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Interview "How to make a Torment game" - Mega-Interview with Kevin Saunders and Adam Heine at Iron Tower

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Midair Learned

    Midair
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    The biggest challenge for this game is probably having to follow the act of Planescape. Of course it is not exactly a sequel so much as a game with a similar strange fantasy setting and the name recognition of the word torment. From the interview, the gameplay sounds more like Arcanum.
     
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  2. Harg Harfardarssen Cipher Patron

    Harg Harfardarssen
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    Location:
    Dreams, where I'm a viking.
    Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Don't hate the player, hate the game. (The marketing game that is, not PS:T. Don't hate PS:T)

    Although, the portraits and models for some of the female characters, like the upperclass Sigil dweller NPC, were also a bit...unrestrained.
     
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  3. Karellen Prestigious Gentleman Prophet

    Karellen
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    I find it pretty intriguing how very different the T:ToN vision document is from the PS:T vision statement, actually. Of course, one is an internal document while the other one is intended for a general audience (you could call it a marketing document if you wanted to be mean about it), but nonetheless it will be interesting to see whether the differences between the documents will materialise in tangible differences between the games.

    When you look at the PS:T document and compare it to the final product, it highlights a lot of things that people rarely mention while discussing why the game is so great (profound thematic content, lots of text, etc.) but which I think are actually pretty important for creating the particular mood of the game. For instance, as far as the "hot babes" thing goes, I'd say it's really one of the defining characteristics of the Nameless One - and one of the more important themes of the story, actually - that despite (or perhaps because of) his being a scarred, dried up hunk of meat that smells of formaldehyde, women are drawn to him. The game makes this point, too, since lot of characters comment on the Nameless One's appearance, which is one of the things that really sets the writing apart from games with no fixed protagonist.

    Much of the PS:T writing isn't exactly subtle or high-brow, either - I'm really reminded here of MCA's comment in the Iron Tower roundtable about how the important thing about writing companions is to have an immediate, direct hook that makes them memorable and distinctive, and that they have strong personalities and opinions to allow them to act a sounding board the PC. I think a lot of people overlook that Torment is, in many ways, a flamboyant and occasionally very funny game. Of course, those qualities intertwine with the serious elements of the narrative, which gives the game a very distinctive tragicomic vibe, but the weirdness of it all is really one of those things that makes the game memorable, and I think a lot of that comes across in the vision document's "SO AWESOME!" attitude and fixation with ego-stroking. You could say that the PS:T starts with what is in many ways a wish-fulfillment premise and then dresses it down by examining all the problems that it brings. It's the latter part that people remember the most, but to get there you really need the former too.

    The T:ToN vision document, on the other hand, stresses things like "deep, personal themes", "epic narrative", "mystery" and how companions will be "nontraditional, complex and believable". It does also say that the game will be "irreverent and entertaining", but looking at the document as a whole, it's a lot more low-key and serious, isn't it? Of course, InXile couldn't possibly say the sort of things that the PS:T vision statement has in it even if they wanted to or they'd invite the wrath of an army of angry Kotaku feminists, so it might just be that too, and I don't think that it's even particularly important for T:ToN to match PS:T exactly in terms of style. I do look forward to finding out, though, whether the emphasis on emulating the, hm, serious and even "high-brow" elements of PS:T that you see in the T:ToN vision document will result in a different type of aesthetic and ambience in the end.
     
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  4. hiver Guest

    hiver
    You are correct. It is so since T:ToN subscribes more directly to those specific themes just because it is a continuation and an extension of PST. Its not rocket science, really.
     
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  5. AN4RCHID Arcane

    AN4RCHID
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    Great points. What strikes me about the comparison is that both vision docs seem to really embody the creative leads. You have Chris Avellone who is a total bro and a little goofy, then on the other hand you have Colin McComb who, if the pitch video is anything to go by, is a hyper-serious, no bullshit kind of guy. Avellone put so much personality into P:T, I just hope T:ToN does the same even if that means being totally different stylistically.

    I think it will be interesting to see a game that's being largely created by game industry outsiders. A lot of the designers are non-game related authors, Adam Heine has been raising orphans for the last decade, Kevin Saunders was working on industrial sims or whatever. Should make for a suitably unusual game.
     
