A couple of weeks ago inXile asked Torment’s backers to make a choice about the game’s combat – turn-based or real time with pause? Late on Friday, the votes came in and the developers reckon that even though “statistically it was a tie”, the combat will be thoroughly and entirely turn-based. Hurrah! I hadn’t even considered the question until it was asked, assuming that Numenera would be following in the action-sapping footsteps of Wasteland 2 and I’m glad that around half of the people who backed the game and bothered to vote agree that turn-based is the most sensible approach. A large update to the Kickstarter page explains the reasoning and I’ve copied some pertinent quotes below.
First of all, an explanation for that statistical tie (which isn’t some kind of bell-curved neckwear):
The leading system changed a couple times early on and the final tally is: 7,267 TB, 7,052 RTwP and 782 Indifferent. With the vote at 48% to 47%, and with those who voted “indifferent” being more than triple the difference between the TB and RTwP camps, it is essentially a draw.
And it’s the best kind of draw. The one that my side wins. Project Lead Kevin Saunders is the man behind the keyboard for this update and he goes on to explain that the team were already leaning toward turn-based combat, seeing it as a better fit for the game, particularly the Crisis system.
Now, when people suggest that turn-based combat isn’t best combat, I usually splurge all my remaining action points to perform a precision-guided withering gaze in their general direction and then sod off to the nearest bar. I don’t have time to defend the tactical choices that become possible and the increased likelihood of players utilising a wide range of equipment and skills rather than spamming fireballs and spam golems.
Mr Saunders is a far more patient fellow than I am and the post contains an excellent five point defence of turn-based combat. There’s also word from Chris Avellone:
The Planescape: Torment experience was never defined by its combat. In Torment: Tides of Numenera, the combat is intended to complement both the narrative systems and the basic gameplay mechanics. It is a challenging decision for the team to make, and I respect and support their decision to choose turn-based.
I don’t think he cares whether the combat is turn-based or real time at all. He’s just glad it’s not going to be an FPS.