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Interview Torment Interviews at GameWatcher and Grimuar Sferowca

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: Brother None; Colin McComb; George Ziets; InXile Entertainment; Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer; Pillars of Eternity; Torment: Tides of Numenera

In an impromptu little publicity blitz, two Torment: Tides of Numenera interviews appeared on the Internet today. The first interview, over at GameWatcher, is a transcript of a chat with Colin McComb and Thomas Beekers which took place at the EGX Rezzed convention earlier this month. The second interview, at Polish Torment fansite Grimuar Sferowca, is a more in-depth piece featuring inXile's fourth musketeer, George Ziets, who also has a bit to say about Pillars of Eternity, Mask of the Betrayer and various other games. It's the more interesting interview by far, so that's what I'll be quoting:

Grimuar: Hello George! Thank you for finding the time to answer our questions. Using the opportunity, we’d like to congratulate you on the successful funding of your own dark corner of the Bloom! You’ve been involved in several projects lately ‒ what has been taking most of your time in the recent months? Could you tell us more about the development of the Gullet?

George Ziets: Thanks! Since May of 2014, I’ve been a full-time employee at InXile, focused almost entirely upon Torment. As Lead Area Designer, I’m designing two of our zones (the Bloom and Sagus Cliffs), overseeing the work of our other area designers, writing some dialogue, and working with the artists to develop character concepts, models, and level art. I’ve also contributed to story discussions and revisions, but the main narrative is mostly the province of our creative lead, Colin McComb.

The Gullet was a part of my initial design for the Bloom, located deep in the creature’s guts. I intended it as Torment’s version of dungeon content, focused primarily on exploration and combat. In the original Planescape: Torment, I enjoyed the catacombs sequence that followed the Buried Village (including the Drowned Nations, the various crypts, and the Nameless One’s Tomb) because it contrasted with the heavily dialogue-driven gameplay that preceded and followed it and broke up the pacing of the game. I thought that the Gullet could serve a similar purpose in the Bloom, albeit on a smaller scale. It could also provide some fun reactivity to the player’s choices earlier in the zone – for example, if your actions caused the Bloom to feed upon certain people, you might encounter them again in the depths (or an echo of them, anyway).

But when we initially prioritized our scenes for the Bloom, we realized that the main narrative of the Bloom could function without the Gullet. Since our resources are limited on Torment, the Gullet became C priority, and it appeared likely that it would be cut. Thankfully, our Kickstarter backers stepped in and changed all that.

So now the Gullet is alive and well (and satisfying disturbing, I might add). Area designer Joby Bednar and I updated my original design and expanded some elements, and Joby is currently developing the level in Unity.

You have been a Pillars of Eternity stretch goal ‒ however, we feel you haven’t had too many chances to introduce your work on the project. We remember you writing interesting stuff about Woedica, one of Eora’s deities. Could you elaborate a bit on your work on PoE?


I was involved in the early narrative and world-building work on PoE, when the team only consisted of Josh and a few other people. It was a fun phase of the project – I love world-building, and Eora (which didn’t even have a name at the time) was almost a blank slate, except for the player races, the map, the focus on souls, and a few lore elements that Josh wrote during the Kickstarter campaign.

First I came up with a bunch of deities, which made good sense to me as an initial step. (It seems like a society would use gods to represent things that are important to them, so defining the deities was a good way to get to know the people of the Dyrwood and their neighbors.) Then I wrote a lot of lore about cities, dungeons, prominent people, organizations, and important places in the region, including a detailed breakdown of Defiance Bay. I think the team has expanded the city a lot since I worked on it, but some of my neighborhoods are still present (e.g., Brackenbury, Ondra’s Gift), and it sounds like they’ve retained some of the other lore too.

In appx. March of 2013, when more people started to roll onto the project, a number of us (Josh, Chris Avellone, Eric Fenstermaker, Jorge Salgado, me) wrote up ideas for a main storyline. Then Eric and I spent a couple weeks on Skype (he was in California, I was in Ohio) synthesizing many of those ideas into an initial draft. During that time, I also assisted with some writing on their vertical slice (Dyrford), though I don’t know if any of my dialogue is still in the game.

Around May of 2013, I shifted my focus over to Torment during a lull in my PoE work, but my role on Torment quickly expanded, and InXile ultimately offered me a full-time position. That turned out to be a good fit – the only downside is that I never had a chance to do any additional work on PoE.
Read the whole thing to learn about Mask of the Betrayer's cut content, George's thoughts on "games as art", his inspirations, his favorite gaming moments, and more. Good stuff.
 

Raapys

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George Ziets said:
I’d be interested in developing a nearer-future setting with technologies that can be realistically predicted by present-day science. I’d also want to get away from Earth – too many science fiction settings today are post-apocalyptic futures. I’d rather visit our solar system in about 300 to 500 years when humanity has expanded beyond the home planet, established dozens of semi-autonomous colonies, and begun to modify ourselves and other life forms to survive on Mars, in the clouds above Venus, and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. I think that particular future would be a wild and chaotic place with unregulated technology of all kinds and hundreds of competing interests…
Someone give this man his own team and a lot of cash.
 

