Torment: Tides of Numenera Interview
We had the chance to sit down with the developers of the upcoming Torment: Tides of Numenera, currently due for release on February 28th, 2017. We also had a hands-on preview
, which you can read after the interview.
bit-gamer: You talked about three pillars of development earlier. Could you talk about this some more? Talk about the pillars for the tides.
Colin McComb, creative lead on Torment: Tides of Numerera
When we were creating Torment [Tides of Numenera], we wanted to look back at what made Planescape Torment so enduring, so beloved, and what really set it apart from the other games at the time. The three pillars we identified were: a world unlike any other; a deep, thematic, personally rich narrative that is not an epic but a game that's about you and about your choices; and then the third pillar was reactivity, choice, and real consequence, which is to say we want to honour the players' choices and reward them for trusting us with this story, and as a consequence of that, we also wanted to make failure interesting. Every time you try something in the game, even if you fail, we encourage you to continue forward with it, rather than reloading, because stuff will happen, and hopefully you'll find it interesting.
bit-gamer: As a writer, how do you set about making these failures compelling for the player?
Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, writer on Torment: Tides of Numerera
That's a good question. Immediately, the simplest answer is that we give rewards on each branch so that you can't get both; you can only get one. That's only the easiest way. We wanted to have narrative that branches in interesting ways that you follow, and that way your own personal story is different from your friends' or different from other peoples'.
For instance, in one of the first areas in the game, there's a big old clock that's in a courtyard, and the Cult of the Changing Gods sets you the task of going and repairing it. You may have told the cult at this point that you are their god, and so they are very clever in a way, because they're allowing you to prove that you are, but also giving you a way to screw yourself over and prove that you're not.
Right. You go to repair the clock, and if you fix it, then cool, and they're all like, 'oh cool, maybe you are the changing god.' On the other hand, if you try to fix it and you fail, the entire area is plunged into night, and they go, 'Aha! We found you out!' Even if you haven't told them that you are the changing god, that still has consequences in the area. There's a creature that's being held in an energy cage, and during the daytime, this creature is just lashing around and blasting you with lasers or trying to blast you with lasers. It's in an energy cage, lashing out at you with scalpels or whatever. At night, you go and you talk to it, and it's docile, and it's friendly, and it asks you very kindly to free it from its cage.
That's another quest entirely.
That's a quest that would not have been possible if you hadn't done this, if you hadn't failed in the first quest.
Of course, all the other characters in the entire area react to it suddenly being night time and have different lines and different things they say because of this failure that you otherwise wouldn't have seen if you'd just reloaded.