Torment: Tides of Numenera aims to be a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, but it seems producing vastly complex, non-linear RPGs is a difficult task. Following the success of Wasteland 2, inXile’s other Kickstarted game, Tides of Numenera has swapped its previous ‘early 2015’ release date for a revised ‘late 2015’. In a lengthy post at the Torment blog, the team have offered update on the game’s current development.
The short version is that Wasteland 2’s success in Early Access meant the team had more time to continue working on it. That meant that the Torment team similarly had more time in pre-production, to tinker with ideas and test their designs, but also consequently have yet to begin full production on the game. With Wasteland 2 launching for realsies this August, more of the team are beginning to move over to working on Torment.
The slightly longer version:
For the last while, we’ve been in what I’ve called a “limited production” mode. During this phase, the emphasis has been on proving out our design and pipelines (i.e,. how exactly we get anything from being an idea to being fully implemented in the game). This is typical for preproduction, but the distinction I’d make is that we’ve been creating actual game content, which is unusual in the industry. During this time, we’ve had relatively few people creating content and have been allowed time to experiment and iterate, prioritizing getting things figured out over getting things done. This leads to greater productivity, fewer mistakes, and ultimately a better game. This goal is generally somewhat at odds with completing feature X by date Y, which is typically what you do during production to ensure that the game can be completed to the quality desired given the time and/or resources you have available.
The full version is thousands of words long and written by multiple members of the development team, but it’s worth a read for a glimpse of how these games get made.
Torment: Tides of Numenera was part of the first wave of Kickstarters in early 2013, gathering $4.1 million against a goal of $900,000. That amount was gathered mostly on the strength of Planescape: Torment’s good name, and RPS has sung its praises many time. Here’s Kieron’s retrospective from back in the pre-history.
The new Torment trades Planescape and D&D for Monte Cook’s Numenera, which is set on Earth one billion years in the future. Multiple civilizations and species have risen and fallen during that period, creating a science-fiction-fantasy world with a deep history, where the lines between technology and magic begin to blur. I’m two sessions into a pen-and-paper campaign with it and exploring it just a little has made me ten times more excited for whatever inXile are making. Late 2015 is a long time away – and I’d imagine there’s a chance it could slip again – but it’s going to be fun to watch it develop.