Torment: Tides Of Numenera Coming In 2016

Torment: Tides of Numenera [official site] has never been given a firm release date, though vague, smooshy plans have bounced the RPG from December 2014 to the first half of 2015, then the final quarter of 2015, and, now, into 2016. Developers inXile Entertainment have announced that they’re looking at next year for their crowdfunded spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, as they want to, you know, make it good and not rush it out. Which sounds sensible – past a certain point of lateness, just make sure you do it right.

In a dev update, inXile’s Chris Keenan explains that, after leading Wasteland 2 and its Director’s Cut, he’s jumped over to Torment to manage development. What’s he found?

“As a fresh set of eyes on the project I can tell you it’s shaping up to be the awesome experience you all expect and deserve. However, to maintain the quality standard we’ve set for ourselves, we can’t rush through these final stages to get it out the door. Instead, we’re going to take the time we need on Torment: Tides of Numenera, which means we are planning a 2016 release.

“An important part of our process is getting the game in your hands and iterating based on your feedback. Releasing the Crisis Alpha Systems Tests was a big step for the team. We’ve been happy to receive detailed feedback on what can be improved, and very gratified to see our backers respond that we’re heading in the right direction.

“Now, it’s on to working towards the beta release. The level art is largely done, and we’re making good progress on the general game systems, level design and UI elements . We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the beta release in the upcoming updates, as we have full intentions on releasing the beta this year.”

Okey cokey! For now, let’s take another peek at this trailer from October, showing an “early alpha” version which obviously has a few rough edges still (that hideous UI is a work in progress, they say):


  1. All is Well says:

    [General enthusiasm]

  2. Emeraude says:

    Put it me in the “disquieted by the sudden change in dev lead” camp.

    • Superpat says:

      Different people have different strengths and the skills required for a project change as the project evolves, maybe they just put the old lead in charge of a new project, while this new lead has experience with finishing up a project.

      • geisler says:

        No, Kevin Saunders has been kindly asked to leave. Presumably because of different visions for the title and because the current stage of development has been dragging on too long and is costing them too much money.

        It’s generally really bad news if a *project lead* gets taken off the project halfway through development. Saunders was probably one of the few people that could have pushed his ideas through and make this game live up to the original (just check his resume), which is also most likely the reason he is gone now.

        Lets all watch Fargo fuck up another company.

    • PerryCaravello says:

      Yeah, this seemed odd to me as well.

  3. Danny says:

    Not a word about the sudden change of lead dev? Kevin Saunders making place for Chris Keenan, without having anything lined up – work wise?

    Doesn’t sound like it was a mutual decision, hopefully it doesn’t affect the end product negatively.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Well, they both say it was mutual so I’m not going to second-guess either of them. This speculation is based on the fact that he claims he doesn’t have anything new lined up.

      Sometimes you just don’t want to say “I’m leaving X to go to Y” because it undermines X to give the impression that Y is better. Even if Y is better for you, you don’t want to burn your bridges with the people at X, it’s a small industry and an even smaller one among RPG devs.

      Just look at how Chris Avellone left Obsidian without mentioning a new project and then once this had become old news it’s announced that he’s now writing for one of their fiercest competitors (as opposed to one of their fiercest competitors who is also their bestest buddy, inXile).

      • Danny says:

        I partially agree. Yes – there are scenarios where you don’t want to elaborate on future plans because it steals some of the thunder of the project you’re leaving.

        Avellone however, wasn’t heading a project at the time he left Obsidian. He only worked on two NPCs for PoE (a large part of that work got cut, but that’s another discussion) whereas Saunders was the lead developer of one of the most anticipated and successful crowd funded RPGs.

        Also, Avellone only got in contact with Larian after he left Obsidian, because Larian asked the community what kind of stretch goals they would like to see for Original Sin 2. They responded by saying they wanted Avellone to do some writing for the game, causing Swen to contact Avellone to meet up at PAX to talk business.

        • Matt7895 says:

          Obsidian aren’t competitors with inXile or Larian or CDProjekt (I know you didn’t mention the last one but thought I’d throw it in anyway).

          Obsidian tend to make games for publishers. Pillars of Eternity is the one exception.

          Larian pretty much self publish their own stuff now. They might still hook up with other companies for physical distribution, but the funding for their games comes through them. Same for inXile, and Brian Fargo used to run one of the biggest publishers of the 80s/90s (Interplay) so he knows how its done.

