After months of buzz around the possibility of a making a spiritual successor to the legendary CRPG Planescape: Torment, inXile entertainment has finally taken the plunge, starting up a Kickstarter project for the long-rumored Torment: Tides of Numenera.
The game will play very much like the original and have similarly lofty aspirations for its narrative, though it will be set in Monte Cook’s Numenera roleplaying setting rather than the Wizards of the Coast-owned Planescape setting. They are seeking $900,000 in funding over the next month.
Torment: Tides of Numenera aims to continue the legacy of the beloved (and very wordy) original, establishing a primary theme and exploring every angle of it throughout the game’s story. Whereas Planescape asked “what can change the nature of a man?” Numenera will ask “What does one life matter?”
You are the Last Castoff, the final link in the chain of the lives of the being they call the Changing God. He once was a man who discovered a way to use the relics of the ancients to cheat death and skip across the face of centuries in a succession of bodies. But he never knew that his bodies lived on as his consciousness fled, a new consciousness arising in each. Now he has awakened an age-old enemy, the Angel of Entropy, and his days of change are gone as the Angel hunts him and all his works. That includes… you.
With the ever-present threat of oblivion looming over you, you must find your sire before he—and you—are eradicated by the avenging Angel. You will find allies and enemies among the other castoffs. You might inhabit their minds for a time through the devices called “the Meres,” turning their lives to your advantage. You will travel across the face of the Ninth World, and above and below it, with your companions at your side—or alone, if you wish. Your quest will take you to alternate dimensions and distant worlds under strange suns; particular Meres might afford you even more bizarre experiences, such as folding time itself. And you will build your legacy as you find your answer to the question:
What does one life matter?
The development team for Torment: Tides of Numenera will bring together much of the team behind both the original game and the Planescape setting, including Brian Fargo, Colin McComb, Monte Cook, Mark Morgan Dana Knutson, Adam Heine, Aaron Meyers and Ray Vellese. Other members of the team, while not necessarily having “Planescape cred” have credits on many other similarly renowned games such as Mask of the Betrayer, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 and Alpha Protocol. While Planescape: Torment writer and Lead Designer Chris Avellone is noticeably absent, his studio hard at work on their own Kickstarter-funded RPG, Project Eternity, the project does at least carry a ringing endorsement from him.
A possible point of hesitation for potential backers lies in the fact that inXile is in fact already working on one as-of-yet unreleased Kickstarter-funded game, Wasteland 2. It could certainly come across as a bit overeager or even irresponsible for a mid-sized studio to be committing to their next game before the first has even been released. Thankfully inXile has already taken to both the Wasteland 2 and Tides of Numenera Kickstarter pages to try and assuage these fears, explaining that the next eight months of Numenera’s development will be focused on pre-production handled by a small team. By the end of those eight months development is expected to have wrapped up on Wasteland 2, at which point the whole of inXile will turn their attention to ramping up full development on Numenera.
Will Torment: Tides of Numenera stand as a worthy successor to Planescape: Torment? Will the niche of hardcore RPG fans who loved the original rally behind it, or dismiss it as an unnecessary sequel? All of this remains to be seen, but judging by how quickly the project is picking up funding (up to $354,564 at the time of this writing, only hours after it launched), these are not questions that will go unanswered.