This Kaleidoscope World: Torment – Tides Of Numenera

You can’t swing a dead (giant) rat without hitting a big ol’ RPG these days. In the last couple of months, we’ve had the party-based pleasures of Pillars of Eternity and the bold, handsome excess of The Witcher 3. Divinity: Original Sin is flexing its systemic muscle for another bout and there are plenty of other attractions waiting in the wings.

Despite all that competition, Torment: Tides of Numenera [official site] could be one of the most intriguing RPGs in years. The spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment promises to outweird the rest of the pack, if nothing else, and the new video below shows the range of environments that will be on show. It’s like watching a showreel of five or six RPGs crammed together – sci-fi and horror cheek-to-cheek with swords and sorcery.

There’s a creepy metal egg-pod-vessel, a tiara, what I’m going to say are square bubbles floating around in a lab, a giant exploding external organ, teleporters, a frickin’ spaceship/orbital carrier/void-tripper, and a whole bunch of other assorted splendour.

I want to go there, even if it did remind me of I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream for a moment back there. Torment is still a long way off though, with release expected toward the end of the year.

53 Comments

  1. Cinek says:

    Wow, combat looks awful.

    Also these clunky character animations… I hoped that at least in this department they’ll go ahead of Planescape Torment, but it seems like that’s not the case either…

    • Zallgrin says:

      While I agree that the animations are pretty clunky, I still hope to be pleasantly surprised by the combat in T:TON. Pillars of Eternity combat looked rather boring to me judging from the videos, but I fell in love with it inside the game itself.

      In other news: I love those environments.

    • inf says:

      This looks to be going down the same road as Pillars, which basically copied the insanely boring combat of low level D&D in BG1. This will just copy the abysmal combat of PT.

      At least the writing should be decent and make up for it…

      Right?

      • Volcanu says:

        I agree that combat in the versions of AD&D used in BG I and 2 is not that great at lower levels (i.e. below level 4 or so).

        But come on. Pillars combat was much closer to high level D&D than it was to the low level stuff at the start of BG 1. I think you’re misremembering things

        • Cronstintein says:

          I would say PoE struck somewhere in the middle. Definitely not as complex as BG2 but slightly better than BG1. At the very least you had more hitpoints so it took more than one strike to drop you.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          Yeah, I take issue with PoE being described so close to BG1. It was far more tactical. Unlike BG, I was actually using a variety of abilities and techniques, plus the ‘locked’ state of characters fighting and knockdowns added a new tactical twist.

      • kud13 says:

        Well, not really, since the combat will be turn-based, same as in Wasteland 2.

        I haven’t had a chance to play Wasteland 2 yet (it’s still sitting on my GOG shelf), so i’ll reserve my judgement to when I actually play the new Torment.

        Although given the new Torment is supposed to follow the old, I expect combat to be nothing more than a nuisance, serving as a temporary distraction from me exploring the superbly written and strange alien Ninth World.

        • Cinek says:

          Wasteland 2 combat was a complete disaster. It was literally the worst combat in any RPG I played during last 10 years or so (and I played both: new and old RPGs). I’m really, very worried for TTN combat.

          “I expect combat to be nothing more than a nuisance” – they put awfully lot of time in that video for something that you consider to be nothing more than a nuisance.

          • Gerblyn says:

            I think “A nuisance” is about the most positive thing I could say about Wasteland 2’s combat system, so mission accomplished guys! I have to admit I also have very little faith in InXile’s ability to design the mechanics of an RPG. Not only was the combat in WL2 awful, but the character development system was pretty dire as well. No interesting abilities or bonuses, character stats that were poorly defined in their purpose and overlapped each other in their actual function, and 3 or 4 skills all of which were variants on “Unlock chest for treasure”.

            On the other hand, the narrative stuff for WL2 worked well and had some nice ideas, and the narrative for PT was always more important than the mechanics.