          Until Larian start making games like KOTOR, South Park and Fallout I don’t see how they can be called competitors to Obsidian. They aren’t squeezing each other out of any business. The people who play Larian’s games are likely to play Obsidian’s too.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            All those developers make games, and in broadly the same genre, so they’re competitors. Even if most RPG fans are going to buy all of their games this is still true. Whether it’s media attention, game sales, talent acquisition, pitches to publishers, distribution deals, or inter-studio quiz nights, they’re competing for a shared pool of resources.

            This doesn’t imply that anybody is trying to run anybody else out of business, or that they’re enemies in any way. In fact the relative friendliness with which rival studios regard eachother, and the fluidity of ideas and intellectual property in the industry, is even more of a reason to be tactful with your career moves.

            It’s the publishers who are all c***s.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Ok, perhaps it was a bad example, I don’t actually think Avellone left because he wanted to work on anything else specific but really because being an employee was too much of a conflict with the freelance work he was already doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does some more writing for Obsidian in the near future.

          But you’re right, what I was getting at is that, especially if you’re high-profile, you don’t really want to talk too much about what you might be going to do elsewhere. My point is really only that not disclosing what you’re doing next is a better policy than being seen to be bragging about it. So it’s hard to say whether someone has left on short notice or not.

  4. AyeBraine says:

    Judging by interaction (in part my own) with InXile on Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut, the game WILL have bugs, it will be imperfect, but the issues will genuinely be logged and addressed, and they definitely will put as much work and thought in as they can. After a very good impression of WL2 release a year ago (barring its general retro clunkiness and questionable main arc), I’ve got even better impressions from Director’s Cut.

    These impressions are of the “alive” sort: never perfect, but shown-their-work, in all respects. Lots of tweaking, intelligent changes, striving for smooth but uncompromising experience. Having got the DC for free, I’ve finished the game again with great pleasure, and every time I’ve ran into an issue, I either already knew about it from timely interaction from devs, or got a rapid response from testing team that it’s being addressed! With that in mind, I can only welcome the release date push with gladness.

    • AyeBraine says:

      I’d like to add that it’s an interesting tendency about making games “a little better” with updates. Yes, you can’t really make the whole game better, the disjointed plot may remain, the inconsistencies may still be there. But what you CAN do is to make the “meat” of the game better – better combat, less buggy scripts, little shiny details. It does make a difference, as it turns out. The above comment may sound like I’m gushing about Wasteland 2 – I’m not; but the “letdown” part vanished when the game became so much smoother and sleeker with the “mega-update” (even though it introduced a couple of new bugs).

    • Abndn says:

      “Buggy mess” has almost become a selling point for me at this point as far as RPGs go. Has there even been a great CRPG that wasn’t horrendously buggy? Struggling to think of one. Presumably this is because these are games where the developers try really hard to avoid compromising or skimping on the original vision, so they put too many cool things into the game and they can’t QA it all in time.

      If the game is great the bugs will be fixed by the community, and it’ll be a better experience in the end.

  5. Jekadu says:

    I’ve gone from feeling super hyped about this game after trying the alpha to oddly anxious after this latest, sudden update. I really hope there isn’t some kind of drama brewing behind the scenes. I can’t imagine what could go wrong at this stage, but replacing the lead developer now of all times feels odd.

  6. Infinitron says:

    Relevant: link to

    (Adam Heine is the game’s lead designer)

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    syllopsium says:

    Isn’t this exactly the same trailer as last time? It looks good, although it seems a little too clean for my liking. Let’s see how the release goes..

  8. grimdanfango says:

    While the lead dev switch thing does seem a tad odd on the surface, it’s hard to say what’s behind it for now.

    Overall, while I know they’ve loosely estimated release windows that have slipped, I can’t say I was ever expecting it this side of 2016 – or rather, I was actively concerned that if they hit an end-of-2014/start-of-2015 goal, that it would be a rushed and half-baked game. I’ve been glad to see they’ve given it the time it really needs.

    Whether that time has been used to absolute best effect remains to be seen, but what I’ve seen so far leaves me hopeful at least. Looking forward to the eventual release.

  9. Koshelkin says:

    I’m glad it doesn’t come this fall/winter, there are so many games coming out and Fallout 4 on its own will, hopefully, keep me busy for at least a couple of weeks.

  10. JFS says:

    While graphics may not be that important with this game, I find them a little sub-par. PoE did a great job on a modern Infinity Engine impression, but Numenera doesn’t look as fancy.

  11. GamesBrit says:

    I really need to get on and finish the first Planescape and then buy and at least get part way through Pillars of Eternity before this comes out!