The most fevered highs of Kickstarter mania seem to have died down – unless you’re making an Android phone in a box, anyway – but there’s one game project that I’m quite sure could incite the same mania as Doublefine’s adventure and Wasteland 2 did. Chris Avellone, he of Black Obsidian, Black Isle and, of course, the lead brain behind Planescape: Torment, has been making noises for a little while know about his interest in a crowdsourced spiritual sequel. Proving rather adeptly that he is much smarter than I am, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier got in touch with Avellone to ask just what it is he’d do if given the chance. Avellone replied with a long, careful brain-think, chewing over how similar to PST it could/would be, what he’d change, what kind of setting, and how different the methodology of creating it would need to be from a traditionally-funded game.
Really, you should read the full piece rather than any attempt to summarise I could do here, as Avellone goes pretty deep into his thinking, both about what the game would need to be and the kind of situation he’d need to be in to make it happen.
Comments like this make me want to hug him, and perhaps stroke his hair softly as I did.
“At first glance, the painterly world and the HUD would be as distinctive as something you’d see in Planescape: Torment. We’d need to nail down a new art style, but there’s elements related to Planescape that transcend that universe (dimension-bending landscapes, Escher-layouts, etc.). We wouldn’t do anything approaching traditional fantasy in the look/layout of the world. Why? Because I’m exhausted with that. And if that’s not compelling for people, then they won’t back it on Kickstarter, my question of how appealing that is would be laid to rest, and I’ll never have to wonder about it again.”
His determination to steer clear of any D&D mechanics and the Planescape setting does put paid to any hope of a direct sequel to PST, but who in their right minds would want that anyway? I admit I wouldn’t mind playing in the Planescape universe again, but Avellone convincingly argues that, as well as the issues of licensing with a Kickstarted game, using someone else’s world inherently limits what’s possible. My vote would be for unchained creation any day.