          • sear says:

            @Gerblyn – Sorry to hear you feel that way about the combat on Wasteland 2, but the feedback’s appreciated all the same. In our GOTY Edition update (which will be free for all PC owners) we’ve got a ton of extra depth thanks to our new perks & quirks for character building, as well as our new Precision Strike (aimed shot) system. We’ve been working at it for the last several months making sure everything gets fully rebalanced for those new features too. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the improvements!

          • Gerblyn says:

            @sear

            Yeah, I was really happy to hear that! The new stuff looked very promising, and did seem to directly address a lot of the issues I was having with the game.

            For what it’s worth, I did enjoy the game for quite a while (20+ hours) but around the nuclear cult area I lost interest, since the combat wasn’t interesting enough to keep me engaged and I wasn’t excited for my characters getting new stuff while they leveled up. If I’d known someone who’d worked on the game would read it (which I should have really) I would have expressed that in a way which didn’t make me sound quite as much like a dick… Sorry!

          • Emeraude says:

            Main issue with the combat for me is that’s it’s stretching itself too thin: there’s just too much of it for how little it does. Add a tier-ing of weapons that, at least to me, feels really weird in a game that tries so much to be about simulation, and in my opinion fails to extend the staying power of combats… and yeahs that’s sadly the weakest part of the game, right before the lack of cohesive editing control.

            All in all though, I still think the game was decent enough. Both to mention, if you’re interested in what it was trying to do, you don’t have any other recent game in competition really. It was not the masterpiece people were hoping for, but that’s the worse I can say about it.

          • eggy toast says:

            “Very concerned” is exactly correct. Wasteland 2 has made me very much apathetic towards Torment and if I had it to do over I really should have waited for their first game to come out before I backed the second one. My mistake!

        • Derman says:

          The combat will be something similar to Temple of Elemental Evil. It is turn based, but not grid-based.

          I, personally, do not care how they implement the combat. If it’s bad, it’s just more reasons for me to try avoid it completely (it is possible, but not easy). If it’s good, then it’s fine too.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          Can’t agree on Wasteland 2. I had no issue with the combat at all. I found it perfectly fun and serviceable.

      • dungeoncrawl says:

        You know this is exactly what the backers asked for right? WL2, PoE, etc. are not disappointing their core base of people that absolutely love these games. They’re delivering exactly what they promised. Seems like this just isn’t your style of game. It’s like saying Star Wars is a terrible, boring movie because you’re not into scifi.

        • inf says:

          Actually, in case of Pilars, backers funded an Infinity Engine inspired game, which it is. But you can ask any mature and experienced RPG gamer that thoroughly played the IE games, which combat system (or D&D ruleset, and specifically what levelrange in that ruleset) they found most fun to play, and not much of them will answer BG1.

          You actually think i’m alone in this criticism of Pillars? Try any place where people look more in-depth to RPG systems.

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            gritz says:

            PoE’s combat is not really anything like low level BG1. You’re smoking crack.

          • Czrly says:

            The thing about PoE is this: there is far too much combat and far too much of it is meaningless. The vast hoards of trash-mobs would have been alright if their combat system was superb. As it is, their combat system is not particularly good. It may or may not be better or worse than those of the I.E. games that inspired it but that is irrelevant – it is not good enough because the game revolves around combat and not around the OTHER things that made the I.E. games great.

        • eggy toast says:

          No. When they said “we wanted to make Wasteland 2 years ago but we couldn’t so we made Fallout instead” a lot of people said “yes I would like a game like Fallout 1 very much, thanks”

          And while they sound very simmilar, “shitty, boring, slow, ready Xcom super-light” was not what most of us were actually picturing. If Torment has 15 different “open thing” skills I’m officially offering my Kickstarter backer code for trade whenever I get it.

        • protorp says:

          If you’re cross with people who think Star Wars is terrible due to their not being into scifi, the best solution is to get more into scifi until you come out the other side of the Goldilocks zone.