Darkzone

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George Ziets said:
I’d be interested in developing a nearer-future setting with technologies that can be realistically predicted by present-day science. I’d also want to get away from Earth – too many science fiction settings today are post-apocalyptic futures. I’d rather visit our solar system in about 300 to 500 years when humanity has expanded beyond the home planet, established dozens of semi-autonomous colonies, and begun to modify ourselves and other life forms to survive on Mars, in the clouds above Venus, and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. I think that particular future would be a wild and chaotic place with unregulated technology of all kinds and hundreds of competing interests…
Someone give this man his own team and a lot of cash.
Wait was that not the Gold Box game Buck Rogers?
 

ksaun

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George Ziets said:
I’d be interested in developing a nearer-future setting with technologies that can be realistically predicted by present-day science. I’d also want to get away from Earth – too many science fiction settings today are post-apocalyptic futures. I’d rather visit our solar system in about 300 to 500 years when humanity has expanded beyond the home planet, established dozens of semi-autonomous colonies, and begun to modify ourselves and other life forms to survive on Mars, in the clouds above Venus, and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. I think that particular future would be a wild and chaotic place with unregulated technology of all kinds and hundreds of competing interests…
Someone give this man his own team and a lot of cash.

It's conceivable that the number of brofists this sentiment receives could increase the chance this occurs someday. (Just saying. =) )
 

hiver

Guest
Since thats pretty much the same or very similar idea to my own "project", i tried to get George to work for me through PMs. Tried to bribe him with largely unused bubblegums as payment.


...


hasnt responded so far...



-
if anyone checks you will see that i deleted all my posts about it in the thread in the workshop.
its just that mods didnt see fit to delete the whole thread too as i requested.
 
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Crescent Hawk

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Jul 10, 2014
Messages
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Near future solar system Hard sci fi rpg mixed with politics, religion and overall weirdness. Kinda like leviathan wakes. A man can dream, I bet only about 8 people who posted here would play it.
 

hiver

Guest
Mine is Hard SF, Georges version is space opera sci-fi.

-
Or atleast it will be by the time it goes through the company execs.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jaesun

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George Ziets said:
I’d be interested in developing a nearer-future setting with technologies that can be realistically predicted by present-day science. I’d also want to get away from Earth – too many science fiction settings today are post-apocalyptic futures. I’d rather visit our solar system in about 300 to 500 years when humanity has expanded beyond the home planet, established dozens of semi-autonomous colonies, and begun to modify ourselves and other life forms to survive on Mars, in the clouds above Venus, and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. I think that particular future would be a wild and chaotic place with unregulated technology of all kinds and hundreds of competing interests…
Someone give this man his own team and a lot of cash.

Please MR. Fargo. PLEASE.
 

Nihiliste

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Honestly screw Bard's Tale. Bards Tale + inevitable Wasteland sequel mean we're years away from another possible narrative game like Torment or MotB.
 

Dehumanizer

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May 27, 2012
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George Ziets said:
I’d be interested in developing a nearer-future setting with technologies that can be realistically predicted by present-day science. I’d also want to get away from Earth – too many science fiction settings today are post-apocalyptic futures. I’d rather visit our solar system in about 300 to 500 years when humanity has expanded beyond the home planet, established dozens of semi-autonomous colonies, and begun to modify ourselves and other life forms to survive on Mars, in the clouds above Venus, and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. I think that particular future would be a wild and chaotic place with unregulated technology of all kinds and hundreds of competing interests…
Someone give this man his own team and a lot of cash.
Wait was that not the Gold Box game Buck Rogers?

Yup, though I guess he'd go for a more realistic version; Buck Rogers was as retro as it could be (which was part of the charm, of course).
 

hiver

Guest
btw, ksaun , G Ziets , aside from throwing crude jokes around,

I said what i did to basically let you guys know that such an idea is already in the "works". Not because i can stop you or anything, (as you cannot stop me) but just so you know.
So we avoid "not knowing" in the future.

I havent given up on this project of mine but i cant say for sure will it ever come to anything. In case it does, i dont want to hear any bad reactions.
George is a smart guy and as far as im concerned such a setting and idea is obvious, so i wont even imagine anyone "took the idea" from me.
Apart from that, the only big difference is that i aim to deal with such idea in a much closer time frame, of about 30 to 50 years from now, while Georges is 300 to 500 from now. And in a relatively smaller scope since i actually use Hard Sf/realistic facts as inspiration and measure.
(for example there wont be anyone living in "clouds of Venus" because thats completely nonsensical)
Aside from that everything else when it comes to big themes seems identical.

Yet, ideas and such realistic settings cannot be trademarked or copyrighted.
So...nothing else for it but just to grind and do something about it if i can.


I understand ive been very probably blacklisted and you guys are not suppose to reply to anything i say, but thats not necessary.
Im not taking that personally or with anything else but "eh" and "bleh" (in case its true), i understand you have jobs to hold onto and stuff.
 

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