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Interview Matt Chat 438: Colin McComb on Torment: Tides of Numenera

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Tags: Black Isle Studios; Colin McComb; Fallout 2; inXile Entertainment; Matt Barton; Planescape: Torment; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Wasteland 2

After taking a week off, Matt Barton is back with the third and final episode of his interview with Colin McComb. The episode begins with some more discussion of Colin's days at TSR, where Forgotten Realms ruled the roost but he and his colleagues still got to create a bunch of weird settings that didn't sell much, which he attributes to the executives being clueless. Afterwards the interview finally gets to his work on Planescape: Torment and Fallout 2 at Black Isle. Colin ultimately doesn't say very much about those games, but he does reveal that he has an idea for a new Planescape RPG set in the Upper Planes which he'd like to create someday.

The primary topic of the episode is really Torment: Tides of Numenera, which Colin has much more to say about than George Ziets did in his interview. Like George, he thinks the root of the game's flaws is that it was overscoped, with too many stretch goals and lots of content that got cut and replaced with boring walls of text. He has a list of specific things he'd do differently if he could: Get an editor, replace the companion Matkina with Riastrad, add more non-human companions, improve the ending, and make the Meres real gameplay sequences instead of just text adventures. Colin also has a bit to say about Wasteland 2, which he had fun with even though it seems to have ended up differently than he thought when he wrote his area. He says Wasteland 2's lengthy development (including the Director's Cut) meant that full production on Torment didn't begin until 2015 which hurt the project, although he believes the game's scope would have needed significant cuts regardless.



So that's the end of another Matt Chat interview. Annie VanderMeer is coming up next, but it might take a while for Matt to start uploading that because a new semester has started at his university.
 

Xunwael

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I don't understand how T:ToN "overscoped". It's so shallow and bare-bones it's hardly even a game. Even in his increasingly constipated state, Jeff Vogel manages to shit out better games than this turd all on his own. Was genuinely offended by how terribly T:ToN turned out when I played it. Every person involved in its making should be publicly flogged.
 

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
I don't understand how T:ToN "overscoped". It's so shallow and bare-bones it's hardly even a game. Even in his increasingly constipated state, Jeff Vogel manages to shit out better games than this turd all on his own. Was genuinely offended by how terribly T:ToN turned out when I played it. Every person involved in its making should be publicly flogged.

The point is that it was overscoped and then they had to brutally cut it.
 

luj1

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I don't understand how T:ToN "overscoped". It's so shallow and bare-bones it's hardly even a game.

He's just making excuses. Like replacing a companion and improving the ending would have saved the game? Lool. Colin McCuck the excuse machine.

What is really sad is this trend of developers not understanding why their games failed. Sawyer is a legendary example.
 

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Matkina is a cool character, I do not see how replacing her with Riastrad would improve the game.

full production on Torment didn't begin until 2015 which hurt the project
So financing Wasteland 2's extended development with TToN's Kickstarter money is pretty much the case, since in the interview Colin mentions that they did not get programmers etc. until late 2015.
 

hexer

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He says Wasteland 2's lengthy development (including the Director's Cut) meant that full production on Torment didn't begin until 2015 which hurt the project,

Fargo Schmargo. He's always touting how much he loves making games but makes decisions based on where his pockets would fill the best.
Game was scheduled to be RELEASED in Dec 2014 but it didn't START development until 2015. :lol:
Blood is thicker than water!
 

Eli_Havelock

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So financing Wasteland 2's extended development with TToN's Kickstarter money is pretty much the case, since in the interview Colin mentions that they did not get programmers etc. until late 2015.

It is pretty much all but confirmed by Fargone at this point.

Fargo Schmargo. He's always touting how much he loves making games but makes decisions based on where his pockets would fill the best.
Game was scheduled to be RELEASED in Dec 2014 but it didn't START development until 2015. :lol:
Blood is thicker than water!

Heh, he does love doing that, sometimes at the cost of his own company and the jobs of his employees.

Star Trek: Secret of Vulcan Fury, for example. It was supposed to hit big, but the only thing that money pit hit big was the finances of Interplay. He was banking hard on that despite the absolute dev hell it was in.
 

