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inXile's Torment successor officially announced on RPS, will use Monte Cook's Numenera setting

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inXile's Torment successor officially announced on RPS, will use Monte Cook's Numenera setting

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 9 January 2013, 19:20:42

Tags: Brian Fargo; Colin McComb; inXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Monte Cook; Numenera; Torment: Tides of Numenera

This day has finally arrived! Brian Fargo has officially announced inXile's upcoming Planescape: Torment spiritual successor, which was first uncovered here on the Codex a month ago. In an interview at Rock Paper Shotgun, Brian reveals that his team has decided to use Monte Cook's Numenera setting, which was successfully Kickstarted back in August. Monte himself will be joining the game's writing team. The game itself, which is still unnamed, will of course also be a Kickstarter project. Some snippets from the interview:

RPS – What are the stand-out aspects of Numenera for you, in terms of suiting your dev plans? How much is about the setting and how much the roleplaying mechanics?

Fargo: A Torment game requires big ideas and a truly exotic setting in order to explore the underlying thematic elements. Colin described it best when he said “Torment’s themes are essentially metaphysical, getting to the heart of what it means to be alive and conscious, and it’s easier to ask those questions in a setting that is far removed from the familiar.” Numenera is such a setting, and it has tremendous potential to cultivate those ideas. We won’t have faeries or devils, but we’ll have diabolical creatures from far dimensions with schemes beyond human imagination. We won’t have gods, but we’ll have creatures who have lived for millennia with the powers of creation and destruction at their fingertips, with abilities honed over countless lifetimes. We won’t have other planes per se, but we’ll have pathways to hostile worlds and bizarre landscapes and ancient machines that catapult the players into places where the ordinary laws of nature no longer apply. In terms of role-playing mechanics, we won’t be attempting to literally translate the Numenera tabletop system into electronic form. However, its gameplay mechanics are very solid and include several components that will lend themselves to great (and innovative) cRPG gameplay. It’s great to have the Numenera rules as a starting point and to be working with Monte to adapt them for a cRPG.​

RPS – Given no Planescape and presumably none of the PST characters, what makes a Torment game a Torment game to your mind?

Fargo: We know it hasn’t been done often in the game industry, but we’re envisioning Torment as a thematic franchise with certain themes that can expand over different settings and stories. We will focus on the same things that made people appreciate PST so much: overturning RPG tropes; a fantastic, unconventional setting; memorable companions; deep thematic exploration of the human condition; heavy reactivity (i.e., choice and consequences); an intensely personal (rather than epic) story.​

RPS – Where are inXile up to in terms of designing this thing, given you’ve presumably incredibly busy with Wasteland? Will you be working on it concurrently with Wasteland or saving it for later?

Fargo: We’re very early in Torment’s preproduction right now. We have a basic story outline, design sketches of the major characters, and thematic concepts defined. Wasteland 2 is in full production and we don’t want to detract from that focus. But with that said, the writers on Wasteland are complete for the most part and the concept artists are not involved at this stage in the game. The guys working on Torment are no longer working on Wasteland 2 and I want to keep these talented guys busy for us. Typically we do begin design of the next game while the production team is working on the current one. This allows the team to take a nice break once they are complete on the current game and then come back to roll onto a design that is thorough and polished. The last thing we want to do is break up a winning team.​

I find this model creates a better quality flow of product and doesn’t have the team jumping onto a sequel before there has been adequate time to absorb the feedback from the game that just shipped. It is a luxury that most mid size developers are not able to have and it allows the time required to create classics. I never like sequels to be rushed and working this way ensures the team works on fresh ideas.​

RPS – While PST was a team effort Avellone’s become the poster boy for it since release – so, have you been thinking/talking about getting him involved? And if you can’t for any reason, do you have a plan on how to convince the PST faithful that is a true-blue Torment?

Fargo: Chris deserves all the credit that he receives and we are working with him on Wasteland 2 as you know. My role as executive producer is to assemble top notch teams and to make sure we stay on point for what we are creating. I’m really happy with the team we have assembled for this game. It was Chris who urged me to work with both Colin McComb and Kevin Saunders for this project and he has given us his blessing for another Torment. Colin McComb and Monte Cook were two of the primary developers of the Planescape campaign setting for TSR, and Colin was one of the main designers on the original Torment. Colin serves as creative lead for this Torment and will be driving the story vision for the game.​

Kevin Saunders, the project director, worked with Chris at Obsidian for 5 years – including leading the Mask of the Betrayer (MotB) team. People might remember that MotB was very well received and there were more than a few comparisons to PST. Kevin was also the lead designer and producer for Shattered Galaxy, which swept the 2001 Independent Games Festival and was acknowledged by GameSpot as the Most Innovative Game of the year.​

Additionally, we have one of the unsung heroes of PST on the design team: scripter Adam Heine, who really helped breathe life into the game. He was also one of the designers on Black Isle’s TORN, having moved to that position in large part because of his excellent work on PST.​

Our talented artists include Dana Knutson, the concept artist from the original Planescape campaign setting, and he’s been helping bring our ideas to life.​

And to really show we are serious about the writing aspects of this game we brought Ray Vallese in as the editor to ensure the detail and consistency of the story. Ray too was part of the Planescape team at TSR.​

There will be some other surprise talent that I’ll announce later on but I thought it important to stress the heritage of the great team we have. I feel quite confident that the players of PST will feel comfortable and appreciate the experience being created.​

RPS – Real/pause time or turn-based?

Fargo: I’ll let the producer Kevin Saunders answer that one: “The details of combat are still an open question, but our initial leaning is that real-time with pause will provide the better experience for the game. Whichever direction we ultimately take it, we’ll be giving combat considerable attention – we are aware that one of the criticisms of PST (including from Avellone) was its combat and we want to improve upon that aspect. The Numenera combat system provides a stronger starting place for a cRPG than AD&D 2nd Edition did and we’ll prototype early so that we have ample time to iterate over the course of the project. We are also working on ways to weave narrative elements into the combat system such that the gameplay and story complement each other. But I should mention that even while enhancing combat, we will stay true to PST by making it so players can almost completely avoid battles based upon their choices.”​

Exciting news! Well, unless you're upset about Numenera or RTwP, that is. It's a shame the RPS guys forgot to ask whether the game will be 2D or 3D. :smug:

We can expect the Kickstarter to launch sometime soon this year. Though according to my sources (sup Brother None), not very soon.

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