By Joseph Leray
The “news” in the strictest sense of the term is that “Torment: Tides of Numenera” has a new website, complete with a piece of concept art, a plot summary, and a registration process for you long-suffering “Torment” fans to get into the forums and make suggestions for developer inXile’s inevitable crowdfunding campaign.
The bigger news, however, is that a sequel (of sorts) to Black Isle’s seminal “Planescape: Torment” exists at all.
Black Isle was shuttered back in 2003 as a result of publisher Interplay’s financial woes, though it was eventually revived last year. “Planescape: Torment” is, as its name implies, based on the Wizards of the Coast-published Planescape campaign for Advanced Dugeons & Dragons. Between Black Isle’s closure and Wizards guarding the Planescape license, another “Torment” game in that universe is unlikely to ever happen. Ex-Black Isle staffers moved on to Obsidian, and the games industry trudged inexorably forward.
But inXile was founded by former Interplay boss Brian Fargo, and the successful funding of “Wasteland 2” has opened up new possibilities for the company. Meanwhile, Monte Cook -- a writer and designer for the original Planescape ruleset -- has Kickstarted his own new campaign setting, titled “Numenera.” After years of inaction, the rights to the “Torment” series expired, so Fargo scooped them up and got to work.
“The wheels for the ‘Torment’ game have been in motion for quite some time,” Fargo told Rock, Paper, Shotgun in a recent interview. “The more we explored the ‘Numenera’ setting, the clearer it became that it’s a natural fit for a ‘Torment’ game.”
Given that development of “Wasteland 2” is in full swing, inXile are taking it slow with “Tides of Numenera”: the game is still “early in pre-production,” says Fargo. Still, the game’s website encourages users to register and provide feedback for possible crowdfunding goals and rewards, and inXile are “absolutely” considering another Kickstarter campaign, “coming soon.”
Here’s a brief synopsis of “Torment: Tides of Numenera” so far:
Numenera’s Ninth World is a fantastic vision of a world in which massive civilizations have risen and fallen – disappeared, transcended, overwhelmed, or destroyed – and left their cities, monuments, and artifacts behind. As each rose and fell, their achievements became part of the accumulated detritus of eons… but much of it did not decay. And now this assortment of ancient power is there for the taking, ever-present, underfoot. The humans of the Ninth World take and use what they can. They call these wonders (and horrors) the numenera.
One of these humans discovers a way to use the numenera to grow strong, to cheat death, to skip across the face of centuries in a succession of bodies. But he discovers an unexpected side effect: You.
As you might expect from a classing role-playing game, players will travel across the Ninth World, meeting companions, and making choices, and “facing adversaries who harness powers beyond your comprehension.”
So there you have it -- the Planescape license notwithstanding, there’s a new “Torment” game in the works, which should be enough to catch any fans’ eyes.