announces that the game's release has been postponed to 2016, something which should come as no surprise to anybody who's been paying attention. So, what happened here? Why did Kevin leave? Isn't Chris supposed to be project lead on The Bard's Tale IV? Does this have anything to do with the new studio in New Orleans? Speculate away, but much like another recent high-profile departure, I doubt we'll be learning the truth anytime soon.

UPDATE: It turns out that Kevin launched a blog entitled "Reactivity" earlier this month. The blog's first post appears to imply that he's been off the Torment project since the end of September.

There are 310 comments on Torment Kickstarter Update #49: Kevin Saunders leaves inXile, replaced by Chris Keenan

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