    • grimdanfango says:

      Not sure why a lot of people are picking on the animations. They look at least as solid as the animation in Pillars (whose engine they’re borrowing I believe – well, secondary engine built on Unity – what’s the word for that?)
      I actually think their addition of a smoothly-blended walking state between running and stopped makes it look a lot more flowing than Pillars, and pretty much some of the best animation I’ve seen in any isometric perspective RPG. No, it’s not incredible, but it is at least the best in its class. What’s not to like?

      • Cinek says:

        You must have seen a different video than I did. Animations in PoE felt much better than these here, more natural and in contact with ground, here it looks like characters are floating and being oddly unresponsive, almost as if all of the animations are made by some interns. PoE to compare. It’s certainly far from being the best in its class.

      • Brother None says:

        I would speculate this is largely a function of people not being used to look at WIP animations. None of what you’re looking at in this video is final art, so if you compare it to a finalized games things stand out, a lack of smoothness in animation, a lack of VFX, a lack of general polish, etc. For pre-alpha animations I would say these are actually really good, and I have full faith in our animator, Josh Jertberg. I would say he did a great job on Wasteland 2 and expect nothing less on Torment.

        As for combat in general, this will not be a combat-heavy game, and we’re taking a very quality-over-quantity approach, hand-crafting each individual major encounter (called “Crisis”) for a unique experience.

        • king0zymandias says:

          I don’t think the animations are the issue. There will be hardly any complicated motions, shouldn’t be a problem. But I really think you guys need better art. In Wasteland 2 the aesthetic was understandable since the whole game was in 3d and you were restrained by things like VRAM and draw calls. But in this game you are using pre-rendered environments, right? So why hold back? It seems like currently textures are being slapped onto the whole surfaces and that’s it. It’s like, hey this is ground so let’s add a ground texture and call it a day. The props look nicely designed and like some thought is being put into them, but the environments, not so much. Use some displacement maps, subsurface scattering, get some material definition, paint on top of the baked art to remove the feel of tiling. And also, in some scenes the color palette seems a little too noisy, too many different colors with too much saturation. The overall color palette should be much more carefully designed.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          “I would speculate this is largely a function of people not being used to look at WIP animations.”

          You’re probably right, but this was a huge, huge mistake on inXile’s part if that’s the case. In a video showing off the environments of the Ninth World, they could’ve disabled the animated characters altogether. Or even used the test one they had in in the first couple of videos they did that looked far better than this.

          • PancakeWizard says:

            After a second look, I’m wondering if they artificially slowed down the frame-rate for the trailer for ‘arts’ sake, and that’s what is making the animations look so off. Previous videos they’ve done were much smoother than that.

      • dungeoncrawl says:

        Agree. And they’re not done…this isn’t even alpha. They’re just showing us some progress.

        • dungeoncrawl says:

          Oh, and we’re likely getting this progress because there is so much attention being put on Bard’s Tale IV in the media that they’re getting some grief from the Torment backers. inXile is doing a lot of explaining n their kickstarter updates about “this isn’t slowing down Torment”. I think this video is really just to say “see…Torment progress.”

      • manny says:

        They are both using the Unity engine but PoE licensed it’s dialogue tree tools, which it had developed for it’s previous games to InXile, and probably other tools. Why not just buy PoE animations as well? InXile seems technology wise not as advanced as the PoE team, why not work together. Especially on the combat system.

        Cause as it stands I regret buying Wastelands 2 and am just holding back on both InXile and PoE rpgs till they get out of the prototype stage when it comes to combat, which was one of my favorite things in BG2.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      Jury is out on the combat, as it’s the animations specifically making it look terrible there. I’m hoping this was about showcasing the environments only (but then I have no idea why they would show the combat at all in that case), and the anims are placeholders. This is using PoE’s tech via Unity, so it should look at least as good.

      As it is they were very distracting.

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    Niiice. Much better than expected, their design skills have really improved since Wasteland. Animations are a bit stiff, but not a dealbreaker for me. Plus they have plenty of time to improve them. Pillars of Eternity animations also looked awkward in the first prototypes and improved immensely the last few months before release.