MRY

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I should probably give this a watch.
Turns out Infinitron's summary of what he said re: TTON is longer than what he said about TTON, so there was really no need for me to watch. :)

I like that Colin's answer to "what would you do differently" is more or less about how he would make the game more of Colin's own vision of the game, rather than taking at as invitation to second-guess the vision. I mean, one way to answer the question would be to try to think how the game could've been fundamentally changed into something that would've been more successful, but even in fantasy, Colin sticks to the game as it is. I know others think that shows he doesn't get it (or something), but I'm fairly sure he's well aware that the game could've been more successful by having more interesting/attractive designs and portraits for the PC and NPCs, or by tweaking themes or politics or whatever, but the question is not what the market or player base would change, rather what he would.

I mused out my own thoughts on how I would've reworked the main plot and themes in another thread, but the exercise was a bit like when friends and I would spitball how we'd change the Star Wars prequels and basically it was just making a totally different movie. At that point, you're not even really talking about doctoring/fixing an existing work, you're just making stuff up.
 

Jarpie

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Matkina is a cool character, I do not see how replacing her with Riastrad would improve the game.

full production on Torment didn't begin until 2015 which hurt the project
So financing Wasteland 2's extended development with TToN's Kickstarter money is pretty much the case, since in the interview Colin mentions that they did not get programmers etc. until late 2015.

MLMarkland said this in some thread year or two ago so it's "old news". I posted something to some thread about all signs pointing toward that they didn't start making the game (or scrapping a lot of it and then stitching the pieces together) till 2015. I played it for a while and TToN really felt like a game where everything was cut back to half of what it should've been.
 
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I know others think that shows he doesn't get it (or something), but I'm fairly sure he's well aware that the game could've been more successful by having more interesting/attractive designs and portraits for the PC and NPCs, or by tweaking themes or politics or whatever, but the question is not what the market or player base would change, rather what he would.

Maybe if the self-entitled shits responsible for this abortion had asked themselves what the backers wanted it wouldn't have been such a massive failure.
 

Grauken

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I know others think that shows he doesn't get it (or something), but I'm fairly sure he's well aware that the game could've been more successful by having more interesting/attractive designs and portraits for the PC and NPCs, or by tweaking themes or politics or whatever, but the question is not what the market or player base would change, rather what he would.

Maybe if the self-entitled shits responsible for this abortion had asked themselves what the backers wanted it wouldn't have been such a massive failure.

To be honest, I just want to murder very creative looking monsters in very creative looking scenery. Some NPCs and quest are also ok
 

aris

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developers not understanding why their games failed
Well, the opposite also happens. They don't understand why their games succeeded.
And the codex understands it least of all. You are in a moment where you are getting exactly what you claimed you wanted, but the butthurt is still abundant. In fact, nobody understands it. Anybody who understands to a perfect degree why games succeed or fail, can make perfect game after perfect game without missing a beat. Needless to say, that applies to nobody.
 

luj1

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but I'm fairly sure he's well aware that the game could've been more successful by having more interesting/attractive designs and portraits for the PC and NPCs

:hmmm:







giphy.gif
 
Last edited:

MRY

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It’s actually one of the most common complaints I’ve seen (along with complaints about wordiness and turn-based combat). It’s a pretty easy fix, if you just wanted to market better.
 

Trashos

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If I wanted to deliberately hurt a game's appeal, I would force the developers to use TTON's portraits.
 

MicoSelva

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MLMarkland said this in some thread year or two ago so it's "old news". I posted something to some thread about all signs pointing toward that they didn't start making the game (or scrapping a lot of it and then stitching the pieces together) till 2015. I played it for a while and TToN really felt like a game where everything was cut back to half of what it should've been.
Yeah, I know. It is good to have project lead's confirmation, though.

The tragic thing is, it could really have been a great game if it wasn't cannibalized during development. I still enjoyed it in its cut-down state, but so many things screamed wasted potential, that it just makes me sad.

I disagree that the game was overscoped. More like the audience expectations for a worthy PST successor could never be fulfilled with Kickstarter-tier money. And then it was cut even further, with reallocated budget and development time.
 

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