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Torment: Tides of Numenera Postmortem Interview with Colin McComb and Adam Heine at Eurogamer

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Torment: Tides of Numenera Postmortem Interview with Colin McComb and Adam Heine at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 17 March 2017, 21:08:29

Tags: Adam Heine; Chris Avellone; Colin McComb; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; George Ziets; inXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

After Torment: Tides of Numenera was released, I said that I hoped to discover what had happened during the game's long development that had led to so much content being cut. What were inXile's original plans, when were they altered and why? An extensive postmortem interview with the developers would be required. Happily, Eurogamer's Robert Purchese has saved us much of the effort of putting one together by conducting a Torment interview of his own with Colin McComb and Adam Heine. It's an appropriate gesture, as it was Robert's Planescape: Torment postmortem interview back in August 2012 that led to the formation of the Tides of Numenera project.

The interview is a massive hour and forty five minute podcast, with the most pertinent bits helpfully summarized in the accompanying text. The original storyline, the cut content, it's all there. Needless to say, it's an extremely spoilery piece, and I'm not going to listen to the audio until I've finished the game myself. But I'll quote some of the less spoilery bits here:

The stretch goal content that didn't materialise includes three companions, a crafting system, and an area called The Oasis. InXile has publicly apologised about this before.

The tricky thing in talking about the missing companions is that at least one of them, Oom, the Toy, will reappear. InXile announced this recently. So McComb and Heine don't want to say too much.

Oom is a blob of a creature from a prior world, maybe a byproduct of an ancient experiment. He could change shape as he levelled up, but into what would depend on you. If you kept telling him to be quiet, for example, he might become invisible, wrote Adam Heine wrote in an Oom blog post.

Heine tells me now: "We have a lot of design for him and we have some words written for him. The issue is that he's... different than all the other companions. There's a lot of custom stuff that has to be made for this guy."

"He's got five different shapes," adds McComb. [He has clarified since that Oom will have not five shapes but "multiple".]

The other companions who really nearly made it in are Riastrad and Satsada, the star-crossed lovers. "Riastrad is mentioned a couple of times in the game," says Heine. "When you find the Magmatic Amulet and you're reading the Changing God's journal of what happened to him in that lab ... that is Riastrad's birth you're witnessing."

"His backstory," continues McComb, "is the Changing God fell into a dark place in the Ascension, with all the crystal and stuff around there. Crystalline spiders started coming out of the woodwork and the Changing God was like, 'Screw this! I'm out of here.' And Riastrad awoke."

Excitingly, Riastrad was to have his own reusable merecaster - a device the Last Castoff uses to time travel via memories, and even alter reality - and it was intrinsically linked to his character development. "You could change his history throughout the game and basically use that to change his abilities," says McComb.

Talking of meres, they were originally going to be fully realised scenes rather than picture book interactions, and the team used to refer to them as Quantum Leaps!

Beside Riastrad, Satsada and Oom there were companions who weren't as developed. In the original conception, The Specter was one, would you believe. There was a crippled beggar, too, who had a floating cart and collected numenera, the mysterious magical items of the world. The beggar went quite far through development, as first a companion then a major NPC, then a minor NPC, then "he sort of slid on out of the game", says McComb. "The problem with him was we looked at the party composition and we were like, 'Crap, we're overloaded on nanos.'"

In other Torment-related news, Colin, George Ziets, Chris Avellone and the rest of the game's writing team spoke at a panel at GDC last month, which has now become available for viewing at the GDC Vault. Judging by Gamasutra's writeup, it was more of a general writing panel that didn't address Torment's development specifically (in fact, the author of the writeup seems to have been unaware that they'd worked on it), but there might be additional clues about the game's development in there.

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