    • Emeraude says:

      Honestly, if the game delivers on the narrative gameplay front, it could be ugly as sin and I still would be satisfied.

      It would probably lose a lot of marketability though, yeah.

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    Don Reba says:

    Why did they make the video such poor quality, though? It makes the graphics look worse than Planescape.

    • grimdanfango says:

      You can switch it to 1080p, and it looks pretty decent to my eyes. Also, seriously, go back and look at some Planescape Torment screenshots. I know it’s only natural to have nostalgia-tinted-glasses, but really, even back when it was released, the one thing people decried about Torment was how dodgy the graphics were. Fantastic overall design, but the implementation was pretty damn rough in some places (other places were beautiful admittedly)

      So far, all I’ve seen of Numenera looks consistently stunning!

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        Don Reba says:

        I actually did both of those things — switched to 1080p and looked over Planescape screenshots; and, just to be sure, I watched it from two different browsers. The title at the introduction of the video is done at a high resolution, but the rest might be 480p.

    • Cinek says:

      Here is another video, showing more environments – link to youtube.com

      And two screenshots: 1, 2. In general they don’t show too much on an updates newsletter, so I can’t really show you more than that… they are… rather shy when it comes to showing some high resolution screenshots.

  4. Mindestens says:

    Did you guys know that Mark Yohalem, the one behind Primordia, joined writers team of Torment a while ago? Paint me intrigued.

    I noticed just yesterday reading through latest backer e-mail from inXile and the WIT on Technobabylon reminded me of that. Thought someone might find it interesting too.

  5. Infinitron says:

    Why are RPS’s commenters reacting more negatively to this video than the RPG Codex

  6. dungeoncrawl says:

    This looks….incredible. I can’t wait.

  7. Cronstintein says:

    I’m hesitantly hopeful for this one, the visuals look great. But I found the combat in WL2 too slow/uninteresting (I look forward to that update, Sear!) and too dumbed-down in PoE. So I’ll be waiting a few weeks after release to see what opinions are after the hype dies down. Same as I’m doing for witcher 3, which is currently testing my self-discipline.

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    teije says:

    Don’t really care about the visuals for this game. It will all be about the world and story, and on that front, everything I’ve heard sounds very inventive and promising.

  9. MrNash says:

    The world is looking quite nice to me. Quite looking forward to it. I’m mostly curious about the story, so hopefully that pans out well. =)

  10. ffordesoon says:

    Ohai BN and sear. ;)

    I dunno what video other people are watching, but I think every part of the game looks pretty excellent given where they’re at in development. There’s a little bit of awkwardness in the animations, I guess, but A) the combat already looks more interesting and varied than Planescape’s (positioning seems to be a thing, for example, and the jack (?) pulling two attacks in a row at the end suggests Very Cool Things), and B) the art is right on the money, both for a Numenera game and a Torment game.

  11. ElegantSkull says:

    Am I the only one who liked the combat in Wasteland 2? Seems like it. Back on topic, really looking forward to this. I was much more impressed with the gameplay video they released some time ago though, animations in this are a bit clunky, but there is still lots of time to fix it, so I’m not really worried here.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      No, you’re not, it’s just so much more fun to bitch and moan about
      how every game is trash and sucks. I don’t imagine these critics
      find much joy in life with all that anger in their hearts.

  12. Enkinan says:

    WL2 was pretty darn good, the only problem I had was late game quest bugs which have been resolved.

    Pillars looks like it is coming along pretty nicely.

  13. PegasusOrgans says:

    I hate comments sections and I pity any developer that has to read them.
    All I see is people trashing new games and talking about how the old
    games were just soooo much better, never realizing that if those old
    games were released into this cesspool of angry criticism, they’d all
    be torn apart just as bad, if not worse.

    Everyone seems to remember Fallout 1 and 2 fondly, well, those games
    would be strung up and burnt alive if they were released today. Gamers
    would swat the dev team mercilessly… how poor and rose colored people’s
    hindsight is…