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  6. OldSkoolKamikaze Arcane Patron

    OldSkoolKamikaze
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Are they implying that Asians aren't human?
     
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  7. Septaryeth Savant

    Septaryeth
    Joined:
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    No. Asians are still humans, but Asian babes transcend beyond human babes, humans and other Asians.
    They can have the face of a twelve-year-old AND breasts comparable to that of a pregnant woman.
    Even little girls can acutally be a some thousand-year-old witches in disguise. Or maybe they are actually men that were transformed into women.
    And...
    :hmmm:
    You know what? Go watch some anime.
     
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  8. AstroZombie Arcane

    AstroZombie
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    bananolândia
    Divinity: Original Sin
    Fixed :P
     
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  9. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Haha, that's pretty funny. He really isn't. The pitch video is just a tone he needed to hit for what we were trying to accomplish. MCA and Colin are both funny, light-hearted guys, tho it's probably true MCA is a bit more dudebro and goofy (I still haven't met Colin so my impression here is just from years of talking to him over email)

    Heh, it is fun: sometimes, when talking design elements with Adam you can kind of tell he missed a decade+ of decline and he's all like "of course that's how we'll do things, that's how it's done", blissfully unaware that the game industry has been gutting a lot of this stuff. Its kind of a joy.

    Also what you say is true for the writing team more so than the design team, especially once the WL2 guys roll in. When it comes to the writing team I think one tricky thing is for outsiders to realize how different the levels of involvement are. Colin is the core guy, obviously. Tony Evans and Adam Heine are both very involved from early on. Nathan Long wrote the most for Wasteland 2 (and I hope he gets due credit for that) and will no doubt write a ton for Torment. A lot of the others are really more limited in availability and scope and roll in later (like me, possibly). So "writer" is not necessarily always the same thing.
     
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  10. AstroZombie Arcane

    AstroZombie
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    Good. Try to keep him untainted, if possible.
     
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  11. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    So all I had to do was run an orphanage in Thailand, and I could have missed it all too.

    Nathan Long gave the most (well really, only) interesting interview at the Torment party. I wouldn't mind a developer diary or something like that from him, wink wink nudge nudge.
     
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  12. AN4RCHID Arcane

    AN4RCHID
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    I see. I was under the impression that writer and designer were basically synonymous on this project. So folks like Pat Rothfuss and George Zeits are not doing area and quest design? Or will they come up with rough concepts, and then a level designer implements them in the editor?
     
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  13. hiver Guest

    hiver
    I would say that George will have a bit more work then Rothfuss. yknow?
     
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  14. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Writer and designer aren't the same thing, no, but a lot of people do both, like Adam and probably George. Inexperienced people like Pat will probably do more writing and conceptualizing than level or systems design, yeah. Whatever makes the most sense, good production is always about maximizing the skills people do have, rather than stumbling over the skills they don't.
     
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  15. CMcC Larian Studios Developer

    CMcC
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    Deeeeeeeetroit.

    Don't listen to Brother None. I am 100% serious and take no shit from anyone.

    My kids hate me.
     
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  16. ksaun Arcane Developer

    ksaun
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    It's true. I hadn't before seen a child's eyes gleam with such intense loathing.
    (What is an industrial sim? =) I have worked on a couple "whatevers" though.)
     
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  17. AN4RCHID Arcane

    AN4RCHID
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    Haha, okay I will take you guys word on this stuff. Kevin, I thought you said in an interview you worked on "serious games" before Torment? I assumed training sims of some kind.
     
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  18. ksaun Arcane Developer

    ksaun
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    Beyond Beyond the Beyond

    (Yes, that's right -- for about three years before I came to inXile, I worked on serious games for a company called Alelo. They specialize in instructional social simulation -- basically conversations using speech recognition to aid people in learning foreign language and culture. For example, games/software to teach troops deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq how to interact with the local population. Some of my projects there were quite game/RPG-like, others less so.)
     
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  19. AN4RCHID Arcane

    AN4RCHID
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    :salute:

    Just so you know, I now expect some intense conversation sim mechanics in Torment.
     
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